What Is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome also known as spastic colon, irritable colon, mucous colitis and spastic colon is a group of intestinal symptoms that generally occur together. Symptoms can vary from person to person but in order to be classified as IBS they must last for at least three months with at least three days per month. Although IBS can cause intestinal damage, it is rare and it cannot increase your risk of gastrointestinal cancers. This syndrome is estimated to affect three to twenty percent of Americans, most of them being women, although the reason for this is not known. This article is going to take a closer look at IBS to learn everything you need to know about this syndrome and how to manage it.

Symptoms of IBS in Men and Women

General symptoms of IBS in men and women generally include cramping, abdominal pain, gas and bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea. The degrees of each symptom can vary in severity and how long they last. Symptoms are not always persistent. They can go away for a while then suddenly reappear in full force. For women, symptoms will generally occur around the time of menstruation. Pregnant women also report increased symptoms throughout pregnancy. Men have similar symptoms as women although fewer men will report their symptoms or get treatment.

At Home Treatment for IBS

Although there is no known cure for IBS, there are various things you can try to improve your symptoms. Patients experiencing IBS have reported that maintaining a regular exercise routine has helped regulate their digestive system and has reduce their symptoms. Other practices that patients with IBS have reported to help alleviate symptoms include:

  • Cutting out caffeinated beverages that irritate the intestines.
  • Eating smaller, frequent meals.
  • Cutting out spicy and fried foods.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Taking probiotics.

Talk to your doctor about the best route of treatment for you.

Foods to Avoid With IBS

  • Dairy – humans are the only species that consume milk past infancy. It is a genetic mutation that humans are able to digest dairy passed the age of five, although many are not able. Eating dairy can amplify symptoms of IBS in patients who have been diagnosed with it. Lactose is often the first food group that doctors recommend cutting out if you are experiencing IBS. With veganism on the rise, there are many dairy alternatives available on the market.
  • Beans and Legumes – contain carbohydrates that are harder to digest because the type of sugar is not absorbed easily by the body. Many people do not produce enough of the enzyme needed to digest beans which means they will oftentimes be left in the intestines to rot and be overcome with bacteria which can launch the digestive tract into distress.
  • Fructose – fructose malabsorption is a digestive disorder in which a person does not have the necessary fructose carries to properly absorb fructose. Fruits with high levels of fructose include apples, pears, watermelon, fruit juice and dried fruits. Good, lower fructose fruits include fruits like bananas blueberries, strawberries, grapes and cantaloupe.

If you can relate to the symptoms of IBS, make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor to verify the diagnosis and to come up with a good plan to get your symptoms under control.