General Health

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Roughly 45 million people in the U.S. struggle with irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. However, emerging irritable bowel screening and treatment options are helping patients manage the severity of symptoms that may include a combination of weight loss, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, fever, and even rectal bleeding.

Here are the most effective treatments for IBS symptoms:

1. Lifestyle changes
It is possible to successfully achieve IBS management and one of the best ways to get relief from the many symptoms is to simply make a lifestyle change or two. It is important to avoid any foods that irritate the stomach and to eat more fiber-rich foods. It is also important to get plenty of exercise and to get enough sleep every night. By simply making these few changes, many patients are better able to control the unwanted and uncomfortable symptoms of IBS.

2. Eliminate gluten
As far as food goes, it may be necessary to eliminate gluten which can be difficult to digest for patients with IBS. However, gluten is in many foods that we eat beyond mere wheat, barley, and rye products. But the good news is that there are plenty of options available to replace gluten with and so many yummy gluten-free foods to choose from. Go shopping for your favorite gluten-free versions of foods like cereals, cookies, pastas, and breads.

3. High-gas foods
Any foods that cause discomfort or gas should be avoided at all costs. These types of foods may include caffeine, raw fruit, cabbage, cauliflower, and even carbonated or alcoholic beverages. This may differ patient to patient so you may benefit from an elimination type diet to identify high gas triggers.

4. Avoid carbohydrates
Carbohydrates may also be “trigger” foods. Foods high in carbohydrates include certain grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. If we are unsure about a certain food, the only way to find out whether it will sit well with our body is to simply try it after being on a diet that restricts carbohydrates, namely fructans, lactose, and fructose.

5. IBS management
There are also a few other irritable bowel syndrome treatment options recommended by doctors, including:

  • Taking fiber supplements to help keep constipation under control.
  • Reduce stress, which can actually worsen symptoms substantially.
  • Laxatives can also help as well as anti-diarrheal medication.
  • Pain medications and certain antidepressants can also be effective.
  • Medications exclusively to treat IBS symptoms (i.e., Xifaxan and Amitiza).

Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common gastrointestinal disorder that affects as many as 10 to 15% of the world’s population. The symptoms of IBS can easily go undiagnosed since they are similar to the flu or other ailments, so it is always best to always consult with a doctor.