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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Explained

 

IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome.

It’s a condition that’s estimated to affect the lives of approximately 10 percent of the world’s population, with over 3 million Americans suffering from symptoms that can range from unnoticeable to debilitating.

People with IBS often face frequent, urgent bowel movements and/or debilitating stomach cramps or spasms.

Luckily, there are ways of managing your symptoms so that your quality of life is not impacted every single day.

There are three categories in which foods fall into when it comes to their effect on IBS symptoms.

Foods that are considered “irritants” contribute or bring about increased diarrhea and gastrointestinal spasms, while foods known as “protectants” are believed to limit immune response in order to ease symptoms of excess diarrhea. Foods in the third category are called “neutral.”

Learning more about irritable bowel syndrome can help you better understand and know how to control your symptoms.

In this article we will give you some guidance on what you should know when it comes to IBS. 

 

Symptoms of IBS

 

The signs and symptoms of IBS are variable but are usually present for long periods of time. Common symptoms include:

– Abdominal pain
– Cramping
– Bloating that are related to passing a bowel movement,
– Changes in the appearance of bowel movement
– Changes in how often you are having a bowel movement 

 

symptoms of ibs - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Causes of IBS

 

The exact cause of IBS isn’t known, the physical processes involved in IBS can also vary, but may consist of:

– Slowed or spastic movements of the colon, causing painful cramping
– Abnormal serotonin levels in the colon, affecting motility and bowel movements
– Mild coeliac disease that damages the intestines, causing IBS symptoms.

 

IBS Improvements

 

If you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, there are several treatment options that can help to reduce the effects of this disorder.

Probiotics are one of the most common irritable bowel treatments available for people suffering from IBS, in part because they have been scientifically proven in multiple instances to provide relief in people with irritable bowel syndrome.

The main reason probiotics are considered effective is because they boost the immune system, prevent diarrhea and constipation by reducing inflammation in the colon wall and promote balance within the digestive tract by feeding healthy bacteria cellular material to further aid digestion.

Not all of them may be the right fit for you.

Keeping a close eye on some of the following may help you to maintain good gut health and avoid flare-ups.

Food & Symptom Journal
Keeping a food and symptom journal is important to see if an individual has a sensitivity to certain foods.
Keeping a symptom journal also make it easier to track the frequency of symptoms.

Digestion Improvements
Improve your digestion with these three steps:

– Eat at regular times each day.
– Avoid eating late at night
– Enjoy three meals a day and up to one to two snacks spaced evenly throughout the day.
– Try to not overeat
– Eat when you are relaxed

Consume plenty of fluids
People with IBS-D may experience dehydration from frequent bouts of diarrhea and may need to drink extra fluids and electrolytes to keep their bodies hydrated. People with IBS-C also need extra water to help the stool move through the intestines. 

ibs symptoms causes prevention - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

IBS Diet
 

A good food list can be difficult to create because there isn’t one single definitive guide to the topic. Everyone has their own ideas on what foods they think are healthy and tasty, and they will react differently to certain foods as well.

A simple rule is to go for as much variety as possible throughout your day, combining vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in your meals.

Eat lots of high-quality protein from fish or animal sources as well as raw nuts or seeds each day.

Here we break down the three categories explaining each:

Irritant Foods:
These types of foods tend to aggravate the digestive system and cause inflammation in the body, eliminate your trigger foods:

– Dairy products (think: butter, yogurt, and cheese)

– Spicy and fatty foods

– Alcohol (wine and beer mostly)

– Caffeine like coffee and tea

– Tomatoes

– Onions

– Garlic

Protectant Foods:
These types of food tend to calm the digestive system and unlikely to cause flare-ups:

– Vegetables

– Legumes

– Whole Grains

– Fish

– Raw nuts and seeds

– Fresh Fruit

– Herbs

Neutral Foods:
These types of food are good sources of soluble fiber and can help with regular pain-free bowel movements:

– Oats

– Oat Bran

– Ground Flax Seed

– Bran Cereals

– Whole wheat bread

– Whole wheat pasta

– Brown Rice

healhty diet for ibs - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

 

Exercise for IBS

 

Exercise is excellent for IBS sufferers because it can release endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

This makes the symptoms of IBS easier to cope with because exercise also helps reduce stress levels. The release of endorphins during exercise can also make gastrointestinal syndrome symptoms less severe.

These are reduced further when parasympathetic nervous system activity is stimulated through exercise. The first step should always be to consult a healthcare professional first before embarking on any physical activity.

Discuss the possible risks and benefits with them, choose an appropriate exercise program, one that’s suitable to your gastrointestinal disorder diagnosis and particular condition.

Exercise commonly used by people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome includes:

– Walking
– Jogging
– Cycling
– Swimming
– Pilates
– Aerobics

Exercise is part of the behavioral health and holistic care necessary to improve the brain-gut axis and outcomes in IBS, says Brennan Spiegel, MD, a gastroenterologist and a professor of medicine and public health and the director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

 

ibs colonoscopy - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Colonoscopy for IBS

 

The vast majority of people don’t know what a colonoscopy is.

It is an examination of the colon and rectum using a colonoscope (a long, flexible tube with a tiny viewing camera on the end).

The colonoscopy is used not only to diagnose colorectal cancer, but also to screen for colorectal cancer, polyps, diverticulosis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other possible intestinal diseases.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer, just after breast cancer. The good news is that colorectal cancer is preventable.

A colonoscopy can be a helpful tool for those with symptoms of IBS that may be caused by other symptoms such as symptoms of colon cancer.

The symptoms of colon cancer can be symptoms such as rectal bleeding, pain in the lower back, and weight loss.

These symptoms are not always present, but when they are, they are indicators that a person should have a colonoscopy to investigate the cause of the symptoms.

A colonoscopy can also be used to diagnose conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, and infections in someone who has IBS symptoms.

 

Conclusion

 

There are different treatment options that can be used in the management of IBS, including medication, surgery, medical therapies, nutritional and dietetic therapies.

Can you relate?  Are these symptoms familiar in your own life?

Dr. Schneider is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology with years of experience.

Book an appointment online or contact us  on 011 482-3010 to find out more. 

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

What is Ulcerative Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis

Overview

 

Ulcerative Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the colon.

The inflammation can lead to ulcers, pus, or bleeding in the colon.

Sometimes, it can cause diarrhea with blood and mucus.

It’s not the same as Crohn’s Disease which also affects the colon but usually doesn’t lead to ulcers or bloody stools.

Ulcerative Colitis is chronic, meaning it will last indefinitely.

Left untreated, Ulcerative Colitis can eventually damage the colon and make it unable to absorb nutrients from food.

While there is currently no cure for Ulcerative Colitis, there are treatments available.

Let us look at Ulcerative Colitis in depth with some more information on the symptoms, causes, diagnosing thereof and treatment options.

 

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

 

Symptoms may also include:

–  Mouth sores

–  Hair loss

–  Nausea

–  Vomiting

–  Weight loss

–  Swollen ankles

–  Swollen legs and feet

–  Tenderness and inflammation of the palms and soles 

–  Ulcerations in the anus

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term for the following conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

These are diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. 

ulcerative colitis symtoms - What is Ulcerative Colitis

 

When to See a Doctor for Symptoms of
Ulcerative Colitis:

 

– Symptoms of the disease include persistent diarrhea

– Rectal bleeding

– Constipation

– Abdominal pain

The pain is typically worse when eating and in the evenings.

Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35, although the average age is 32.

The Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

 

While the exact cause is unknown, it’s likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

These include exposure to stress and poor diet. 

One way the disease affects the body is by overstimulating the immune system and activating the immune cells in the colon. 

The body then sends white blood cells to attack the lining of the colon. 

Other causes as the disease becomes more severe, it also becomes more likely that other complications will occur.
 

Complications can include:

 

– Inflammation of the liver

– Inflammation of the spine

Bladder cancer

– Bowel obstruction

– Colitis in the eye

In rare cases, it can cause cancer in other parts of the body like the pancreas.

Some of these complications may become apparent long before any symptoms arise.  

 

diagnosing ulcerative colitis - What is Ulcerative Colitis

 

How to Diagnose Ulcerative Colitis

 

If a person develops symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis, they should visit a doctor.

The doctor will ask about symptoms, medical history, and family medical history.

The doctor may also order a stool analysis or colonoscopy to see how the disease is progressing. 

When the doctor examines the colon, they may also order blood tests to check for signs of inflammation. 

If the colon shows signs of ulceration, blood, and mucus, the doctor may ask questions about treatment and come up with a treatment plan. 

Depending on the severity of the disease, the doctor may recommend surgery, cortisone injections, or other treatments. 

Treating ulcerative colitis can be a long process. Over time, medication can help manage symptoms.

In addition to medication, surgery is another option in severe cases.

 

Can Ulcerative Colitis Be Prevented



Doctors can control the disease by controlling inflammation in the body.

When the immune system attacks the body, it starts damaging the cells and lining of the colon. 

The cause is still unknown, but researchers believe that diet, gut bacteria, and genetics all play a part in the disease. 

Many people with the disease say that things like stress, viruses, and bacterial infections can trigger flare-ups. 

One reason it’s so hard to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease is because there isn’t one clear-cut sign or symptom.

Prevention through Medication

Drug therapy as a method of preventing the effects of ulcerative colitis involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and immunosuppressive drugs.

Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce inflammation caused by various diseases of the intestine, and therefore, first of all, drugs doctors usually prescribe to patients with ulcerative colitis.
 

Prevention through Probiotics

You may have already heard the term “probiotics” when looking for methods for the prevention of ulcerative colitis.

This applies to live bacteria, which you can easily find in yogurt, miso soup, and sauerkraut, which can bring health benefits to the consumer.

The theory behind the use of probiotics in the treatment of ulcerative colitis is that the “good bacteria” in the foods in question prevent the adhesion of “bad bacteria” to the walls of the colon and affect the patient’s quality of life. 

treatment of ulcerative colitis - What is Ulcerative Colitis

 

Types of Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

There are three types of treatment available: medication, physical therapy, and dietary changes.

Physical therapy is to loosen the muscles in the colon to allow for better movement of the intestines.

Medication for Ulcerative Colitis

Medications for ulcerative colitis can suppress inflammation of the colon and heal tissues.

Symptoms such as diarrhea, bleeding, and abdominal pain can also be reduced and controlled with effective medications.

In addition to controlling and suppressing symptoms (causing remission), medications can also be used to reduce the frequency of symptom exacerbations (maintaining remission)

With proper treatment over time, periods of remission can be extended, and periods of exacerbation of symptoms can be reduced.

Today, various drugs are used to treat ulcerative colitis

 

Diet and Nutrition

 

The main medications used to treat Ulcerative Colitis include steroids and immunosuppressant medications such as biologics.

However, in order to get the most out of these treatments, you should follow a strict diet that includes a lot of vegetables, fiber, and fruit.

While it’s important to eat more vegetables and fiber than you might think is possible, more is not better.

It’s common for people on steroids to eat large amounts of food, especially carbs. It’s important to balance out your diet when you are taking steroids.

Most doctors will recommend low-glycaemic foods when you’re taking steroids to avoid weight gain and increase your metabolism.

Steroids can cause many unpleasant side effects including weight gain, high blood sugar, and mood swings.

alternative therapy ulcerative colitis - What is Ulcerative Colitis


Alternative Therapy and Home Remedies

 

There is currently no cure for Ulcerative Colitis, but there are treatments available to ease symptoms.

In many cases, these treatments include taking steroids and other drugs. Doctors may also recommend nutritionist and supplements such as Omega 3s and probiotics.

In some cases, these treatments include additional lifestyle changes like losing weight, taking probiotic supplements, and changing your diet.

Consult a Colorectal Specialist if you have symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis or other inflammatory bowel diseases.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, probiotics are “live micro-organisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.

Copy of Copy of Copy of WHAT IS A - What is Ulcerative Colitis

 

 

Conclusion

 

There are plenty of symptoms to look out for, and doctors can usually diagnose ulcerative colitis just by examining your colon and symptoms.

They may use a procedure called colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

At a doctor’s office, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube into your rectum that will then travel through your colon and into your large intestine.

During the procedure, your doctor will look for the disease. If there are ulcers or bleeding in your colon, they may remove the impacted tissue.

With no cure currently available, medications are the only treatment available to prevent complications from the disease.

People with Ulcerative Colitis can have complications, such as colon cancer or polyps, which can need to be removed.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of Ulcerative Colitis conditions in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za and book your consultation today.
 

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

The Truth About Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

The Truth About Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

 

What is Crohn’s Disease, exactly?

 

The intestines are responsible for the absorbing of nutrients from food, as well as eliminating any toxins or waste material.

The intestines are filled with 4 different types of cells.

1 – Paneth Cells

2 – Dendritic Cells

3 – Peyer’s Patches

4 – Blood Vessels 

The stomach secretes an acid to help break down food and the intestines absorb most of the nutrients and water from the food we digest. 

Deglutition is controlled by a group of nerves situated in the throat and mouth and is called the pharyngeal plexus. 

Crohn’s Disease (CD), or Crohn syndrome, is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) marked by patchy areas in various sections of your gastrointestinal tract that cause ulcerations and pain.

Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere along this pathway, but it most commonly manifests itself as inflammation of the small intestines (ileum) and can lead to impaired digestion, unintended weight loss and serious complications like blockage of the intestinal tract (strictures) or fistulas. 

Here we will look at some more in-depth information on the symptoms, causes and treatment of Crohn’s Disease. 

gastrointestinal tract symptoms - The Truth About Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Most Common Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

  

Crohn’s disease affects people between their mid-teens to mid-thirties, with onset most common between fifteen and twenty years of age.

Symptoms can range from mild cases lasting just a few days to chronic conditions resulting in intestinal blockages or perforations called fistulae. 

Most people who suffer from Crohn’s can experience the following symptoms: 

  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stool that is hard and lumpy
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in lower abdomen
  • A Feeling that your lower abdomen is swollen or bloated
  • Pain when you sit
  • Bleeding after intimacy

Scientists have still not found a definite answer to this, but they believe it to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

 

Causes of Crohn’s Disease

 

Some of the most common ways to find the cause of the disease are as follows:

Medical Research
Some medical studies and associations have been attempted to uncover the reasons for the disease, including genetic and genetic predisposition, autoimmune, and inflammatory processes.

Biology
Some research suggests that certain aspects of the digestive tract might play a role in the disease, such as dysbiosis, bacteria-host interactions, and inflammation.
There is limited evidence that bacteria associated with the disease, or bacterial toxins in the intestine can contribute to the development of Crohn’s disease.

Environmental factors
Other research has linked Crohn’s disease to a diet.

It is believed that an incorrect diet that is too low in fibre is the primary reason Crohn’s disease was first discovered.

However, researchers have suggested that it could also be genetic or environmental.

The incidence of Crohn’s disease is low among the general population, however the number of people suffering from this chronic bowel condition continues to increase.

In 2006, Crohn’s disease was diagnosed in 27.7 million people, accounting for approximately 1.9 percent of the total population.

More specifically, around 730,000 cases of Crohn’s disease were recorded in the United States.

As with many other chronic conditions, the cause is unknown. However, one plausible reason is an alteration in the food-borne microbiota and the community of microorganisms. 

 

diagnosing crohns disease - The Truth About Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease

 

Crohn’s disease is diagnosed by a process of elimination, meaning your physician will start with the least invasive tests possible and then progress towards more invasive testing until a clear diagnosis is attained.

There are a number of tests available which can help diagnose the condition:

  • Digital Rectal Examination
  • Colonoscopy
  • Abdominal Ultrasound
  • Endoscopy
  • Transabdominal Xray
  • Blood Tests
  • Chemical Analysis
  • Biopsy

the truth about crohns disease - The Truth About Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

How to Prevent Crohn’s Disease from Flaring Up?
 

General lifestyle modifications are recommended to help prevent flare-ups.

Among these are:

  • Diet modification (avoiding foods that cause inflammation)
  • Exercise ((a minimum of 20 minutes a day, five times a week)
  • Stress management (emphasizing sleep and relaxation techniques)
  • At-home treatments
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy

Treatment Options for Crohn’s Disease

 

The first line of treatment is generally medication to control the inflammation and decrease the amount of abdominal pain.

Is it curable?

There are currently no curative treatments available for Crohn’s disease.

However, it can be manageable with medical treatment, dietary management, and symptom management.

What are the symptoms of IBD?

  • Fatigue, including lack of energy
  • Rash, including fever
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Enlarged or distended bowel
  • Inflammation in the area of the intestine
  • Abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea?

     

crohns disease diet - The Truth About Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Diet and Exercise for Crohn’s
 

If you consume gluten, there’s a chance that eventually your immune system will go into an attack or “auto-immune” mode.

You might not notice symptoms at first because it takes a while for the symptoms to appear; they’re often subtle and develop gradually.

However, once symptoms kick in, they’re hard to ignore especially if the symptoms are severe like stomach cramping, diarrhea or other serious symptoms like bleeding ulcers or other complications.

Effects of the auto-immune response can take time to appear… If you suddenly drop weight without trying, it should be cause for concern particularly if other symptoms suddenly manifest themselves.

A leaky gut occurs when your intestines become damaged and porous, allowing food particles and other toxic bacteria into your blood stream which triggers inflammatory responses that affect all aspects of your health including your GI tract, heart and even liver functions.

The Crohn’s diet includes avoiding fats because their overconsumption contributes to infiltration by foreign particles through pores in your intestines.

 

New Research About Crohn’s Disease 

 

Increasingly, physicians are opting for surgical treatment when medical treatments fail.

Advantages of surgery include avoidance of lifetime medications and improved digestive function in over 50 percent of patients in some studies.

Surgery is still considered the treatment of last resort because it’s major abdominal surgery is associated with many complications, including death (one per 20 patients in some studies).

If there is no improvement after surgical resection of the bowel wall over 60% are likely to benefit from laxative therapy.

Early research suggests that intestinal rest, or fasting, can reduce symptoms in chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by reducing inflammation throughout the body.

 

crohns disease what to know - The Truth About Crohn’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Conclusion

 

Crohn’s disease is a condition that affects your gut, causing inflammation and ulceration of the lining of your digestive tract.

The cells that line your digestive tract are often called the mucosa, and they’re connected to your lymph nodes and other organs in your body.

Crohn’s disease is the result of an inflammatory response to the immune system’s attack on the intestines. In Crohn’s disease, the mucosa, or lining of your intestines, is damaged and inflamed.

This causes inflammation throughout the intestinal tract, affecting the bowels (intestinal tract) and the entire digestive system.

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the intestines, including your mouth, the skin, and the lining of your abdomen.

GiDoc Johannesburg is here to provide you with expert medical advice in the field of gastroenterology and treatment of gastrointestinal issues. 

Book an appointment online or give us a call at 011 482-3010 to find out more.

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

How IBS Can Affect your Quality of Life and How to Prevent it

How IBS Can Affect your Quality of Life and How to Prevent it

Irritable bowel syndrome, while not life-threatening, can be a real hindrance to your daily routine and sense of wellbeing.

Here we look at its effects and how to manage the associated symptoms.

Overview

Irritable Bowel Syndrome otherwise known as “IBS“, can be a real deterrent for a life comfortably lived. The syndrome itself is a functional disorder affecting both adults and children alike.

It can cause very uncomfortable symptoms and can truly affect one’s livelihood to the point of real anguish.

The use of ‘functional’ to describe this disorder refers to the fact that there is not something wrong with the physical tissue of the digestive system.

Instead, irritable bowel syndrome systems are the result of changes in the functioning of the digestive system.

While irritable bowel syndrome is not life-threatening, it can disrupt many of a sufferer’s day-to-day activities to the point where lives need to be adapted around the syndrome.

Looking at this positively, it does not increase one’s chances of developing colon conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

The disruption to daily life still persists and certainly warrants lifestyle changes and medical intervention to live a more comfortable, symptom-free life.

Speaking of symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome presents with a number of symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal system such as abdominal pain, cramping, food intolerance, bloating, and increased gas.

In short, irritable bowel syndrome upsets normal bowel habits and results in general stomach discomfort.

None of the above warrant hospital admission, unless it’s very serious, but it does cause a significant negative impact on one’s life from your work schedule to your ability to attend social events with friends and family.

In this article, we will start our look into IBS by exploring the causes of the syndrome followed by delving into the symptoms shown by those suffering from it.

Lastly but probably most importantly, we will look into methods we can use to prevent the onset of irritable bowel syndrome and prevent all the associated negative effects thereof.

ibs affect of life - How IBS Can Affect your Quality of Life and How to Prevent it

 

Why Does Irritable Bowel Syndrome Occur?

Gut bacteria.

Those two words carry the weight of the entire explanation of irritable bowel syndrome and the gastrointestinal tract as a whole in terms of its health and optimum functioning.

Several factors trigger IBS but the chief culprit is an underlying change in the gut bacteria environment.

A number of other factors including the alteration of the gastrointestinal tract motility, and abnormal nervous system signals all contribute to the possible onset of IBS symptoms.

It’s important to limit factors that may result in these alterations and changes in gut bacteria. If limiting is not possible then it is important to at least understand what is going on to help better manage the symptoms.

That said, let us take a look into a broad range of factors that may predispose one to IBS and the related symptoms.

  1. Stress

Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression have been found in many people with IBS. Whether the two are a result of causation or a simple correlation is unknown with IBS.

In other words, psychological conditions may not be a direct cause of IBS, but research may find that it increases the probability that you will develop IBS.

  1. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is the term used when one has too much bacteria in one’s intestine. While it is great to have a large gut bacteria environment, things start to become unhealthy when the gut reaches a state of being considered ‘overgrown’.

This indicates a shift in the balance of your small intestine’s environment. SIBO has its own list of risk factors ranging from diabetes to having a small intestine with an unusual shape.

In essence, SIBO usually starts when your small intestine doesn’t move food along the way it should. This can cause bacteria to grow and stay in an area too long. An imbalance can then occur if the “good” bacteria is hindered by the proliferation of harmful bacteria.

  1. Food sensitivities

This is most likely caused due to poor absorption of sugars or acids in food. The result is irritation of the bowels and typically leads to IBS symptoms.

 irritible bowel syndrome - How IBS Can Affect your Quality of Life and How to Prevent it

How Irritable Bowel Syndrome Affects Your Life

Generally speaking, IBS involves changes in the frequency and physical form of bowel movements. It is normally associated with lower abdominal pain as well.

Pain and cramping happen to be the most common symptom and a key factor in diagnosing the presence of IBS. The cause of this, explored later in this article, is related to changes in a patient’s microbiome.

Diarrhoea affects about one-third of those suffering from IBS making it another common sign of IBS. This in contrast to a less intuitive sign of IBS, namely constipation. In fact, constipation affects nearly half of people with IBS.

The root cause lies in altered communication between the brain and the bowel causing a change in bowel movement speed.

Diarrhoea and constipation can severely disrupt your plans and normal schedule. Routine trips to the shops or meetings may become stressful arrangements due to the often sudden arrival of IBS symptoms.

One of the most annoying reported symptoms of IBS is bloating. Most people with IBS report this making it an expected symptom when dealing with irritable bowel syndrome.

The above signs and symptoms are quite consistent across patients with high probabilities of occurring in patients with IBS. The next couple of symptoms vary more wildly among patients.

Fatigue has been attributed to IBS with adults finding themselves low on energy at work and in social interactions which can have a negative impact not only for you but also for those around you.

Patients with IBS have also found that their sleep suffers – difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently, and feeling unrested in the morning have all been reported. In general, patients have found their energy levels and restful states much lower with the onset of irritable bowel syndrome.

This could result in lower productivity, less satisfying relationships and reduced work output.

managing irritable bowel syndrome - How IBS Can Affect your Quality of Life and How to Prevent it

 

Preventing and Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Treating IBS is a matter of installing lifestyle and dietary changes that are recommended by a doctor.

This means that a holistic approach is required to deal with the many facets of one’s biology and lifestyle that may be causing the patient’s IBS.

In general, lifestyle changes and recommendations about what you should eat may be combined with medicines, probiotics and mental health therapy, depending on the patient’s particular risk profile.

Patients need to heed the medical advice of their doctors when it comes to their specific situation. That said, here are a number of treatments that your doctor may recommend or extra treatments you could add to your treatment plan.

First, let’ look at several things you should certainly not do. Avoid doing this to help relieve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms:

  1. Delay or skip meals
  2. Eat meals too quickly
  3. Eat lots of processed or fatty food
  4. Eat more than three portions of fruit a day
  5. Drink more than three cups of coffee a day
  6. Drink lots of alcohol or fizzy drinks

In short, you want to try and avoid ingesting food and drink or engaging in behaviour that will place unnecessary stress on the gastrointestinal tract.

Now let’s take a look at some positive behaviours one can get into to lower the risk of irritable bowel syndrome onset.

  1. Exercise

A solution seemingly as old as modern medical advice itself, the benefits of exercise apply to IBS therapy as well.

Not only has it been shown to improve IBS symptoms, but it also has a well-known effect on anxiety and depression which are IBS risk factors.

Exercise has the potential to alleviate symptoms and lower the reoccurrence of IBS down the line.

  1. Set a Sleep Schedule

Our bodily functions are controlled by our biological clocks, or circadian rhythms. Gut functioning also follows this cycle.

As a result, if one’s sleep is disrupted, the gut may be suffering. It’s recommended to stick to a sleep schedule to help control fluctuations in gut irregularity.

If one is travelling across time zones, it may be worth taking some melatonin which can help regulate the circadian rhythm.

Consistency is key here. The upsides can be significant, not just for gut health but for one’s overall health as well.

 ibs and probiotics - How IBS Can Affect your Quality of Life and How to Prevent it

  1. Medication

Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to alleviate IBS symptoms and combat their reoccurrence.

An antihistamine may be given as this can help lower the histamine released in your gut due to an allergic reaction. This can lead to reduced inflammation and a resultant decrease in IBS symptoms.

Antidepressants in low doses have been shown to alleviate symptoms. Depending on the type of symptoms a patient is experiencing, different antidepressants may be prescribed.

Some help to inhibit the activity of nerves in the gut which helps to lower pain. In other cases, an antidepressant can be prescribed to speed up the gastrointestinal tract.

As mentioned earlier, IBS could be the result of an overgrowth of bacteria. In such cases, an antibiotic such as Rifaximin may be given by your doctor to inhibit the bacteria’s growth.

  1. Diet and lifestyle

There are several lifestyle changes that can help alleviate IBS symptoms. Another two worth mentioning here are probiotics and yoga.

Probiotics help to balance your gut microbiome. They’re referred to as the “good bacteria” and can be found in many food sources such as dairy products and fruit like bananas.

Including this in your diet can be a good idea to get your gut microbiome to a sustainably healthy position.

Yoga has been suggested to alleviate the symptoms of IBS. One way it may achieve this is by increasing serotonin levels thereby decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.

 How IB can affect the quality of life 1 - How IBS Can Affect your Quality of Life and How to Prevent it

 

Summary

Irritable bowel syndrome, while not life-threatening, can be a major bump in the quest to living a comfortable, problem-free life.

Unfortunately, the symptoms associated with this mild disease can make that quest difficult.

Fortunately, lifestyle changes and careful dietary modifications can restrict the severity of IBS symptoms allowing patients with IBS to live a relatively healthy life.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of GI tract conditions in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za and book your consultation today.

 

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    IBS – Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    IBS – Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or “IBS”, is a gastrointestinal disorder that is typically associated with a number of symptoms being present that include abdominal pain, cramping, increased gas, food intolerance, and bloating.

    In other words, it’s a combination of stomach discomfort and abnormal bowel habits.

    While it is very uncomfortable and does affect one’s livelihood, it is far from being life-threatening and does not indicate a higher likelihood of developing colon conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

    But it can be a long-lasting hindrance that can disrupt the way sufferers of IBS live their lives.

    Found in both adults and children, IBS can be referred to as a functional disorder.

    So, instead of something being wrong with the physical tissue of the digestive system, IBS symptoms are the result of changes in the functioning of the digestive system.

    While you probably won’t be admitted to hospital for having IBS, the sheer quality-of-life impact it can have means it deserves a closer look.

    We’ll start by explaining the causes of IBS before jumping into the signs and symptoms experienced by IBS patients.

    Finally, we’ll offer some insight into currently prescribed treatment methods.

    ibs symptoms - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    There are several factors that can trigger the onset of IBS symptoms with the underlying cause being that of a change in gut bacteria.

    A number of other factors including the alteration of the gastrointestinal tract motility, and abnormal nervous system signals all contribute to the possible onset of IBS symptoms.

    Naturally, there are different ‘triggers’ for different people.

    This slightly complicates the issue of highlighting a particular cause or solution and heralding it as the final answer to understand and treat or cure IBS.

    For now, we have to look at a broad range of risk factors that may predispose one to IBS and it’s related symptoms.

    1. SIBO

    First on the list is SIBO which stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.

    Essentially, this refers to when you have too much bacteria in your small intestine.

    This indicates a shift in the balance of your small intestine’s environment.

    SIBO has its own list of risk factors ranging from diabetes to having a small intestine with an unusual shape.

    In essence, SIBO usually starts when your small intestine doesn’t move food along the way it should. This can cause bacteria to grow and stay in an area too long.

    An imbalance can then occur if the “good” bacteria is hindered by the proliferation of harmful bacteria.

    2. Food Sensitivities

    This is most likely caused due to poor absorption of sugars or acids in food. The result is irritation of the bowels and typically leads to IBS symptoms.

    3. Stress

    Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression have been found in many people with IBS. Whether the two are a result of causation or a simple correlation is unknown with IBS.

    In other words, psychological conditions may not be a direct cause of IBS but research may find that it increases the probability that you will develop IBS.

    4. Other Causes

    There are several more factors that may lead to IBS symptom development.

    Gastroenteritis, also known as a “stomach bug” and caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and intestines, can trigger IBS symptoms.

    Genetic factors, hypersensitivity to pain from a full bowel, and abnormal movements of the colon and small intestine all contribute to the likelihood of IBS symptoms developing.

     ibs abdominal pain - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    Signs and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Generally speaking, IBS involves changes in the frequency and physical form of bowel movements. It is normally associated with lower abdominal pain as well.

    Pain and cramping happen to be the most common symptoms and a key factor in diagnosing the presence of IBS.

    The cause of this, as mentioned earlier, is related to changes in a patient’s microbiome.

    Diarrhoea affects about one-third of those suffering from IBS making it another common sign of IBS. This in contrast to a less intuitive sign of IBS, namely constipation.

    In fact, constipation affects nearly half of people with IBS. The root cause lies in altered communication between the brain and the bowel causing a change in bowel movement speed.

    One of the most annoying reported symptoms of IBS is bloating. Most people with IBS report this making it an expected symptom when dealing with irritable bowel syndrome.

    The above signs and symptoms are quite consistent across patients with high probabilities of occurring in patients with IBS. The next couple of symptoms vary more wildly among patients.

    Fatigue has been attributed to IBS with adults finding themselves low on energy at work and in social interactions.

    Patients with IBS have also found that their sleep suffers – difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently, and feeling unrested in the morning have all been reported.

    In general, patients have found their energy levels and restful states much lower with the onset of irritable bowel syndrome.

     

    Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Treating IBS is a matter of installing lifestyle and dietary changes that are recommended by a doctor.
    This means that a holistic approach is required to deal with the many facets of one’s biology and lifestyle that may be causing the patient’s IBS.

    In general, lifestyle changes and recommendations about what you should eat may be combined with medicines, probiotics and mental health therapy, depending on the patient’s particular risk profile.

    Patients need to heed the medical advice of their doctors when it comes to their specific situation.
    That said, here are a number of treatments that your doctor may recommend or extra treatments you could add to your treatment plan.

    1. Exercise

    A solution seemingly as old as modern medical advice itself, the benefits of exercise apply to IBS therapy as well.

    Not only has it been shown to improve IBS symptoms, but it also has a well-known effect on anxiety and depression which are IBS risk factors.

    Exercise has the potential to alleviate symptoms and lower the reoccurrence of IBS down the line.

    2. Set a Sleep Schedule

    Our bodily functions are controlled by our biological clocks, or circadian rhythms. Gut functioning also follows this cycle. As a result, if one’s sleep is disrupted, the gut may be suffering.

    It’s recommended to stick to a sleep schedule to help control fluctuations in gut irregularity.

    If one is travelling across time zones, it may be worth taking some melatonin which can help regulate the circadian rhythm.

    Consistency is key here. The upsides can be significant, not just for gut health but for one’s overall health as well.

    3. Medication

    Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to alleviate IBS symptoms and combat their reoccurrence.

    An antihistamine may be given as this can help lower the histamine released in your gut due to an allergic reaction.

    This can lead to reduced inflammation and a resultant decrease in IBS symptoms.

    Antidepressants in low doses have been shown to alleviate symptoms.

    Depending on the type of symptoms a patient is experiencing, different antidepressants may be prescribed.

    Some help to inhibit the activity of nerves in the gut which helps to lower pain.

    In other cases, an antidepressant can be prescribed to speed up the gastrointestinal tract.

    As mentioned earlier, IBS could be the result of an overgrowth of bacteria.

    In such cases, an antibiotic such as Rifaximin may be given by your doctor to inhibit the bacteria’s growth.

    ibs nutrition - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    4. Diet and Lifestyle

    Several lifestyle changes can help alleviate IBS symptoms. Another two worth mentioning here are probiotics and yoga.

    Probiotics help to balance your gut microbiome. They’re referred to as the “good bacteria” and can be found in many food sources such as dairy products and fruit like bananas.

    Including this in your diet can be a good idea to get your gut microbiome to a sustainably healthy position.

    Yoga has been suggested to alleviate the symptoms of IBS.

    One way it may achieve this is by increasing serotonin levels thereby decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.

    Summary

    Irritable bowel syndrome does not have to be a debilitating problem for which there is no solution.

    There are, however, nasty symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating which can make certain aspects of life unpleasant.

    Through following the advice of a doctor, there are a number of effective therapeutic methods with the most notable being overall lifestyle changes accompanied by targeted medication.

    Irritable bowel syndrome can affect one’s life ranging from a reduced amount of sleep to abdominal pain and less energy to do what you love.

    The symptoms of cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating are responsible for this, in some cases quite severe, hindrance on normal human functioning.

    There are however lifestyle and dietary changes which can be implemented, along with the medicinal prescriptions from a doctor, that can alleviate most, if not all, of the suffering experienced by those with irritable bowel syndrome.

    For more information on the treatment of IBS in Johannesburg, contact Dr. Schneider or visit www.gidocjhb.co.za and book your consultation today.

     

    Colon Cancer Risk Factors Prevention infographic 120x300 - IBS - Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

    Nutritional Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Nutritional Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    GIDOCJHB offers patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) a fresh approach to managing their condition.

    In addition to providing effective treatments that are rooted in research, we pay attention to and address each patient’s unique history and concerns, and provide highly specialised and advanced care in the diagnosis, support, and treatment of patients living with inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBD

    Dr. Schneider understands that IBS can affect your quality of life and no two people experience symptoms in the same way.
    We partner with you to optimise your treatment and help you manage symptoms long-term.

    Whether you want to explore complementary and alternative therapies such as nutritional supplements or dietary changes, we’ll help you meet your personal goals while making sure you’re receiving the best, evidence-based medical care available.

     

    What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

    It’s a common long-term disorder that affects the large intestine.

    Only a small percentage of people with IBS have strong signs and symptoms.

    Most people suffering from IBS can control their symptoms by managing lifestyle factors, such as diet and stress. More-severe symptoms can be treated with medication and therapy.

    IBS isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer or Crohn’s disease.

    Those suffering from IBS may miss activities and planned obligations, such as work or school more often, and they may feel less able, and even paranoid and stressed to take part in daily activities.

    Some people may need to change their work setting: shifting to working at home, changing hours, or finding a more flexible job that can accommodate them better.

     ibs foods nutrition - Nutritional Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Who Is at Risk for IBS?

    • Age – IBS can affect people of all ages, but it’s more likely for people in their teens through their 40s.
    • Family history – You’re at higher risk if you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child with the disease.
    • Cigarette smoking – Cigarette smoking is the most important controllable risk factor for developing Crohn’s disease.
    • Medications – Studies have shown a link between IBS symptoms and antibiotics, antidepressants, and drugs made with sorbitol.
    • Food sensitivities – Some people may have digestive upsets when they eat dairy, wheat, sugar, fatty foods, or alcohol. Currently, there’s no evidence any of these foods cause IBS, but they can and may trigger symptoms at any time.

     nutritional therapy ibs foods - Nutritional Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    IBS Diet Suggestions

    If bloating, gas, and changes in your bathroom habits are causing you to feel uncomfortable both socially and physically, changing your food choices can be an effective route to relief. Here are some food suggestions that can provide you relief:

     

    1. Eggs

    Generally, eggs are easily digested and “light” on the stomach, well still being wholesome and nutritious for someone who has IBS.

    It doesn’t matter how you like your eggs, whether its hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, or poached.

    Eggs are packed with amino acids, antioxidants, and iron. You don’t just have to eat the white of the egg too.

    When you’re out buying eggs, pay close attention to the labels. Its always recommended to buy organic, when possible.

     

    2. Salmon and Other Omega-3 Fish

    Omega-3 fatty acids play an anti-inflammatory role within the body. Increasing your intake of omega-3s may be of help. Good fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

    • Anchovies
    • Sardines
    • Wild-caught salmon
    • Whitefish

     

    3. Lean Meats

    Lean meats are comprised mainly of protein.

    Protein is easily digestible and is not fermentable by gut bacteria—which translates to no unwanted intestinal gas.

    Therefore you can eat any of the following with confidence:

    • White meat chicken
    • White meat turkey
    • Pork
    • Lean cuts of beef

     

    4. Oats

    Oats are a rich source of fiber, which feeds healthy bacteria in your gut.

    Some patients with IBS experience a smaller trigger response in IBS symptoms from eating oatmeal, while others may experience increased symptoms.

     

    5. Avocado

    The creamy, green fruit is also filled with fiber, making it a great dietary option for those suffering from IBS. Mixing it with a salad or eggs is a great way to start your morning well.

     

    6. Grapes

    Grapes are low in fructan and contain anthocyanin, a name used for certain purple, blue or red antioxidants that may fight IBS and aid in weight loss thanks to their ability to inhibit inflammatory chemicals.

     

    7. Tomatoes

    Adding tomatoes to your diet is an easy and delicious way to combat IBS, as it is very gut-friendly.

    ibs tips - Nutritional Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

     

    Quick Tips for Controlling IBS Symptoms

    • Try to eat your meals at about the same time each day.
    • Keep a journal of what you eat, how much and when, as well as your reactions (heartburn, diarrhea, cramping). You should be looking for patterns of what you can and can’t eat based on symptoms
    • Avoid eating so much in one sitting. Space out your meals in smaller portions
    • Don’t skip meals or wait too long between meals.
    • Avoid bad fatty foods, which can be harder to digest. Stick to lean.
    • Drink plenty of water throughout your day. Also, see if drinking water with your meals helps ease symptoms
    • Limit or avoid all types of caffeine, such as from coffee and tea.
    • Avoid alcohol and fizzy (carbonated) drinks as much as possible
    • When you do eat fruit, try fruits without the skins. Some people might have problems with melons, apples, and citrus fruits.
    • Prepare foods by grilling, broiling, baking, or steaming with little to no oil. Try using a cooking spray in place of oil.
    • Some people have problems with heavily spiced, sauced, or fried foods, but see if and how this effects you
    • For the foods that are potential IBS symptom triggers for you, try introducing them back into your diet by having a small portion and choosing only one trigger food at a time.
    • Reduce fructose. Fructose can cause diarrhoea in some people, particularly when eaten in large quantities.

    DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

    The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.