A Low Fodmap Diet: Help For Ibs

FODMAPs: The Diet You Never Knew Could Cure Your Tummy Troubles

Experts dont believe certain foods cause IBS, but rather that foods high in FODMAPs may trigger symptoms when you have IBS. A Low FODMAP Diet: What the Science Says The first clinical trial on FODMAPs was published in 2006 by Australian researchers. They put 62 people with IBS who were fructose intolerant on a low FODMAP diet for an average of 14 months and found that 74 percent of participants saw an improvement in abdominal symptoms. More recent studies have had similar results. One published in 2013 in the International Journal of Clinical Practice followed 90 people with IBS as they ate a low FODMAP diet. Most participants saw improvement in abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. The concept isnt all that new, however. Doctors have known for a long time that patients who avoided almost all carbohydrates those who went on a high-protein Atkins diet, for instance would see a significant reduction in symptoms in the short-term, said Pankaj Jay Pasricha, MD, chair of the American Gastroenterological Associations Neurogastroenterology and Motility Section and director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Low FODMAP Diet: What to Avoid A low FODMAP diet is all about avoiding the foods that are likely to make IBS symptoms act up. Fruits and sweeteners high in fructose: fresh apples, mangos, watermelon, pears, nashi (Asian pears), and juice made from these fruits; canned fruit; dried fruit; foods with sweeteners made with fructose or high fructose corn syrup; and honey. Dairy products containing lactose: milk from cows, goats, and sheep ; custard; ice cream; yogurt; and soft cheeses such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone, and ricotta. Foods with fructans: vegetables such as onions, garlic, leeks, fennel, shallots, spring onions, artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, and okra; cereals, breads, and baked goods containing wheat and rye; couscous and pasta; fruits such as custard apples, persimmons, and watermelon; and chicory root, dandelion, the food ingredient inulin, and pistachios. Legumes containing galactans: baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and soybeans. Fruits, vegetables, and sweeteners containing polyols: fruits such as apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, longons, lychees, nashi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, and watermelon; vegetables such as cauliflower, green bell peppers, mushrooms, and sweet corn; and sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, maltitol, and xylitol found in diet soda and diet drinks. Low FODMAP Diet: What to Eat Next, put together a meal plan from foods low in FODMAPs that shouldnt trigger IBS symptoms.

website link http://www.everydayhealth.com/ibs/a-low-fodmap-diet-help-for-ibs.aspx

Bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation can all be IBS symptoms [REX] One of the latest methods of doing this is using the FODMAP diet. This NHS-approved programme is gaining in popularity, but changes some of our thinking on what ‘good’ foods for us are. Because of this it’s recommended you only start the diet with the help of a dietician or your GP. [The facts about IBS] Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest Laboratories, which specialises in food intolerance testing and has created a new diet programme specifically to combat IBS explains: “IBS varies hugely between individuals so it’s never a case of one diet fits all, which is why it’s really important to be supervised if you decide to remove FODMAP foods from your diet.” “In trials we’ve run at YorkTest, we saw a significant improvement in symptoms in patients who stuck to their prescribed diet. “Many people with IBS just aren’t aware that with a little help, they can often find simple dietary solutions to ease their symptoms.” Though packed with nutrients, broccoli can cause problems for IBS patients [REX] What is FODMAP? Standing for the rather complicated Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, FODMAP foods contain types of carbohydrate and sugars that are not successfully broken down and absorbed by the small intestine. This means they are badly digested and arrive in the large intestine, where they act as a food source for bacteria, soak up water and produce gas, leading to pain, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation – classic IBS symptoms. The idea of removing FODMAP foods is to take away these carbs and sugars that your body has trouble digesting, and it’s been found to make a difference in 70 per cent of cases. [Stretches to improve digestion] FODMAP foods Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, concentrated fruit juices, dates, dried fruits, figs, lychees, mango, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, tinned fruit in natural juices, watermelon. Alternative fruits: Banana, bilberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cantaloupe/honeydew melon, cranberries, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries. Vegetables: Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, mushroom, onion, leeks, sweetcorn. Alternative vegetables: Carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, peas, peppers, olives, spinach, tomatoes, courgettes, parsnips, squashes, sweet potato. Pulses: Lentils, chickpeas, beans (including baked beans, kidney beans and soya beans) Cereals: Wheat, bulgar wheat, rye, barley Alternative cereals: Rice, oats, millet, polenta or quinoa. FODMAPs are found in many foods so get expert help before you cut them out [REX] Others to avoid: Milk products (switch to lactose free or avoid entirely, particularly if you have an intolerance show up in testing), sweeteners such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol – instead try small amounts of sugar, golden or maple syrup. Saccharin and aspartame can also be tolerated.

advice http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/ibs-diet-fodmap-foods-cures-093632544.html

Beating IBS – could the FODMAP diet be the answer?

Its author (and fellow IBS sufferer and nurse),Elise Dieden, says she was hesitant to treat her IBS with medication: After a few months of looking into FODMAPs, I decided to give it ashot. The symptoms certainly matched mine and everything I read feltlike it was personally directed at me. She continues: I did a two week elimination phase (no FODMAPs) inSeptember 2011andsince then Ive been maintaining (with a low FODMAPs plan). I havebad days where I slip up, but its much easier now that I know why Imhaving GI problems and how to fix it. Having the knowledge to correctthe issue and feel better is so empowering. I no longer getfrustrated with my body because the painful symptoms arent random. Idefinitely feel like discovering FODMAPs has made the biggestdifference in improving my GI health. Sounds great, right? So why arent more people trying a low FODMAPs diet to treat their IBS? Well, mainly because its largely unknown here in the United States. Patsy Catsos herselffirst became aware of the diet five years ago, in 2007: I developed my own materials based on what I could glean from the medical literature trickling out of Australia, and they were an immediate success in my practice. Some patients were ecstatic with the way they felt after just a few days on the diet, and I got better at identifying good candidates. Some patients described the difference as amazing, like night and day or said they finally knew what it was like to feel normal. Diets low in lactose and fructans (hello, gluten-free craze!) are pretty well-known and popular here. Patsy says that if youre already eating a lactose-free or gluten-free diet and you continue to have uncomfortable GI symptoms, you may be a good candidate for a low-FODMAP trial: If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and are still experiencing bouts of GI symptoms, even when you are eating a gluten-free diet, FODMAPs might be responsible. Wow, who knew?

best site http://www.blisstree.com/2012/07/13/food/fodmaps-the-diet-you-never-knew-could-cure-your-tummy-troubles-474/

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Medication

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Paxil May Help Irritable Bowel Syndrome

“Paxil worked extremely well,” Arnold tells WebMD. “These drugs are designed to treat anxiety and depression, but they work on irritable bowel in people without depression.” The cleverly designed study showed that more than one in four irritable-bowel patients get enormous relief simply by going on a high-fiber diet. “On just the high-fiber diet, 26% of the people who were having a lot of symptoms felt well enough that they didn’t want anything more done,” Arnold says. “Their pain and their bloating improved, and their overall well-being improved enough to say they didn’t want any more treatment.” Because people who enroll in clinical trials tend to be those with harder-to-treat irritable bowel syndrome, Arnold says that a high-fiber diet would help far more than 26% of patients. When Fiber Fails Not everybody with irritable bowel syndrome gets better after going on a high-fiber diet. In the Arnold team’s study, those who didn’t get better with a high-fiber diet went on to the second part of the study. The 81 patients in this part of the trial were randomly assigned to get Paxil or an identical-looking placebo for 12 weeks. Neither the patients nor their doctors knew which drug they were taking. Nearly two thirds of the Paxil group — 63.3% — reported improvement in their overall well-being. Only 26.3% of the placebo group reported this kind of improvement. Paxil didn’t help with abdominal pain or bloating. But patients who took Paxil had significantly better improvement in other symptoms — straining, urgency, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation — than those who took a placebo. At the end of the 12 weeks, patients could choose to continue on their medication — without learning whether they were taking Paxil or placebo. In the Paxil group, 84% wanted to continue. Only 37% of the placebo group chose to continue treatment.

webpage http://www.webmd.com/ibs/news/20040510/paxil-may-help-irritable-bowel-syndrome

A Low Fodmap Diet: Help For Ibs

Foods with fructans: vegetables such as onions, garlic, leeks, fennel, shallots, spring onions, artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, and okra; cereals, breads, and baked goods containing wheat and rye; couscous and pasta; fruits such as custard apples, persimmons, and watermelon; and chicory root, dandelion, the food ingredient inulin, and pistachios. Legumes containing galactans: baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and soybeans. Fruits, vegetables, and sweeteners containing polyols: fruits such as apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, longons, lychees, nashi, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, and watermelon; vegetables such as cauliflower, green bell peppers, mushrooms, and sweet corn; and sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, maltitol, and xylitol found in diet soda and diet drinks. Low FODMAP Diet: What to Eat Next, put together a meal plan from foods low in FODMAPs that shouldnt trigger IBS symptoms. Fresh fruits or a small amount of dried fruits: bananas, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, durians, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, melons, kiwis, lemons, limes, mandarin oranges, passionfruit, papayas, raspberries, rhubarb, cantaloupe, strawberries, and tangelos. Vegetables and herbs: alfalfa, bamboo shoots, bean shoots, bok choy, carrot, celery, choko, choy sum (Chinese cabbage), endive, ginger, green beans, lettuce, olives, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, red bell peppers, silver beets, spinach, squash, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, the root vegetable taro, tomatoes, turnips, yams, and zucchini; basil, chili, coriander, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Grains: gluten-free cereals and breads, and 100 percent spelt bread, rice, oats, polenta, arrowroot, millet, psyllium, quinoa, sorgum, and tapioca. Lactose-free dairy products and frozen treats: lactose-free milk, oat milk, rice milk, soy milk, hard cheeses, brie, camembert, lactose-free yogurt, gelati, and sorbet. Olive oil. Tofu. Sweeteners and honey substitutes: sugar in small quantities, glucose, artificial sweeteners that dont end in -ol (such as Stevia and Splenda), golden syrup in small amounts, maple syrup in small portions, molasses, and treacle. Low FODMAP Diet: The Downsides On the plus side, a low FODMAP diet has been scientifically shown to reduce symptoms. But the downside is that it requires pretty drastic changes to the diet, Dr. Pasricha said.

experienced http://www.everydayhealth.com/ibs/a-low-fodmap-diet-help-for-ibs.aspx

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Can Be Treated

Associate Professor of Medicine Baha Moshiree, M.D., M.S.  director of the motility program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine talks with Dr. Leopoldo Arosemena, a second year gastroenterology fellow on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.  
Dr. Moshiree sees patients diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and offers the treatments available.

Moshiree sees patients diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and offers the treatments available. AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD STAFF eadearmas@MiamiHerald.com It took June Meyer seven different gastroenterologist visits, numerous diets, medications, alternative treatments and 20 years to finally find an effective method that alleviated her symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Nothing worked for the 50-year-old clinical mental health counselor, who spent all day sitting down seeing couples and trying not to complain about her stomachaches which would start around 1 p.m. because she didnt want to play the victim. Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, impacted every aspect of her life: her career, her sexuality, her self-esteem and her self-identity. It really inhibited my ability to feel good while I was working, almost to the point where I was ready to give up my practice so I could do something where I wasnt sitting all day, she said. IBS the most common gastrointestinal disorder is caused by changes in the gastrointestinal tract, which affects bowel movements. Symptoms include abdominal pain, an alteration of bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Currently, there are no tests available to diagnose IBS, which is why it is considered a symptom-based diagnosed disorder. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 10 to 15 percent of the population is affected by IBS, and less than one-third of people seek care for their symptoms. Dr. Baharak Moshiree, director of the motility program at the University of Miami, says treating IBS can be very challenging because every patient has a different experience with the disorder. Although the cause of IBS is currently unknown, several factors have been said to aggravate symptoms: stress, anxiety, dairy products, legumes such as beans, and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Which came first the chicken or the egg is kind of hard to figure out, she said. What was happening before the symptoms occurred? You want to find out what factors were there before patients started having these symptoms, or if they started having these symptoms and then when they get stressed or anxious, everything gets worse.

on bing http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/29/3658083/irritable-bowel-syndrome-can-be.html

Can Children Get Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome

My daughter is 8 years old and just lately she has been constantly complaining of stomach aches. We all have quite a good healthy diet and she does eat quite well. However my sister suffers from Irritable bowel and there are certain foods I cannot eat due to the fact the I suffer from trapped wind. Could she be suffering from either of these problems at such an early age? Recurring abdominal pain is perhaps the most common symptom in children. Most of the time it turns out to be caused not by anything physically wrong but is a sign of an underlying emotional stress or anxiety which the child may not be able to talk about and which causes quite genuine pain as though the bowels are ‘all knotted up’. However before going any further down this route it is essential that she is thoroughly checked out by your GP to make sure that there is nothing physically wrong. Constipation, urine infections, throat, chest or bowel infections, viruses, inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), diabetes and abdominal migraine are just some of the important causes of abdominal pain which should not be missed. You ask about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Yes this can cause stomach ache at this age. We do not know exactly what causes IBS but it seems that the bowels contract spasmodically rather than in smooth regular waves, causing trapped pockets of painful wind and bloating and diarrhoea or constipation.

read this http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-20505/Can-children-irritable-bowel-syndrome.html

Julianne Hough flaunts washboard abs

Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold-water fish, tofu (soy, if no allergy) or beans for protein. Use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or vegetable oil. Reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine If you suffer from gas, eliminate beans, cabbages, and other “gassy” vegetables from your diet, as well as apple juice, grape juice, bananas, nuts, and raisins. Fiber supplements can help reduce pain, cramping, and gas. Taking digestive enzymes 20 minutes before meals can help enhance digestion and normalize bowel function. One tsp. of raw bran added to each meal provides fiber. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and tobacco. Drink 6 – 8 glasses of filtered water daily. Exercise where possible, 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week. Nutritional deficiencies may be addressed with the following supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 – 2 capsules or 1 tbsp.

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Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome Medication

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source this http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/930844-medication

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Can Be Treated

Associate Professor of Medicine Baha Moshiree, M.D., M.S.  director of the motility program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine talks with Dr. Leopoldo Arosemena, a second year gastroenterology fellow on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.  
Dr. Moshiree sees patients diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and offers the treatments available.

Currently, there are no tests available to diagnose IBS, which is why it is considered a symptom-based diagnosed disorder. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 10 to 15 percent of the population is affected by IBS, and less than one-third of people seek care for their symptoms. Dr. Baharak Moshiree, director of the motility program at the University of Miami, says treating IBS can be very challenging because every patient has a different experience with the disorder. Although the cause of IBS is currently unknown, several factors have been said to aggravate symptoms: stress, anxiety, dairy products, legumes such as beans, and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Which came first the chicken or the egg is kind of hard to figure out, she said. What was happening before the symptoms occurred? You want to find out what factors were there before patients started having these symptoms, or if they started having these symptoms and then when they get stressed or anxious, everything gets worse. Unfortunately, the gut does its own thing. Although IBS is uncomfortable, can greatly affect patients quality of life and currently has no cure, people do not die from the disorder. There are several medications available to help relieve pain, diarrhea and constipation that can be purchased over the counter or prescribed. Moshiree also says that counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis can also help patients cope with the pain, and alleviate their stress and anxiety. Her advice: Stay away from narcotics when treating IBS. Although narcotics are effective for relieving pain, these drugs can worsen the symptoms.

on yahoo http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/29/3658083/irritable-bowel-syndrome-can-be.html

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Recommended Related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) There are three types of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. They include: IBS with constipation. This comes with stomach pain and discomfort, bloating, abnormally delayed or infrequent bowel movement, or lumpy/hard stool. IBS with diarrhea. This comes with stomach pain and discomfort, an urgent need to move your bowels, abnormally frequent bowel movements, or loose/watery stool. IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea. There are about an equal number of people… Read the Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) article > > IBS is not a life-threatening condition and it does not make a person more likely to develop other colon conditions, such as ulcerative colitis , Crohn’s disease , or colon cancer , or any diseases of the heart or nerves. Yet IBS can be a chronic problem that can significantly impair quality of life in those that have it. For example, people with IBS miss work three times more than people without IBS and the condition is associated with absenteeism from school, decreased participation in activities of daily living, alterations of one’s work setting (shifting to working at home, changing hours), or giving up work altogether. What Are the Symptoms of IBS? Among the symptoms associated with IBS are: Diarrhea (often described as violent episodes of diarrhea). Constipation.

view now http://www.webmd.com/ibs/digestive-diseases-irritable-bowel-syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Research Digestive Disorders

Sometimes people with IBS pass mucus with their bowel movements. People with this disease also appear to be extra sensitive to distention of the colon. Studies using balloons to distend the colon have shown that patients with IBS experience pain and feel bloated at balloon pressures and volumes that are significantly lower than those that cause symptoms in people without the condition. Recent studies also have shown that neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass signals between nerves, are particularly active in the gastrointestinal tracts of people with the condition. One neurotransmitter in particular, serotonin, appears to be especially active in the blood and colon of people with IBS. These high levels of serotonin may stem in part from life stresses: The colon has many connections to the brain and central nervous system, which responds to stress and emotional upsets. And more than half of patients seen by a physician for IBS report stressful life events just before or at the same time as the onset of symptoms. Infection may also play a role in the causation of IBS. The theory is that infections of the intestinal lining prompt an immune-system response that makes the intestine hypersensitive. Some people who report IBS-like symptoms actually have mild celiac disease. People with celiac disease can’t digest gluten, a protein in wheat and other grains. When exposed to gluten, their immune systems damage the small intestine.

updated blog post http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/digestive-disorders/irritable-bowel-syndrome/overview

New form of irritable bowel syndrome discovered

They experience recurrent abdominal pains, cramping and diarrhea that they didnt have before. The prevailing wisdom has been that once diverticulitis is treated, its gone. But weve shown that IBS symptoms occur after the diverticulitis, and it may result from an inflammatory process like a bomb going off in the body and leaving residual damage. As people age, most develop diverticulosis, or pouches in the lining of the colon. More than 50% of individuals over 60 have the condition; however, the pouches usually do not cause any problems. Occasionally, the pouches become inflamed, leading to diverticulitis, which causes pain and infection in the abdomen. Doctors usually treat it with antibiotics, or in more severe cases, surgery. A major surprise in our study was that diverticulitis patients not only developed IBS at a higher rate than the controls, but they also developed mood disorders like depression and anxiety at a higher rate, noted Dr. Spiegel. He added, Because IBS and mood disorders often go hand in hand, this suggests that acute diverticulitis might even set off a process leading to long-standing changes in the brain-gut axis. The discovery of PDV-IBS could mean better attention to patients complaining of symptoms after diverticulitis, symptoms that up until now may have been dismissed by physicians. Spiegel said the PDV-IBS. Dr. Spiegel explained, Patients often report ongoing IBS symptoms after the diverticulitis has long passed, and this study supports their beliefs and introduces a new diagnosis. If doctors recognize this, they may take the symptoms more seriously and manage them actively, just as they can manage IBS actively with various new drugs on the market and currently in development. For the two-year study, more than 1,000 patient records from the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center were reviewed. The study group comprised patients that had suffered acute diverticulitis and another group of patients that did not have it. The groups were matched for age and sex and had similar comorbidities (other existing health problems).

browse around here http://www.examiner.com/article/new-form-of-irritable-bowel-syndrome-discovered

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): causes, symptoms and treatment

mint tea: irritable bowel syndrome

This article on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is written by Sarah Dawson, a freelance journalist who writes for national and international newspapers, magazines and websites. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the digestive tract which affects as many as one in five of us at some point in our lives, most likely between the ages of 15 and 40. It’s also a very individual condition and it affects people in different ways. Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation, frequent bowel motions, bloating, abdominal tenderness and swelling. IBS is believed to be linked to stress and because of the strong connection between the bowels and the brain, symptoms can also include headaches, nervousness, depression and anxiety. In fact, the NHS report that up to 60 per cent of people with IBS have psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. People are generally affected by one symptom more than another, and IBS tends to be more common in women than men. For some people, the symptoms are so mild they almost go unnoticed, but others may describe IBS as a debilitating disease. If the main symptom is diarrhoea then food passes through the digestive system faster than usual, while constipated and bloated sufferers complain that the bowels don’t feel fully emptied after going to the toilet. Some people experience sharp, gripping abdominal cramps and pain in the abdomen, which can get better – or worse – by opening the bowels, passing wind or eating. IBS sufferers often feel an urgent need to open their bowels, and stools vary in consistency. Excessive wind, burping, bad breath, nausea, vomiting and indigestion, a sense of fullness, back and groin pain, lethargy, disturbed sleep and a need to urinate more frequently – sometimes quite urgently – are other reported symptoms. Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome Bowel contents are moved along by a series of rhythms which tighten and relax segments of the intestine – this process is called ‘peristalsis’. The peristalsis movements are stronger, more frequent, and noisier in IBS sufferers, causing abdominal rumblings as the gases are moved through the intestines. Health professionals find it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of IBS, but it is described as a functional disorder, which means that the way the bowel normally operates is affected. For many people IBS occurs after a stressful or emotional period. It is also thought that IBS is triggered by hormones, and symptoms can worsen for a woman during her menstrual period. IBS can also develop after a gastrointestinal infection or an inflammation of the stomach and bowel linings which causes sickness and diarrhoea. The diet is also a major contributing factor and food intolerances to products like wheat and dairy can wreak havoc on the working of the innards. Gas producing vegetables such as beans can aggravate symptoms as can sugar, alcohol and caffeine. After explaining your symptoms to your GP he/she will probably give you a physical examination. Your GP will make further investigations to rule-out other more serious conditions if there are additional symptoms which are of concern. These include: bleeding from the rectum, blood with the stools, weight loss, anaemia, if you’re aged over 45, and have a family history of cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. You might be asked to provide a stool test or to have an X-ray of the bowel taken after a barium enema (when the colon is filled with a liquid that shows up on X-rays). Managing your symptoms Once you’re diagnosed with IBS, it is likely to persist for some time. However, irritable bowel syndrome symptomscan come and go, and for long periods of time they may disappear completely. The best ‘cure’ for your IBS is to understand it, know what triggers it then aim to avoid the frequency and intensity of the symptoms. Fortunately, there are a number of measures which will alleviate, and potentially eliminate the symptoms, not least is watching what you eat. Dieticians recommend cutting out spicy and fatty foods, particularly if diarrhoea is your main complaint, and avoid irritants like tea, coffee, alcohol, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Try swapping your tea and coffee for calming, soothing herbal teas like peppermint, fennel and chamomile. People with constipation should try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables (roughage) and drink lots of water to flush out the system. If bloating or wind is a problem eliminate gas-producing foods such as beans. Keep a food diary, noting how your bowels respond to certain dishes. An imbalance in the gut, for example, after a course of antibiotics can trigger IBS symptoms so try some natural bio yoghurt to rebalance the flora in your gut. One thing for sure is that IBS affects everyone differently so what works for one person, won’t necessarily for another. You can identify ‘trigger foods’ – those which aggravate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, avoid them for a while to see if any changes or improvements occur, then gradually reintroduce them one at a time. Regular exercise to keep fit and healthy is very important as moderate daily exercise helps ease the passage of waste through the system. IBS treatments Complementary therapies like acupuncture and reflexology are also gaining more kudos for alleviating or managing IBS, and because stress has a big impact, learning how to manage the stress in your life is also very beneficial. Research suggests that a self-hypnosis technique, which relaxes the mind, the body (and the bowels) has very positive results. Keeping a record of when symptoms occur can also be useful because if certain events are identified as triggers it may be easier to deal with the stress of them. There are also medicine/tablets available over the counter. Antispasmodics such as Colofac slow contractions in the bowel to help with diarrhoea and pain. If you have really severe pain your GP might prescribe antidepressants to block the transmission of pain from the gut to the brain. An anti-diarrhoea medicine such as Imodium is OK in the short term and the laxative Fybogel, can be helpful for constipation while peppermint oil capsules are thought to help relieve pain and wind. Profile of the author Sarah Dawson is a Brighton based journalist who writes for national and international newspapers, magazines and websites. Sarah has worked as a journalist since 1997, mostly as a freelance. Her articles have appeared in a diversity of publications from The Guardian to Red magazine. Sarah specialises in health & wellbeing, holistic travel and lifestyle features. Get a quote for private treatment You don’t need health insurance to go private. Many private hospitals and clinics will give you a fixed price for private treatment. Complete our enquiry form to get a quote for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome or further information about private healthcare services in your area.

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