What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a painful and extremely embarrassing condition, and is more common than many think. Those experiencing this condition have a variety of ongoing symptoms such as:
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping/stomach spasms
  • Passing wind a lot (farting)
  • Bloating

Some sufferers may have all the above symptoms or just a set few.  While others may alternate between regular bouts of diarrhea or regular bouts of constipation.

This condition is more common in women and the symptoms are often worse during menstrual periods. Irritable Bowel syndrome is also known as: IBS, Functional bowel syndrome, Nervous colon, Spastic colon, Irritable colon.  Irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease, nor is it contagious.

It’s thought that 20% of the population have IBS, but this cannot be confirmed due to many being too embarrassed to see a doctor about it.

There is no set test for IBS so a doctor will ask you a series of questions to determine if you have IBS or whether to run tests for other ailments. When ever your bowel habits change for periods of a few months or more, it is always best practice to see a healthcare professional to rule out any other possible condition. 

 There is NO Need to Suffer with IBS!

There are Plenty of Things You Can Do & Treatments Available…

 To Alleviate this Painful, Embarrassing Problem. 

What Causes IBS?

There is no known cause for irritable bowel syndrome. Some experts speculate:

  • Sufferers may have a glitch in their nervous systems that makes the lining of the intestines extra sensitive to the presence of certain foods or to swelling and distention.
  • Others believe that in some people, inflammation may leave the lining of the intestines more sensitive.
  • There may be a communication breakdown between the nerves and the muscles in the colon.

People affected by IBS also produce certain brain chemicals called neurohormones in higher quantities than people who don’t have IBS.  This is why some doctors prescribe IBS sufferers with low doses of antidepressants.



NOTE:  If you decide to try antidepressants for your IBS condition be sure to read this article first. Anti depressants can alter brain chemicals and cause the patient to become agitated, harm themselves, commit a violent act, murder, self harm and suicide.

  • Imbalanced Microflora – There’s a delicate balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria that occur naturally in the gut. When the bad microflora take over, they trigger a variety of digestion problems, including gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.


Over the years many health professionals have used antibiotics such as Rifaximim to alleviate IBS symptoms.  Although this treatment has helped many, the side effects of this drug can cause severe side effects in some people View here.


Can help to Eliminate the Effects of IBS.

Common Triggers of IBS

Taking steps to find out what triggers your irritable bowel problem, can help to alleviate the symptoms significantly for some.
There are no set triggers for everyone.  What triggers this condition in one person can be different for another person. The most common triggers are:
  • Stress
  • Diet (to much heavily processed food)
  • Sensitivity to some foods – (Wheat, Gluten, Starch & Dairy products are very common)
  • Eating too quickly or eating while working
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of exercise
  • Some medications
  • Imbalance of good & bad gut bacteria (Also known as microflora, microbiota, gut flora)


Tips to Work out What my Triggers Might Be

Assuming you have already been diagnosed with IBS by your health care professional, now it’s time to find out what the likely triggers are.   So now we have a list of common triggers, but trying to identify where to start can be difficult.
Here I must say there may be one, or a few things from the above list that is triggering your IBS,  and it can take a while to go through the process of elimination, particularly in the diet.  More tips to help with this Here
A good colon cleanse may be a good starting point, particularly for those that are constipated a lot. But do read all instructions first as you may find you are needing to rush to the loo more quickly, as some of the colon cleanse products out there include a harsh laxative effect that can strip the colon.
  • Have smaller meals on a frequent basis – This will help you to avoid the uncomfortable full feeling.
  • Process of elimination diet – Keep a diary on what you eliminate and what symptoms are alleviated. It’s best to try one food item at a time to get a more accurate result.

    To avoid shocking the body, gradually eat less of your chosen sample food.

    If there is no change in your symptoms once you have been completely off the sample after a few weeks – month, slowly go back onto that food.Monitor your effects through out.

    You may well find that you just need more of a balance in what you eat, rather than not being able to eat a certain food. Trying the process of elimination will give you some idea of this.

In many cases highly processed fatty of sugar filled foods lead to gut problems, so this is always a good food group to cut down on.

Many natural healthcare professionals go on the strategy, that the foods we often love and
eat a lot of, are the very foods that are the most likely to be causing the gut problems.

A dietitian may be of great help with the process of elimination diet, or you can try it on your
own if you prefer.

  • Tests to check for food allergies or food sensitivities/intolerances

NOTE:  Many professionals and writings will tell you to eat more fiber.  Whilst this may help many, it is often overlooked that some IBS sufferers are actually wheat or gluten intolerant/sensitive.  This is more common than many realize.

So for those that fall into this category, increasing fiber intake will often increase the IBS effects.  The Gluten Free Society also offer various tests for possible gluten intolerance/sensitivity.

Your healthcare professional will also be able to run a series of tests (usually blood tests) to check for foods that your body may be allergic or sensitive to.  Some other methods can be hair tests, skin prick tests.  This is well worth looking into.

In General

Eliminating stress and getting a good balance of  sleep, relaxation and exercise can also help to alleviate IBS effects.

Article written by Wen Dee:

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