Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the large intestine. If you suffer from IBS, you may struggle with a great deal of pain in relation to passing solid waste. There may be bloating and gas, uncomfortable cramping as solid wastes moves through the lower intestine, and pain or constipation as the waste moves closer to the end of the digestive tract.
Over time, the inflammation of IBS can limit the nutrients you can absorb from the foods you eat. Determining the best diet for an IBS sufferer is extremely personal. Keeping a food journal and tracking your water intake can make it easier to study how your food choices impact the condition, what foods to avoid and the optimum water intake for your condition. Because constipation can be quite dangerous for anyone suffering from IBS, getting enough fiber and roughage needs careful management.
Causes of IBS
The causes of IBS are currently unknown, but inflammation and intense muscular contractions are part of the condition. Changes to the gut bacteria can also increase the risk of inflammation and lesions that can contribute to IBS.
Stress can have a huge impact on your gut, even the lower intestine. Having an overly acidic stomach can increase your risk of severe constipation, and severe constipation can irritate the gut lining. If you have had an infection and taken antibiotics to beat it, you may have killed off some of the beneficial bacteria in your gut that need support to grow back in healthy numbers. Many IBS sufferers use fermented foods to boost their healthy gut bacteria levels.
Signs and Symptoms of IBS
IBS hurts. The worse your condition is, the more painful it will be. As solid waste moves through the gut, muscle spasms can lead to severely uncomfortable cramps. You may also have a lot more gas than in the past, and you may notice a lot of inflammation of the lower tummy. This inflammation will likely be hard to the touch. If you have had regular bowel movements in the past and suddenly suffer from bouts of:
Your gut is in trouble and trying to protect itself. Getting your gut checked out as soon as possible is critical to getting your body back in balance.
Getting Treatment for IBS
Discuss any gut changes or visible changes in your solid waste with your primary care physician. They may choose to refer you to a gastroenterologist to look into the condition further. There are medications available to help reduce diarrhea, cramping and pain.
You can also start a regimen of self care to manage your symptoms. Getting your stress under control is a good start. To get on top of stress, you can try
- Exercise to boost your mood
- Reading or crafts to calm your mind
Keeping a food diary and increasing your water intake is also a good choice. Food generally takes about 20 hours to move from swallowing to expelling. Food will generally impact the lower intestine about 10 hours after swallowing. If you have pain and constipation in the morning, review what you had for dinner. If you have pain and diarrhea in the afternoon, your breakfast and coffee intake in particular may need to change.
By getting a handle on your diet and water intake, you can get more control of the condition. Chronic health challenges can take a lot of your energy and concentration, eventually taking control of a lot of your life. If you find food triggers that increase your suffering, you can eliminate that product to see if your condition improves. Gaining control of your triggers can help maintain an emotionally healthy response to this condition.