This April marks Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness month, the 21st year since its inception by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.
This month we try to raise awareness for this often-misunderstood condition that can lead to people suffering being stigmatised.
To help with the furthering of understanding of IBS, we try and spread knowledge about this condition so that the stigma surrounding sufferers can be reduced. IBS affects some 6 to 18 % of the world’s population, and the condition leads to changes in frequency of bowel movements along with lower abdominal pain.
Here we look at the symptoms and some simple treatments for IBS – so light can be shed on this misunderstood condition.
Triggers for IBS can be different for people, from diet to stress to insomnia, there are many reasons IBS can occur. So remain aware of the following symptoms, and if they occur get yourself checked out as soon as you can.
Pain – your brain and gut work using hormones and your nervous system, when you have IBS these signals can become distorted which can lead to pain and cramping in your lower abdomen. This pain is in your digestive tract, but the area is your lower abdomen.
Diarrhoea – is the most known and common symptom of IBS, diarrhoea IBS affects 1 in 3 IBS sufferers. People who suffer from this form of IBS can average more than twice the normal amount of bowel movements a week, which has a large impact on your life.
Constipation – The opposite of diarrhoea, but still entirely relevant to IBS, constipation affects nearly 50% of IBS sufferers. IBS cause the digestive signals to malfunctions, slowly or speeding up the digestive process.
IBS can also cause a swinging between diarrhoea and Constipation – when both symptoms can occur in one patient.
Gas – IBS can cause larger than normal amounts of gas to be produced in your gut, this gas is not expelled often enough and can cause uncomfortable bloating. One study has shown that over 80% of IBS sufferers experience gas and bloating chronically.
There are a few more symptoms to watch out for, such as Fatigue, anxiety, depression, food intolerances and changes in changes in bowel movements. All of these are serious issues that should be monitored to ensure the right diagnosis of IBS in a patient.
How to Handle IBS
Here are a few ways the IBS sufferer can deal with IBS daily, as sometimes IBS can seem overwhelming:
Start a food diary – you can learn so much about the way you gut reacts to food by tracking everything you eat. This diary can be online too, so no need for pen and paper, and you may want to try being vegetarian, eliminating different food groups and so on to see what helps.
Destress – the link between IBS and stress is well known, so de-stress your life. Try yoga, reduce caffeine, sleep more and find more ways to enjoy life (perhaps try some Australian betting sites for some excitements?)
Focus on chewing – sounds simple, maybe your mom told you to chew properly as a child? This is the best place to start on working on your digestion, as grinding your food correctly and producing saliva triggers your digestive process in your gastrointestinal tract.
Exercise – this is the key to a healthy life, and not just for those suffering with IBS. Research has shown that exercising 5 times a week for 20 minutes can ease the symptoms of IBS, exercise also release endorphins which makes you feel good, and your but will look great too!