Studies show that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects as much as 25% of the population, but the number could be even higher when you take note of people who don’t talk to their doctors to get help managing the condition. IBS’s symptoms can be embarrassing for some to talk about, but it’s important to push past that in order to gain control over your life.
With so many people suffering from the gastronomical woes of IBS, it’s no wonder that there are quite a few possible causes (although none are confirmed through medical research as the definitive source). These include intestinal muscle dysfunction, malfunctions in the nervous system, intestinal inflammation, a previous gastrointestinal infection, or an improper balance of gut bacteria.
These causes make a lot of sense when you think about the triggers that cause IBS symptoms to ignite, which include food, stress, and hormones – all of which play a large rule in the general functionality of all bodily systems, including the digestive system.
If you’re suffering from the symptoms of IBS, including diarrhea and/or constipation, cramping, gassiness, bloating, changes in stool, weight loss, or other related issues, there are ways you can improve your life by changing your lifestyle.
Three Ways to Get Help
- Get a Proper Diagnosis: Abdominal pain can be caused by many conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis to rule out other ailments. You may need to undergo testing. Remain patient as you and your doctor determine the root cause of your pain.
- Ask for a Referral to a Registered Dietician: It’s imperative that you learn to cater your meals to your body’s needs. A registered dietician can help create a plan that ensures you’re getting the nutrients you need while avoiding foods that are known to trigger IBS symptoms.
- Consider Therapy: Stress plays a large role in the heightened symptoms of IBS. If you find yourself overly anxious or stressed, it’s a good time to seek out a mental health worker who can help you manage those emotions in healthy ways.
Three Ways to Help Yourself
- Keep a Diary: Everyone is different, so some people may find their IBS is triggered by some environmental factor while others do not. Start keeping track of your daily activities, including exercise, food intake, and activities. Additionally, check in with yourself multiple times per day, and note your symptoms. This can help you figure out your unique triggers and adjust. There are apps, like Cara, that can help you achieve this without a pen and paper.
- Take Your Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications to help reduce your symptoms. Take them as directed, and talk to your doctor before discontinuing use.
- Find Your Stress-Buster: It’s important to combat stress, whether you have IBS or not. Find activities that help you do that, like running or walking, yoga, meditation, or other healthy stress relievers. Also, plan ahead when it comes to events that you know will cause you stress. For example, if dinner with the in-laws worsens your symptoms, meditate for a few minutes before and after to try to soothe those stresses.
To start your IBS symptom-free lifestyle, make your appointment with Premier Pain & Spine today.