Chen Ben Asher – Functional Nutrition – Silicon Valley – IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS affects mostly women. There can be different causes for it, but many of them are still unknown. If a person feels that something might be wrong in the abdominal area, he should contact doctor but also know a bit more about IBS will be in handy.

IBS is a disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). The most common causes are “cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.”[1] Despite that this disease isn’t that complex to cause changes in bowel tissue or increase a risk of cancer, it still requires a long-term solution. Several symptoms can be controlled and managed with changes in lifestyle, diet, and stress. Additionally, also, medication should be used.

Symptoms of IBS (varies widely among each person, resemble some other diseases):

  • Camping and abdominal pain
  • A bloated feeling
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Mucus in the stool1

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Because IBS is a chronic condition, these most common and other symptoms can be less or more intensified. Sometimes they can fully disappear and then return again. It is worth seeing a doctor when there is this kind of or, even more, severe symptoms. Additionally, there can be weight loss, rectal bleeding, and others.

Causes of IBS

There are numerous factors that can lead to IBS, and the most common cause isn’t known yet. As one of the cause can be abnormalities that occur in the gastrointestinal, nervous system. If there is poor coordination between signals in the brain and intestines, it can make a boy overreact to the changes that occur regarding digestion. This leads to pain, diarrhea, and constipation. The most common triggers for IBS are foods, stress, hormones, and other illnesses.

Regarding foods, the biggest impact is food allergy or intolerance. It is proved that for some people symptoms increase when they eat some specific food. These foods can be wide in range like spices, fats, chocolate, cabbage, beans, fruits, cauliflower, milk, broccoli, carbonated beverages and alcohol as just a few of them. Frequent stress is also a trigger for IBS. It also increases the signs and symptoms. Also, hormonal changes play a role in connection with IBS.

Many women have also admitted that signs and symptoms of this disease have been more intense during their period. In some cases also, some other illnesses can lead to IBS. One of those is an acute infectious diarrhea (gastroenteritis). It can also be too many bacteria in the intestines or more medically called bacterial overgrowth as a trigger.

Tests and diagnosis of IBS

A doctor will ask for a detailed history. Further, it is preceded by a more detailed examination. Further tests might be performed. To examine the lower part of the colon can be used flexible sigmoidoscopy. It involves using lightened tube. To examine the entire length of the colon, especially for those who are at least 50 years or older, in many cases, it chooses n to use colonoscopy. For obtaining images of the colon can be used X-ray (radiography) or computerized tomography (CT) scan. Other tests are lactose intolerance, blood, and stool tests.


Because it is not fully clear the reason of IBS, treatment mainly focuses on the relief of symptoms. Sometimes it is enough to limit stress, have changes in diet and overall lifestyle. It is needed to have enough exercises as well as a lot of fluids and enough sleep. If the symptoms are more severe, also medicaments can be prescribed.

Some of the suggested dietary changes:
  • Elimination of high gas foods. It might include cut out of carbonated beverages and even vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and raw fruits.
  • Elimination of gluten. It includes eating wheat, rye and barely. This is proved to be especially helpful for those who suffer from diarrhea symptoms.
  • Elimination of FODMAPs. FODMAPs is an abbreviation of “fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols”[2] It is especially important for people who are sensitive to carbohydrates like fructose, lactose, fructans and others.
Medications for IBS:
  • Fiber supplements like psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) can help to control constipation. If fiber doesn’t help, doctors might prescribe osmotic laxative kike milk of magnesia or polyethylene glycol.
  • Anti-diarrheal medications that include numerous medications like loperamide (Imodium). It might help to deal with diarrhea.
  • Anticholinergic and antispasmodic medications like hyoscyamine (Levsin) and dicyclomine (Bentyl). They help to deal with painful bowel spasms.
  • They are used in case of pain or depression. A doctor can prescribe also or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that relieves the depression as well as control the intestines with enhanced activity of neurons.
  • Antibiotics that can be useful when dealing with overgrowth bacteria in their intestines.
  • Counseling is used in case of depression or stress.

It is also possible to find home remedies like herbs that can lower the symptoms. One of the most popular natural herbs is peppermint. It relieves IBS. The best way how to take it is with enteric-coated capsules. For some other people also STW5 (Iberogast), which is a blend of herbs has shown their benefices. More alternative methods include acupuncture and hypnosis. Hypnosis is especially useful to reduce the pain and to bloat at the same time also relax the abdominal muscles.

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IBS has been increased problem for various people of any age. The cause of it is still not clear, but various remedies are available to reduce its symptoms. Some of them can also be found at home but to use any of those, it is suggested to consult a professional doctor who would find the best solution to each particular case. IBS requires changes in diet, activities and overall eating to lower the pain and other abnormalities that it causes. Nowadays there are also numerous medical solutions that can help for anyone to live healthily and eliminate symptoms so that they wouldn’t suddenly appear with a strong force.



[1] Definition. Accessed from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/basics/definition/CON-20024578rel=”nofollow”

[2] Treatments and Drugs. Accessed from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/basics/treatment/con-20024578rel=”nofollow”

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