Irritable Bowel Syndome: The Most Common Condition No-One Is Talking About
Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that a lot of people have trouble talking about. That’s despite the sheer prevalence of it. Worldwide, it’s estimated around 15% of the population suffer from it. It affects between 25 to 45 million in the US alone. 2 out of every 3 of those millions will be women. So if you’re worried you might be suffering from it, or you’re wondering what to do about it, keep reading.
The truth is that irritable bowel syndrome isn’t fully understood from a causal point. It can be hard to pinpoint the turning point that sees someone suffering from it. But there are matters of genetic predisposition which can increase your chances. Previous experiences like infection or trauma can play a big role, too. Even mental factors can play a big role in seeing the beginning of IBS. The brain and the gut are connected. If something happens to that connection, your regular control of your bowels can be compromised. IBS as a result of chronic stress is not uncommon.
Like the causes, the symptoms of IBS can be wide ranging. They can be mildly discomforting to debilitatingly painful. A doctor’s opinion is needed to diagnose IBS but you should get checked out if you suffer any of the following symptoms. Symptoms like common abdominal cramps that are relieved when you go to the toilet. Bloating. Frequent diarrhea or constipation. A lot of these symptoms pop up in daily life from time to time for a lot of people. If they’re becoming more frequent, you need to get it checked out.
When it comes to the bowels, prevention is often the only truly effective form of treatment. Even then, it’s not always going to work. The causes aren’t entirely known so they can’t entirely be prevented. You can, however, limit your risk significantly. Practicing healthy living, including exercise and diet is going to significantly impact your chances. As will avoiding stress. IBS has been linked to microbial presence in the stomach as well, so there is plenty of benefit to making probiotic drinks a part of your regular diet. It has also been shown that heavy alcohol drinkers are at more risk.
Dealing with incontinence
One of the issues that can come along with more severe irritable bowel syndrome is incontinence. To many, this problem is an embarrassing one which means that it doesn’t get talked about much at all. Incontinence pads from Procter Health Care and similar providers can help. With these, you deal with incontinence as discreetly as possible. Pelvic floor muscle exercises help some to treat incontinence caused by weakness in pelvic floor muscles, too. As this muscle weakness can have a compound effect with IBS, especially after pregnancy, it’s worth seeing if they can help you.
Bringing it up
Issues to do with the bowels are always treated as something of a taboo subject in our society. It’s normal to feel nervous when you first start talking about IBS. Many people avoid the subject when questioned on eating and other habits. Some people use phrases like ‘digestion problems’ or ‘cramps’, if they feel uncomfortable talking about IBS in detail. It’s important to remember that around 15% of the population suffers to very similar problems as well. If you suffer from IBS, you’re not likely to be the first sufferer that anyone encounters. So you don’t have to feel like you’re stuck on your own.
Addressing your confidence
The truth is that, despite the prevalence of IBS, many people still take a knock on their self-esteem when they’re dealing with it. If your body doesn’t function the way you would like it to, it can affect your self-worth. It can even make you hesitant in making plans or leaving the home for long periods of time. You need to reframe how you think about yourself. Focus on what you can do. Address the negative filter that tends to add a negative bias on most of our thoughts of ourselves.
IBS is a condition without a specific cure. After all, it’s a term that comes along with a lot of chronic or recurrent symptoms. Not just one disease. But there is a lot that you can do to treat your symptoms, making the condition a lot more manageable. Consider medications like fibre supplements and anti-diarrheal tablets. These can help you deal with the immediate symptoms. Alosetron is another medication that can slow the movement of waste in the colon. However, it is only prescribed in certain, very serious cases where other measures don’t help to manage the symptoms. You need to talk to your doctor and find which treatment is right for you.
Avoiding those trigger foods
Your lifestyle and changes you can make to it can also have a huge effect on the prevalence of your symptoms. Perhaps most important is that of healthy eating. Most people have trouble dealing with gluten to some degree. When it comes to IBS, you might want to avoid it as best you can. A high-fibre diet, with lots of fruits and veg, beans and whole grains, can work a lot better. Staying hydrated is another important factor in ensuring the best digestion you can.
The matter of stress
As we said prior, the head and the gut are intricately linked. Stress on one can easily manifest as stress in the other. If you want to manage IBS, it’s important that you avoid high-stress situations. It’s also important to know the effect IBS can have on your mental health. Issues of self-esteem can grow into chronic stress, depression, and anxiety. If you’re feeling these mental states commonly, don’t neglect to mention them to your doctor. They, too, can be treated. As IBS is a lifelong condition, it’s important that you target every way that it affects your life.
IBS is an unpredictable and varied condition. If you’re worried about it, you need to see a healthcare professional. Only they can diagnose it or help you craft a specific prevention plan.