Management of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder affecting the large intestine or colon. It causes bouts of abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. This condition tends to come and go in periods that last for a few days to months at a time and usually during periods of stress and after eating certain kinds of food.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

  • A bloated feeling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas
  • Alternating attacks of constipation and diarrhea
  • Presence of mucus in the stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Stomach cramping that becomes severe or occurs happens at night
  • Loss of weight
    Irritable bowel syndrome

    Stomach cramping that becomes severe or occurs happens at night

Causes

  • Irritable bowel syndrome can be caused by an increased sensitivity of the gut or esophagus and issues with digesting food.
  • The food that passes the esophagus is too slow or fast that can result to diarrhea or constipation.
  • Stress
  • A strong intestinal contraction or lasting for a longer time and result to gas, bloating and diarrhea or weak intestinal contractions that slow down the passage of food and result to hard and dry stool.
  • Irregularities in the GI tract or nervous system which results to discomfort or pain once the abdomen expands due to gas or stool.

Treatment

  • Increase the consumption of fiber in the diet for at least a week. Foods rich in fiber such grains, fruits, beans, and vegetables. If symptoms become worse seek, medical help immediately.
  • Take the prescribed fiber supplement that can prevent bloating or gas. Drink plenty of water when taking these supplements to lessen gas, bloating and constipation.
  • Avoid foods that make symptoms worse such as chocolates, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, medications that contain caffeine, dairy products and sugar-free sweeteners such sorbitol and mannitol. Avoid foods that cause gas formation such as cabbage, beans, broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw and chewing gum to prevent the swallowing air.
  • Avoid skipping meals. Eat at the same time every day to regulate bowel function. If suffering from diarrhea, eat small and frequent meals. If constipated, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods for easy bowel movement.
  • Drink plenty of liquids especially water to prevent dehydration.
  • Perform exercises regularly to relieve stress and depression and for normal contraction of the intestines. Perform yoga, massage or meditation to relieve stress.
  • Take the prescribed anti-diarrheal medications and laxative before a meal.

Tips

  • Use biofeedback which is a technique that lessens stress, muscle tension and slows down the heart rate. It helps the person enter a relaxed state that makes it easy to cope with stress.
  • Perform deep breathing since it relaxes the abdominal muscles that result to normal bowel activity.

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