irritated bowel syndrome - Irritated Bowel Syndrome Treatment - What Are The Options?
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Irritated Bowel Syndrome Treatment - What Are The Options?

Irritated Bowel Syndrome, or IBS for short, is a particularly unpleasant condition caused by a number of symptoms affecting the area around the bowel, gut or intestines. It is a condition that cannot be completely cured, but it can be effectively treated and kept at bay to a large extent.


It is important to make sure you find the fiber supplement that's right for you, as IBS sufferers often have very sensitive stomachs. Some people find that the psyllium fiber in supplements such as Metamucil can irritate their intestines, so if that happens to you try one of the methylcellulose products such as Citrucel, or other types of fiber such as acacia fiber.


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 Fully a third (34%) of IBS sufferers report loss of bowel control which has impacted significantly on daily life, causing frequent absences at work or school as well as missed leisure activities.

All the self-help tips in this article have come from IBS sufferers who have found a way to control their irritated bowels. Before trying any form of self-help, please make sure that you have your doctor's approval, and do check that anything you try will not interfere with any medication you are taking.

Mina also found that dietary change helped control her symptoms, alongside traditional medication: 'I've made a number of changes to my diet. I've eliminated milk and mostly any dairy, fried foods, sugar for the most part, pop, alcohol, potato chips, spicy food, rice, pasta and bread. Most recently I'm eliminating flour. But my best friend for the last couple of years has been Imodium Quick Dissolve tablets. I don't ever leave home without them. I just have to make sure I don't overdo it. If I ever become immune to the wonder drug I am gonna be a real mess!'

These days there are many different ways to take fiber supplements. You can buy the traditional powder form, which is swallowed with water or soft food, or you can buy wafers, tablets or capsules, which can be very handy if you need to travel and don't want to carry a whole can of fiber with you.

Other possible treatment options include aloe vera which will help boost your immune system, and therefore may help to ease the symptoms, and anti-depressants if the disease is said to be a result of stress. Another possible treatment is psychotherapy and hypnotherapy which has been known to help treat the disease in some instances.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Dr. Maia Dodds is the author of ‘The Irritated Bowel Syndrome Improvement Program' See www.irritatedbowelsyndromeip.com for details, further research and articles. Write directly at maia@irritatedbowelsyndromeip.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - .

Looking at your diet Laura describes how a close examination of her diet helped her IBS: 'I was placed on every kind of medication, and sometimes they worked in the short term, sometimes they didn't work at all. The doctor finally suggested trying to alter my diet in cycles, and we discovered that eating meat was my problem. I became a vegetarian and no longer have constant problems. Sometimes I even go years without any pain at all. It's worth all the effort you put into it when you finally feel better.'

Overall your treatment options for irritated bowel syndrome will ultimately depend on your own specific form of the condition, and your doctor will generally advise you on the best course of action. The important point to remember is that although there is no outright cure, there are a number of different ways you can help fight the condition so you can live a relatively normal life free of any discomfort.

If you suffer from constipation rather than diarrhea, you could try magnesium supplements instead, as these can have a slight laxative effect. Digestive enzymes and probiotics

As regards the cause of IBS, no-one really knows but a common theory is that it is largely brought on by stress. Some experts also believe it is a result of an abnormality in the immune system. Whatever the cause the good news is that IBS can be effectively treated, even though there is not one outright cure.

IBS symptoms include stomach cramping and pain, abdominal bloating and distention and either diarrhea, constipation, or any of these symptoms combined at different stages of the day or week.

IBS Seriously Impacts Daily Life Dr. Maia Dodds Irritated Bowel Syndrome is a crippling condition for 43% of IBS sufferers who report severe symptoms.

Flaxseed Watching your diet is sometimes not enough to completely control the symptoms, and natural or herbal supplements can help, as Marion discovered: 'After about six months of a horrendously restrictive diet (ultra low-fat vegan with no raw veggies or fruit except banana) and a lot of Metamucil, I managed to get it sort of under control. But if I deviated from the diet, the chronic diarrhea would come back. Someone I met told me that she had helped her IBS by taking a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed with a glass of water or juice every morning. I thought it was another crackpot cure, but eventually I decided to try it. She had told me that pre-ground flaxseed didn't work because flax seed starts to oxidize as soon as you grind it and that whole flax seeds are no good either, because they cannot be digested properly. After years of IBS, in about two weeks it just went away. I cannot believe that I now have perfectly normal, regular bowel movements.'

If you are unhappy with your current IBS treatment approach, again, you are not alone, with less than one-third of IBS sufferers reporting satisfaction with the drugs and remedies they use to treat their ISB. 62% of those taking prescription drugs experienced side effects, and 45% of prescription drug takers reported moderate to severe side effects.

Most people prefer to take one dose of fiber in the early morning, perhaps with their breakfast, and then another with dinner or just before their evening meal. You will need to experiment to find the right dosage for your symptoms and the best time to take the fiber, but if you can find a supplement and dose that works for you it will be well worth the effort, because you will have found a cheap, drug-free way to help keep your IBS under control.

Sufferers often find that they have to deal with the symptoms themselves, through self-help methods and supplements, rather than by using conventional medicines. However, this does not mean that there is no hope of improvement. By sharing their experiences, sufferers can learn a lot about what really helps to ease IBS.





About the author:
Sophie Lee has suffered from IBS for more than 15 years. She
runs IBS Tales http://www.ibstales.com where you can read
hundreds of personal stories of IBS sufferers and a range of
self-help tips.

Nearly half (47%) of IBS sufferers reported daily symptoms, with 43% experiencing severe symptoms. If you suffer from IBS, the good news is that you are not alone, with between 10-22% of the population being affected. The bad news is that IBS can be a seriously unpleasant and persistent condition.

Let's first of all discuss the symptoms of irritated bowel syndrome. Every individual is different and may have different symptoms but the most common symptoms are abdominal pains, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, uncomfortable bowel movements, and it may also cause vomiting as well. In all it's not a nice condition because your bowel seems particularly over-sensitive and will often force you to make frequent visits to the toilet whilst causing a lot of discomfort at the same time.

You should consult your doctor if you believe you have the disease and they will discuss the treatment options with you. They will usually discuss your diet and whether you can make any changes in order to improve the condition, such as increasing the fibre in your diet, before going on to specific treatments.

Enough of the bad news - there must be some good news, right? Correct. There is some great, although little-publicised news for IBS sufferers. A clinical study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, reported long-lasting, side-effect free results, with a 64-76% improvement rate for the IBS patients in the treatment group.





About the author:
Sophie Lee has had IBS for 14 years. She runs the IBS Tales
website at http://www.ibstales.com where you can read hundreds
of stories and tips from IBS sufferers.

Calcium tablets Linda, who suffers from severe diarrhea, says: 'What has helped me for more than two years is calcium carbonate, an over-the-counter supplement. I take three tablets a day, one at each meal. The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals. The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium you may have some gas or indigestion, but this usually goes away after taking a regular dose for a few days.'

 
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IBS treatment


If you have been diagnosed with irritated bowel syndrome (IBS), you will know how difficult it is to treat. Doctors can be dismissive of IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating, and when treatment is offered it may only help for a short while before the distressing symptoms return.

Kim, who also suffers from bad diarrhea, says: 'I tried taking digestive enzymes with acidophilus and found significant relief within three days. I am not afraid to eat now, but find that I still cannot eat very much refined sugar or high fibre vegetables. I have also added a cup or two per day of peppermint and chamomile tea. When I do have an episode it occurs late in the day and by the next morning I am feeling back to normal.'

Whatever type of fiber you choose, you must make sure to build the dosage up gradually. If you add masses of fiber to your diet all at once you will probably feel very gassy and bloated. Instead, try just a small spoon of fiber once a day and build up to the recommended dose on the label. Most supplements will recommend that you take the product with lots of water, and to make sure you are drinking enough water for the rest of the day as well.

Stress and IBS Daniel believes that his symptoms are related to his emotions and stress: 'I thought that when I was stuck on the toilet, experiencing the most severe cramps, thinking I was about to pass out from the pain, feeling like I was about to throw up, I was the only one. I'm still trying to work it out but I believe it has a lot to do with my psychological state. I say this because although I don't get too stressed out at any one moment, I do have general worries about money and life. I tend to find when I'm not worrying about these things I don't get the pain as much, if at all. It's easier said than done of course, I can't just stop worrying about money or my future, but being aware of these things seems to help - being optimistic and knowing that everything is only temporary. I have been taking Colpermin (peppermint capsules) as a preventative which often helps and for a while I took painkillers which I think helped.'

These may be specific to your own unique form of the condition and may include general treatments such as laxatives if you have constipation and anti-diarrheals if you suffer from diarrhoea. You may also be given specific drugs to reduce the spasms in your bowel that is responsible for much of your discomfort.

If you have had IBS for years, you would be familiar with its daily effects. As a primary health care provider, I am all too familiar with the disappointments and limitations that IBS brings to my patients lives.

It will take a little while before you see the effects of the supplement, so don't give up if you don't feel better after a few days. Try taking a supplement for one or two weeks to really give it time to work.

Fiber, water and yoga Pam, who struggles with constipation, has developed a combination of things which work for her: 'I drink Metamucil (psyllium fibre) every day and try to relax, pray or meditate, even do a little yoga. The more I make myself relax and take time to de-stress the better I can manage my problem. I know time for yourself is very hard to come by sometimes but I have to if I'm going to manage this. I try to drink at least three bottles of water a day. This is also hard sometimes but I have to take care of me the best I can. I also take a mild anti-depressant. This has helped a bunch in my stress department and in turn has helped my IBS.'

A final word Lastly, please do make sure that you have been officially diagnosed with IBS and had your symptoms fully investigated before trying any self-help methods. As Joe found out, bowel symptoms can be due something other than IBS: 'I was diagnosed with IBS, but I went to get a second opinion. They did an ultrasound followed by a barium follow-through which showed major inflammation and blockage of my small intestine. The final diagnosis is Crohn's disease. It's a pity they didn't catch it before I was seriously ill, instead of fobbing me off with excuses of 'It's IBS, there's no cure so live with it!''

These patients were treated using Chinese medical herbs (available in capsules). Not only were the positive results dramatic, they were also long-lasting, with patients reporting significantly improved IBS symptoms 14 weeks after treatment.

Click here for more information about aloe vera and IBS and to read a full Aloeride review.

Do check, though, that the supplement you choose is just made up of fiber and nothing more, as you will occasionally find one that has added chemical laxatives or other ingredients that can upset your stomach.

Another point to be aware of is that some manufacturers use artificial sweeteners in their products, and these can sometimes cause problems for IBS sufferers. There should be a normal, sweetener-free version to choose instead, and the amount of sugar in a few spoonfuls should not have a huge impact on any diet you are on.

These supplements are not really medications ' most are simply fiber products with no added drugs or herbs, and so they can be taken long term on a daily basis without worrying about side effects. They're just the equivalent of adding lots of fruit and bran to your diet, but without having to eat daily apples or worry about bloating from the bran.

If you have lived with IBS for a while, you may also be aware that there is no targeted medical treatment for IBS, only management approaches such as dietary changes and end-agents, such as laxatives and anti-diarrheal agents.

Soluble versus insoluble fiber Some nutritionists believe that IBS sufferers' intestines react differently to soluble and insoluble fiber, and this has been Stu's experience: 'After trying all kinds of drugs and healthy eating, my pains were still there. I found by accident that it wasn't so much what I ate but whether I ate it on a full stomach or not. My failsafe is pasta on an empty stomach, I get no reaction - it is soluble fibre that settles the colon apparently. I quickly searched on the internet for recipes high in soluble fibre and I have improved. Most significantly though I am on no medication and this puts me in control of the IBS, not the other way around. I think this is important as stress certainly can trigger the symptoms off. I don't avoid insoluble fibre as it is essential for the body, but I recommend that you eat it on a full stomach.'

My personal clinical experience has supported these findings. Chinese herbs can now be dispensed in capsules, or brought pre-made, and the benefits for IBS patients is often life-changing

Fiber supplements can be tremendously beneficial for IBS sufferers. Although supplements such as Metamucil and Citrucel are generally marketed as laxatives, and are very useful for constipation sufferers, they can also be used to combat diarrhea because they add bulk to the diet and can make waste food more solid.

A study titled ‘IBS in the Real World' - IBS Research Findings by IFFGD, August 2002, found that the effects of IBS can seriously effects sufferers quality of life and functionality.






About the author:
Dr. Maia Dodds has compiled international clinical research and
professional experience in her new book 'Irritated Bowel
Syndrome Improvement Program', demonstrating 76% IBS improvement
rates, with side-effect free and long-lasting results.


 
 
     
 
 





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