Irratable Bowel Syndrome

Irratable bowel syndrome, sometimes referred to as colitis, is a condition in which the bowel does not function properly. Irratible bowel syndrome is not actually a disease, but a combination of symptoms.

Symptoms of irratable bowel syndrome include stomach pain and cramps, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Some people experience primarily diarrhea, while others experience primarily constipation, and still others go back and forth between the two. Symptoms may flare up after eating certain foods or during times of stress.

Doctors don't know for sure what causes irratible bowel syndrome. Some think it is caused by an over sensitivity to certain foods. Eating a special diet designed for people with irratable bowel syndrome does help prevent symptoms of the condition. Other doctors think it might be caused an overgrowth of candida, a yeast that lives in our digestive tract. Others think it is caused by an inflammation of the lining of the bowel.

Regardless of the cause, there are ways to prevent symptoms.

Eating a special diet for irratible bowel syndrome is probably the best way to prevent symptoms. There are a lot of foods that can cause irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, but not all of these foods cause symptoms in everyone. You can keep a food diary to keep track of what foods cause problems for you.

Some of the foods that can cause irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include:

  • Caffeine (found in tea, coffee and soda)
  • Carbonated drinks (like soda)
  • Chocolate
  • Artificial sweeteners (things like sorbitol and aspartame)
  • Any foods high in fat
  • Fried foods
  • Dairy products (fat free dairy products may be the exception)
  • Red meats
  • Wheat
  • Gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye)
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus fruits
  • Managing your stress levels can also help to prevent flare-ups of irratable bowel syndrome. Practicing relaxation techniques can help a lot.

    Regular exercise such as walking or yoga also helps the bowel function properly. These have the added benefit of helping to relieve stress, as well.

    There are a number of different treatments for irratible bowel syndrome. It can be easier to prevent symptoms than to treat them when they occur, so make sure to pay attention to the prevention tips above.

    There are a number of medications used to treat irratable bowel syndrome. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

    For cramping and diarrhea, anti-spasmodic drugs are often used. These are pretty effective, but can sometimes cause constipation.

    Stool softeners or laxatives may be prescribed to prevent and treat constipation. These are also pretty effective, but over-use can be habit-forming.

    Anti-depressant medications can relieve some of the symptoms, as well. However, anti-depressant drugs can cause constipation, and they have many other side effects as well, such as headaches, drowsiness, and anxiety. Some are habit-forming, and can cause withdrawal when you stop taking them.

    Anti-fungal medication may be prescribed if it is believed that candida is causing the symptoms.

    People often ask us about natural treatments for irratible bowel syndrome because they want to avoid the side effects of medications. There are a number of natural treatments available, and when combined with the prevention tips discussed earlier, these can prevent and relieve symptoms of irratable bowel syndrome. Natural treatments often have other health benefits to the body as well.

    If you have symptoms of irratible bowel syndrome that last for more than two weeks or if your symptoms are very severe, you should see your doctor.

    More than irratable bowel syndrome on our diet for irritable bowel syndrome page

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