How to Cope With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
By Caroline Farquhar R.H.N., E.M.P., B.A.
Canada has one of the highest rates of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the world with 5 million Canadians currently suffering from it and 120,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. These are significant statistics but there is hope.
The symptoms of IBS include cramping, spasms, altered bowel function and irritation of the intestinal tract. In some people it is mild, while others have chronic symptoms that can be disabling. People with IBS may also have upper abdominal symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, bloating and abdominal pain.
IBS is a ‘functional disorder’ which means that there is no physical evidence of disease such as ulcers or inflammation. It is also a diagnosis of exclusion, so if a practitioner cannot determine a cause for symptoms (i.e. Crohn's disease or colitis) a diagnosis of IBS is likely to be made. Although IBS is a serious problem, it is not life threatening and can be managed by diet and lifestyle changes along with natural supplementation.
Here are some steps you can take to cope with IBS:
Rule out possible underlying causes and treat them if they exist (i.e. candida, parasites, lactose intolerance and infectious diarrhea).
Diet and Stress
- Determine “trigger” foods and avoid them (fats, dairy, wheat, insoluble fibre and red meat tend to be big triggers). Keep a food diary to determine what your personal trigger foods are.
- Eat 5-6 smaller meals per day, rather than 2-3 large meals. This is easier on the digestive system.
- Chew your food slowly and thoroughly into small digestible pieces.
- Drink plenty of purified water but limit the amount of water or other fluids you drink with your meals, as this can inhibit digestion. Be careful with ice-cold liquids as they can make your stomach muscles contract, triggering an attack.
- Stress and your stomach are inextricably linked. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily life to keep your stress manageable.
One of the most important things that you can do is replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal tract with probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Several studies comparing the effects of probiotics versus placebo have indicated improving IBS symptoms and reducing the risk of persistent IBS symptoms with probiotics. You don’t get enough from yogurt so supplementing is best. Ultimate Flora Colon Care delivers 80 billion beneficial bacteria in each protected capsule. The 10 strains are specifically chosen for their prevalence in a healthy intestinal tract.
To ease the symptoms of cramping and spasms, use anti-spasmodic herbs such as ginger root, goldenseal and turmeric. Repair and rebuild the intestinal tract with amino acids such as L-Glutamine & N-Acetyl D-Glucosamine. Intestinal Bowel Support is a complete IBS support formula. It will help to repair the intestinal tract while managing the symptoms of IBS such as cramping, spasms and alternating constipation and diarrhea.
By following the preventative steps above, and using a combination of anti-spasmodic herbs during acute flair ups, IBS symptoms can be brought under control, thereby regaining the quality of life for IBS sufferers.
If you’re ready to take control of IBS symptoms and stop letting them control you, start our 30 Day IBS Treatment Protocol today to help get your digestive system back on track, and regain a better quality of life.