Irritible Bowel Syndrome

Irritible bowel syndrome (called IBS for short) is a condition affecting the large intestine or bowel. It's not an actual disease but what is called a functional condition. Basically, the bowel does not function properly.

Some symptoms of irritable bowel sydrome include:

Other symptoms of IBS may include abdominal distention due to gas and bloating, and weight loss, due to diarrhea. In severe cases, dehydration may occur.

Let's look at some ways to prevent irritable bowel sydrome.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent symptoms of irritible bowel syndrome from occurring.

The most important part of prevention is diet. It is often possible to prevent symptoms of irritable bowel sydrome by carefully monitoring the diet. A diet high in fiber and low in fat is recommended. Alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks and fried or fatty foods should be avoided. Other foods that may cause symptoms to flare up include red meats, chocolate, dairy products, nuts and citrus fruits.

Stress management also plays an important part in preventing the symptoms of irritible bowel syndrome symptoms. Relaxation techniques, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep all help to manage stress. When stress is extreme, psychotherapy can help.

If constipation is a common symptom, stool softeners and/or fiber supplements may be recommended as a preventative measure.

Now let's look at treatment options.

The first and foremost "treatment" of irritible bowel syndrome is prevention. If the prevention methods don't do the trick, there are a number of treatments available.

Anti-spasmodic drugs are often prescribed to treat cramping and diarrhea. These drugs stop painful spasms of the colon or bowel. They work well, but in some cases can actually work too well. They can stop diarrhea and cause constipation instead.

Laxatives, either prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines, are often prescribed to treat constipation if stool softeners and fiber supplements don't do the trick. Like the anti-spasmodic drugs, these can sometimes work too well. They can cause diarrhea. It can be difficult to strike a balance. In addition, laxatives are habit-forming and should be used with care.

Anti-depressants have been found to prevent and relieve symptoms of irritible bowel syndrome in some people. This may be in part because they relieve stress, which can be a trigger for IBS symptoms. Anti-depressant medications must be used with care because they have a number of side effects, ranging from mild things like dry mouth, drowsiness, and upset stomach to more serious things like possible liver problems. Many anti-depressants cause constipation. Many are also habit-forming and can cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.

Because of the side effects and risks involved with standard medical treatments for irritable bowel sydrome, many people prefer to try natural alternatives. There are several effective natural treatments available for IBS. An added benefit to natural treatments is that they contribute to overall health.

If you have symptoms of IBS that last for two weeks or more, or if your symptoms are very severe, see your doctor to discuss treatment. It should be noted that blood in the stool is not a symptom of irritable bowel sydrome. If you notice blood in your stool, see a doctor immediately.

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

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