How Stress And Anxiety Can Aggravate Ibs Symptoms
Which came first the IBS or the anxiety? Each is known to trigger the other. Stress and anxiety are intended to be your bodys responses to danger. But todays challenges with work, school, and relationship responsibilities mean these emotional states have become more of an everyday occurrence. If you have IBS, stress and anxiety can come to rule your life.
No definitive cure exists for IBS. But there are ways you can reduce stress in your life, which can help to lessen your IBS symptoms.
Stop Unnecessary Diet Restriction
It is common for people with IBS to significantly restrict their diet when they first start to experience symptoms. It is only natural to blame the last thing you ate when you are experiencing abdominal pain, cramping, bloating or diarrhea.
However, it is essential to remember that there are a variety of things that can trigger IBS symptoms such as stress, hormonal changes, or simply eating a large meal. When you significantly restrict your diet to only foods that you feel are “safe,” you run the risk of nutritional deficiency.
A similar risk of excessive restriction can occur if you are following the low-FODMAP diet. The diet is not intended to be followed long-term as many foods with higher FODMAP levels can be quite good for you.
Working with a qualified dietary professional can help you to identify the FODMAPs that are problematic for you. On the low-FODMAP diet, it is also important to periodically re-introduce problematic FODMAPs to see if your tolerance has improved.
Changes You Should Not Ignore If You Have Ibs
Is it common for IBS symptoms to return after a person has been symptom-free for over a year?
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can be hard to manage. Symptom episodes may continue to interfere with normal activities well after an initial diagnosis and treatment. That can be discouraging and a cause of worry. Its reassuring to know that having IBS does not put you at an increased risk of developing other digestive disorders or diseases. However, the overlap is possible.
Don’t Miss: Align Probiotic Resistance Formula
Can Alcohol Cause Or Worsen Ibs
Research suggests that alcohol can worsen an already-existing diagnosis of IBS or bring about symptoms of IBS after a period of drinking.3,4,5,6 Whether alcohol can cause IBS to develop in a person who formally did not have an IBS diagnosis is still up for debate, and various studies need to be conducted to determine whether alcohol use can, indeed, cause IBS.3,4
Taking Medications That Cause Constipation Or Diarrhea
If you feel like your IBS symptoms are suddenly flaring, think about any medications youve taken recently. Some medicines appear to make IBS symptoms worse in some people.
If you have IBS, its a good idea to check any medication before you take it to see whether diarrhea or constipation are one of the possible side effects. Anything that causes a transient worsening of diarrhea or constipation is certainly something that can make IBS symptoms worse, James L. Buxbaum, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine specializing in gastroenterology at Keck School of Medicine in the University of Southern California, tells SELF. Thats not to say you shouldnt take a drug if you need it. For example, constipation and diarrhea are common side effects of chemotherapy drugs. But talk to your doctor to weigh the cost versus the benefit before taking a medication if youre concerned about your IBS.
Read Also: Can Multivitamins Cause Blood In Stool
What Causes An Ibs Flare Up
It’s unclear what causes episodes of IBS symptoms, but several studies have shown the following factors may play a part in IBS flare-ups:
- Eating âtriggerâ foods: High FODMAPs foods may cause IBS symptoms.
- Stress: both short and long-term stress, for example from situations at work or in life in general, can increase gut problems.
- Gastrointestinal infection: Especially in severe cases, gut infections have been shown to trigger IBS symptoms.
- Psychological condition: anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder can all bring on an IBS flare-up.
How Ibs Impacts Daily Life
When the symptoms of IBS are mild, they do not interfere with activities of daily life. When they are severe, they may limit activities because of the pain or the need to go to the bathroom. Patients with IBS and diarrhea need to be constantly aware of the location of the nearest bathroom. Patients even may avoid going out socially to avoid the embarrassment of frequently going to the bathroom.
Read Also: Vsl3 Probiotics Side Effects
Ruling Out Other Conditions
Many cases of IBS can be diagnosed based on your symptoms alone. Sometimes further tests may be needed to check for other possible causes.
A sample of your stools will also often be tested for the presence of a substance called calprotectin. This substance is produced by the gut when its inflamed. Its presence in your stools could mean your symptoms are being caused by inflammatory bowel disease .
Looking To The Future
You can permanently cure IBS by addressing the underlying cause. Here at PrimeHealth, our patients prove this is true.
10-year IBS patients have come through our door. Nothing worked for them. Then, we identified the root cause and prescribed a relatively short-term treatment for that issue. Within a few months, this 10-year affliction that mainstream doctors couldnt fix had disappeared.
If you live in the greater Denver area, to learn about our science-based approach to treating IBS. Or schedule a free phone consultation with us today from anywhere in the world!
Medically reviewed by Soyona Rafatjah, MD. on August 15, 2020
You May Like: Can A Kidney Infection Cause Bloating
Living Well While Aging With Ibs
Most people with IBS deal with it for a lifetime. Find out how aging with IBS means finding ways to identify your triggers and control your symptoms over time.
Unlike some childhood ailments, irritable bowel syndrome isn’t something you grow out of. But, you can find ways to better live with the condition, often called IBS. It’s considered a functional digestion disorder, meaning the symptoms of IBS are caused by changes in how your digestive system functions, not by a disease of the digestive system. Unlike inflammatory bowel disease , IBS does not cause bleeding, swelling, or damage to your digestive system.
IBS is extraordinarily common in fact, it is one of the most common complaints seen by doctors,” said David Bernstein, MD, chairman of the department of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. “It includes a wide range of symptoms like bloating, pain, constipation, and diarrhea. People with IBS have different triggers and different symptoms. The good news is that lifestyle changes, diet modifications, and medications can usually control the symptoms, and IBS does not lead to serious problems.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have IBS symptoms, ask your provider:
- Could another condition be causing my symptoms?
- What medications can help?
- What foods should I avoid?
- What other lifestyle changes should I make?
- Can a dietitian help me?
- Should I see a gastroenterologist?
- When will I start to feel better?
- Am I at risk for other health conditions?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Living with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can be challenging. IBS symptoms, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, gas and bloating, often interfere with your life. But IBS is manageable. Though there is no cure, you can control and improve symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. If you have stomach symptoms that arent going away, talk to your healthcare provider. Together, you can find an IBS treatment plan that works for you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/24/2020.
Read Also: Is Tramadol Hard On The Stomach
Ibs In Childhood And In Aging
Although IBS is most common in young women, it’s being increasingly recognized in children,” Dr. Bernstein said. “It is also a common senior health issue for people in their seventies and eighties. Symptoms can come and go unpredictably, and many people have IBS for a lifetime.”
IBS may affect up to 20 percent of the population. It usually starts before age 45 and affects twice as many women as men. A 2013 study that evaluated 345 children between ages 4 and 18 found that just under 23 percent of children had symptoms of IBS. The most common symptoms were constipation, back pain, headache, and fatigue. The study was published in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.
Although it has been assumed that IBS decreases with aging, experts estimated that about 10 percent of elderly people are affected. A 2008 review of IBS in older patients, published in the journal Clinical Geriatrics, found that the incidence in the elderly was about the same as in other age groups.
How Can I Control Ibs
It may be frustrating trying to get a handle on IBS. Treatment can often be trial and error. But the good news is that nearly everyone with IBS can find a treatment that helps them.
Usually, diet and activity changes improve symptoms over time. You may need some patience as you figure out your triggers so you can take steps to avoid them. But after a few weeks or months, you should notice significant improvement in how you feel. A nutritionist can help you plan a healthy, filling diet that meets your needs.
Recommended Reading: What Does It Mean If I Have Lactoferrin In My Stool
Ibs Flare Up Symptoms
Some people will experience IBS on a daily basis, while others can go long periods of time without symptoms. An IBS flare up means that you are experiencing a sudden increase in IBS symptoms over a period of time. So what does an IBS flare up feel like? Common symptoms of an IBS attack can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Feelings of anxiety or depression
Do More People Have Ibs Than Ever Before
This is a super pervasive condition. Two in 10 people in the UK are living with some form of IBS. So, what gives? Well, historically no one wanted to share details about bowels, so data on how many have it was an issue so it is possible that there are just as many cases now as there were decade ago, but we’re just more open now.
But it’s also likely that our lifestyles are making instances spiral. More people are stressed , social media might weigh on our minds and make us feel more self-conscious, we sit down a lot.
Plus, if you’ve had a lot of antibiotics or have had a gut infection in the past, you’re at risk of it developing, thanks to how these two factors can play with the balance of bacteria in your gut
Cut through the noise and get practical, expert advice, home workouts, easy nutrition and more direct to your inbox. Sign up to the WOMEN’S HEALTH NEWSLETTER
Read Also: Food Poisoning Cause Constipation
Signs Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The symptoms of IBS can be embarrassing, but you don’t have to suffer in silence. IBS is more common than you think, especially in women under age 45. Up to one in five adults in the United States experiences irritable bowel syndrome at some point in their lives. Could you be one of them?
Eating Foods That Disagree With You
Given that IBS affects the gut, it makes sense that eating certain foods can exacerbate symptoms. However, as with most things related to IBS, the ones that aggravate you can be different from the ones that set off another persons symptoms. I would say that there are a number of classic triggers, but not everyone falls into them, Poppers says.
Many of those classic triggers, he says, fall under the umbrella of fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols . These are short-chain carbohydrates that are hard to digest and poorly absorbed, leading to excessive gas and fluid, which can cause bloating and pain. Examples include:
Recommended Reading: Side Effects Of Heartburn Meds
Ibs And Alcohol Use Disorders
A handful of studies have investigated the relationship between IBS and alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorders. A 1998 research study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse compared 31 patients seeking treatment for alcohol abuse with 40 patients seeking treatment for other medical conditions.3 A total of 13 individuals seeking treatment for alcohol abuse met the criteria for IBS, whereas only one of the other 40 patients seeking treatment for other medical conditions met the criteria for IBS. The researchers concluded that individuals who abuse alcohol may have high rates of IBS. However, the study could not make any type of causal determination, such that having IBS leads people to drink more or that individuals who drink alcohol at significantly higher rates were more likely to suffer from the symptoms of IBS.3
Thus, the general conclusion made by the researchers in these studies is that individuals with alcohol use disorders or who drink alcohol heavily are more likely to experience symptoms related to IBS. Individuals who already have IBS typically do not begin drinking alcohol at moderate to heavy levels.
What Would You Risk For An Irritable Bowel Syndrome Cure
April marks another Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month in Canada. Affecting 13-20% of the population, this diverse condition can have a drastic impact on a persons life. How drastic, you ask? Enough that many patients say they would even risk death for a chance at a cure, according to a surprising study published last summer by The American Journal of Gastroenterology.1
Despite decades of research, there is still no cure for IBS, which is a chronic condition for most diagnosed individuals, frustrating both patients and physicians. Health care providers offer individualized treatments for the varied symptoms associated with IBS, which include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Some individuals respond well to treatments, while for others, IBS is an ongoing battle against relentless symptoms.
The Ibs Buzzword: Fodmaps
The hot topic in flare-ups for irritable bowel syndrome is a group of poorly digested sugars and fibers called FODMAPs. The most common food sources of FODMAPs are wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes, dairy products, honey, apples, watermelons, peaches, apricots, blackberries, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. These molecules are digested by gut bacteria, which produce gas and bloating. It’s worth it to reduce these foods to see if your symptoms improve.
Increasing evidence, including a study in the January 2014 Gastroenterology, shows that a diet low in FODMAPs helps to tame IBS symptoms. “I’ve definitely seen this work. In fact, I’ve been using it to help people for a long time,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Other research shows that FODMAPs may even be the reason why diets low in gluten help relieve symptoms of people who believe they have gluten sensitivitydigestive problems triggered by gluten, a protein found in some whole grains such as barley, rye, and wheat.
Unfortunately, some of the foods that are high in FODMAPslike many fruits and vegetablesalso contain health-promoting chemicals. That’s why it’s best to work with a dietician to develop a low-FODMAP menu that fits your lifestyle.
Best Ways To Battle Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Get to know your triggers and ways to prevent flare-ups.
|Images: Thinkstock Irritable bowel syndrome may be due to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine or nerve problems.|
Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation are tough to handle at any time. But if a combination of these symptoms occurs over three or more months, you may have a condition called irritable bowel syndrome . It’s the most common diagnosis made by gastroenterologists, accounting for as many as 3.5 million physician visits per year. “I see someone with this condition every day,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Recommended Reading: Kidney Disease And Bloating Stomach
Ibs Treatment: Peppermint Oil
The intestine is made up of a type of muscle called smooth muscle. One of the most potent relaxers of smooth muscle is peppermint oil. For patients with IBS, peppermint oil is worth trying to relieve symptoms like pain, constipation and/or gas. It must be natural peppermint oil since synthetic peppermint oil will not work. Peppermint oil may be taken as a candy that is sucked or as an enteric-coated capsule. Before taking peppermint oil, however, you should check with your doctor.
Why Do Doctors Say Ibs Has No Cure
Conventional medicine does not know how to classify or discuss diseases that can start from completely separate causes. Because the exact same IBS symptoms can be triggered by a dozen different root causes, there is not one single treatment for IBS there are a dozen.
With a dozen IBS treatments that work in different IBS patients, conventional doctors say there is no cure.
Its the same with hypothyroidism, which can be triggered by several different underlying causes. Since there are multiple treatments for hypothoyroid patients with the same diagnosis, conventional doctors say there is no cure for hypothyroidism.
You May Like: Align Kids Probiotic