Living with IBS: Tips for Managing Symptoms Without Medication
Living with irritable bowel syndrome is no easy feat, but there are things you can do to manage the situation and live a normal life. There is no cure for this condition, and at times, it can be miserable to deal with. It seems that certain foods are triggers for the inflammation in the bowel. Rather than taking medications, which come with their own plethora of problems; diet and lifestyle modifications seems to work best.
Having IBS requires a team of support during flare-ups. It’s very easy to have anxiety and even depression over the situation. Eating in public may become a thing of the past, as fears of an upset linger. Some even have panic attacks over the mere thought of an incident where they may be too far from a restroom. However, studies are showing that you can effectively manage IBS by simply changing what you eat.
A Change in Diet
Researchers show that there are more than two-thirds of people who claim that certain foods irritate their IBS. Though there are no clear-cut guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t eat, you will soon learn foods that irritate your stomach. Within the past five years, the connection with diet and IBS has become more understood. Doctors predominantly recommend drugs, but more progress can be made with diet according to studies. The most common complaints are foods that have lactose and fructose. Things to avoid would be anything dairy, as well as those that have high-fructose corn syrup, and the oh so popular sugar-free candies. By watching bowel patterns, it’s easy to discover what foods are irritants.
Who doesn’t need to lower stress these days? Stress and IBS have a common component. Stress tends to make IBS worse. There are many therapy techniques that are being used to treat IBS. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one method that is allowing people to conquer their stress and live more harmoniously. IBS-friendly foods are one leg of the battle, but dealing with the stress is another. Some doctors are asking patients to see a therapist to treat their IBS, but that doesn’t mean that they think they are psychologically unbalanced. They just know that by treating the stress factors their condition improves.
When you have IBS, it seems that quality sleep is harder to come by. Not getting enough sleep, or enough quality sleep can cause IBS symptoms to be affected. In 2010, a study was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. They found that nurses who work a swing shift pattern had the highest occurrences of IBS. They believe it had a big part to do with the fact that their sleep schedule was lacking and inconsistent. When the circadian rhythms are off, a person’s whole body feels the effects. GI symptoms are directly linked to the body’s lack of sleep.
Maintaining a good weight is another concern. Those who are overweight seem to have a higher occurrence with IBS than those who maintain a reasonable weight. Exercise is the key to keeping the weight in check. Diet tends to improve bowel habits anyway, when paralleled with exercise; it only increased a person chance of handling their IBS effectively. There is a direct correlation between weight, diet, sleep and overall lifestyle. The bowels are affected and become stressed when introduced to the wrong foods and not getting enough exercise to keep weight under control.
Living With IBS
IBS is a common condition that affects more than 45 million people in the United States alone. Though there is no cure for this uncomfortable condition, there are management techniques that have proven to be more help than medications.