Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) afflicts as many as 1 in 5 American adults. The most common symptoms are diarrhea or constipation, gas and bloating and mucus in the stool. Read on to find out how to treat IBS.
Doctors aren't totally sure of what causes irritable bowel syndrome. When a person has IBS, their intestinal muscles are in overdrive. They contract harder and longer than normal, forcing food through the intestines faster. This causes gas, bloating and pain.
In recent years, doctors have discovered IBS triggers. Triggers for IBS can include food, emotional changes, medications or gas. Some people find that certain foods, like dairy, sugar-free candies or alcohol, cause their IBS symptoms. Try keeping a food diary and seeing which foods trigger your symptoms. You can experiment by cutting certain foods out of your diet for a few days and seeing how your body reacts.
There are a number of things you can try to help get irritable bowel syndrome under control. Besides avoiding problem foods, try experimenting with fiber. Slowly add more fiber to your diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. You could also gradually introduce a fiber supplement into your diet and drink plenty of water daily.
Eating small meals frequently throughout the day can help those who struggle with chronic diarrhea. If you're constipated, eat larger amounts of high-fiber food instead. Also add regular exercise to your routine. Start slowly by taking walks and lifting small weights. Exercise will help stimulate normal bowel movements. Many IBS sufferers report that yoga helps relieve stress and ease symptoms.
If you have IBS, you'll want to take anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives with caution. These medications harm more than help when taken over long periods of time. Anti-diarrheals can be helpful if taken twenty to thirty minutes before you eat. Another supplement that might help relieve gas and bloating is a probiotic. Probiotics are good bacteria and you can get them in pill form or by eating yogurt.