What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome
One person in three occasionally has an “irritable” bowel. This means that they have some combination of stomach ache (usually eased by emptying the bowels or passing gas); constipation, diarrhea (especially in the early morning), or alternating diarrhea and constipation; mucus in the faces; a feeling that the bowels are never empty; and gas are bloating for hours after eating. Diarrhea, constipation, and pain partly result from poor coordination of muscle contractions of the bowel wall which prevents food passing through smoothly; pain also results from an unusual sensitivity of the bowel nerves to stretching.
One in five people with an irritable bowel has frequent attacks and is said to have the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from IBS. Their bowels react adversely to one or more of certain triggers, such as stress, gastroenteritis, smoking, antibiotics, certain foods, changing hormone levels, excessive exercise and pelvic surgery.
The three types of IBS have rather unfortunate names. “Spastic colon” causes all the above symptoms. “Functional diarrhea” particularly causes diarrhea with an urgent desire to open the bowels. “Primary foregut motility disorder” (also known as the pain/bloat/gas type of IBS) causes right-sided stomach ache, bad bloating and gas.
People with IBS are more prone to headaches, tiredness and depression. They may also sometimes have pain in the back or thighs, heavy or painful periods, pain during sex and a frequent or urgent need to pass water.
How to Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Take regular whole-body exercise to reduce your stress level. Moving your body also encourages good digestion by “massaging” your intestines.
Food and Drink: Counteract indigestion and avoid foods that upset you (such as dairy foods, starches or alcohol). If you suspect food sensitivity, go on a food-elimination diet. Avoid added bran and cut down on coffee, tea and cola.
Stress management: Choose and practice effective stress-management strategies. Some people find massage with relaxation- inducing essential oils, meditation or yoga exercise useful. Breathing exercise and muscle relaxation can help. And incorporating and Alexander technique into your movements may ease the nervous tension that often accompanies IBS.
Herbal remedies: Help relax your intestines by drinking peppermint, chamomile or ginger tea after eating.
Flower remedies: the process of choosing appropriate Batch flower remedies helps you identify any difficult feeling and find ways of dealing with them.
Hydrotherapy: Take a daily hot sits bath to ease painful spasms.