Common Medical Treatments For Ibs
Since the exact cause of IBS is not known, the goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms. If diet and lifestyle changes donât improve your symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend IBS medications. Some common medications include:
- IBS medications: Some medications can help with IBS by either slowing the movement of material through the bowel to reduce diarrhea or by increasing fluid production in the small intestine to reduce constipation. Alosetron or Lubiprostone are two common IBS medications.
- Antispasmodics: These are designed to relax the smooth muscles of the colon to ease cramping and spasms. Two such medications are hyoscine and dicyclomine . They may cause side effects that include dry mouth, palpitations, and difficulty urinating.
- Antidiarrheals: These medications can be useful in treating severe diarrhea. But they should be taken with cautionâ antidiarrheals may have side effects such as nausea and vomiting and should be taken under close supervision. Loperamide is an example of an Antidiarrheal medication.
- Antidepressant medications: Certain antidepressants can help relieve diarrhea and constipation and may treat pain in IBS. They are often prescribed in lower doses for IBS than for depression. Antidepressants for IBS should be taken under supervision as side effects can include insomnia, nausea, and weight gain or loss. Some tricyclic antidepressants used for IBS include imipramine and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram .
How To Manage Post
Returning to the office and more frequent socializing may pose unique challenges for people with irritable bowel syndrome. Heres how to cope.
When Elena Dyulgerova lost her job as a chef in December 2020 during the pandemic, the stress threw a curveball into her ability to manage her irritable bowel syndrome .
The grueling hours that came with working at the Middle Easterninspired cafe in Warwickshire, England, and constantly needing to test the food she prepared already made her symptoms difficult to control. But facing income loss and unemployment exacerbated her abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The stress of the pandemic triggered my IBS symptoms, and then when I lost my job, that caused more stress, which led to more flare-ups, Dyulgerova, 24, says. I also binged on food, especially food that was very processed and not good for my IBS.
Dyulgerovas experience is not an uncommon one.
Research published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology looking at the impact of the pandemic on people with IBS and found that 92 percent of patients reported increased stress and nearly half said they experienced worsening IBS symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
Tip : Relax Progressively
Another stress soother is called progressive relaxation, or Jacobsons relaxation technique. Relaxing the muscles in your body can help alleviate an upset stomach.
To use this form of relaxation, start by tensing and then relaxing the muscles in your feet. Then move your way up through your calves, thighs, abdomen, arms, and each main muscle group in your body, ending with your face and scalp. Concentrate on releasing all of the tension in each body part as you go.
Some people also have trouble with dairy. You can try substituting yogurt for milk, or decreasing the quantity of dairy products you consume. Other things that might work are breaking down lactose with an enzyme product, or combining dairy with other foods.
While drinking enough fluids each day helps IBS symptoms, not all fluids have the same effect on your stomach. Water soothes stomach distress, but several other beverages can cause problems, including:
- alcoholic drinks
- coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks
- carbonated drinks like soda
Alcohol and drinks with caffeine may make diarrhea worse. Soda and other drinks with carbonation can cause gas.
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Bring Meal Prep Into Your Everyday
If preparing your own meals has significantly decreased IBS symptoms, she advises spending extra time meal prepping each week and packing your meals and snacks for the office.
This is something Dyulgerova has greatly benefited from. She now works in an office as a nutrition assistant.
I found myself managing my IBS symptoms 100 percent better since I started working in an office, she says. I tend to bring my own food prepared at home for lunch and snacks, that I know won’t trigger my IBS.
Bonus Step Five: Speak To An Expert
The wide variety of symptoms and causes means that it can be difficult to recommend a single approach. Instead its best to have a plan tailored to your specific needs. Im always happy to discuss your particular circumstances with a free consultation to work with you and understand your exact circumstances.
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What Causes Ibs Flare Ups
An IBS flare up can last anywhere from a few hours to months. Some things that may cause a flare up are stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Eating trigger foods or FODMAPs can also cause IBS flare ups.
A gastrointestinal infection may also cause IBS flare ups and worsen the other symptoms.
There are quite a few typical symptoms of an IBS flare up, which include:
Bloating or swelling of the abdomen.
Anxiety or depression.
What Is The Outlook
IBS usually causes symptoms long-term and often stays with you for the rest of your life. However, the symptoms tend to come and go. You may have long spells without any symptoms, or may have only mild symptoms. Treatment can often help to ease symptoms when they flare up. IBS often improves with time and, in some cases, symptoms clear up for good at some stage.
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Stress Damages The Body
Stress affects the gastrointestinal tract in several important ways.
First, it affects the central nervous system by turning the volume up on all the sensations that are there, explains Stephen E. Lupe, PsyD, a gastrointestinal psychologist and director of behavioral medicine in the department of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Stress also activates the bodys fight or flight response. When this happens, the body redirects blood flow away from the gut, slowing down digestion, so energy can be diverted to the perceived threat.
With pandemic-related stress, there was a lot of fight-or-flight on top of chronic stress that is naturally there, Lupe says. People that I work with who have IBS are the first ones to tell me that when theyre under stress, their gut feels worse. We saw a lot of that happening during the pandemic.
Foods To Avoid With Ibs
These foods commonly spark a cascade of symptoms for people with irritable bowel syndrome:
- High-fiber products, found in cereals, grains, pastas and processed foods
- Gas-producing foods, like beans, lentils, carbonated beverages and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower
- Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and many processed foods
- Fried foods, which often cause gas and bloating especially in those who have reflux
- Coffee, which stimulates bowel activity in some who have reflux symptoms
- Spicy foods, which can worsen IBS symptoms for some people who contend with reflux
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Make Sure Youre Taking Care Of Yourself
Every person with IBD is different. Some people thrive with fruits and vegetables, while others cant handle them at all. But while youre in a flare, its important that you nourish your body, that youre eating and drinking enough, and looking after yourself.
Dont let yourself go hungry, and dont let yourself get dehydrated. Even if you can only eat in small amounts, do try to eat what you can you need all the energy you can get right now.
If youre really struggling to keep down fluids, its important that you go to the hospital and ask for fluids so that you can rehydrate your body. Its also a good idea to ask your doctor whether there are any nutritional drinks that would suit you, to help you maintain your weight and absorb calories.
Tips For Avoiding Ibs Flare
No one wants to have irritable bowel syndrome , but if you take some preventive measures, you may be able to avoid it. Stress, anxiety, or eating and drinking the wrong things can cause digestive problems. You can find long-term solutions by making some simple changes in how you respond to stress and paying attention to your diet, nutrition, and lifestyle.
Take a look at these seven tips to keep your flare-ups at bay.
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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.
Characteristics Of Spasms And Ibs
- Abdominal pain which is often spasmodic is typical of IBS. Cramping can be mild or severe. The spasms most often originate in the lower abdomen. Spasms can be at times so severe that people double over in pain and become temporarily incapacitated.
- Changes in bowel habits accompany spasms. The cramps may cause diarrhea and constipation. Some people intermittently suffer from both. Stools may be loose or hard. They may be small or large. Mucus-filled stools are common.
- Bloating and gas may occur. Spasms can create pressure in the rectal area, which may make embarrassment and discomfort arise. Sometimes stool remains in the rectum after defecating causing further distress. The combination of contractions, changes in stool consistency, gas and retention of stool may result in hemorrhoid formation.
- Living with spasms, pain and other symptoms of IBS is stress-producing. Increased anxiety results in more spasms. More spasms lead to an increase in other symptoms and further stress.
- The spasms, changes in mucus and bowel habits disrupt the precise balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Undesirable organisms may grow excessively. Healthy bacteria may become depleted. All of this leads to further spasms and bowel disruption.
- Some people experience crampy pains due to food allergies. Eating foods which produce gas, such as beans, cabbage and lentils cause spasms to increase temporarily.
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Keep Stress Levels Low
Pain and bloating can be reactions to stress. They manifest themselves even more so in those who have IBS. Employ sound stress management techniques to stay calm each day, such as through yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or just taking the time for a walk by yourself each day.
Bonus: regular bowel activity can result when you are stress-free.
When To See A Doctor
If youâve tried at-home remedies and havenât seen a change in your symptoms, it might be time to talk to a healthcare provider. Sometimes, you may experience symptoms similar to those of IBS that are actually caused by a different condition. These include:
- Symptoms that occur at night and cause you to wake up repeatedly
- Lack of appetite
- Blood in stools
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. In addition to assessing your symptoms, several tests can be performed to find out if you have a different medical condition.
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Will I Need A Colonoscopy
Depending on your symptoms, medical history and other factors, your provider may recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to examine your colon in more detail. These two outpatient procedures are similar. The difference is that a sigmoidoscopy examines just the lower half of the colon. A colonoscopy examines the entire colon.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy can help evaluate bowel disorders, rectal bleeding or polyps. Your provider will:
Heres what you can expect during a colonoscopy. Your provider will:
Often, providers can make an accurate diagnosis and even deliver treatment using a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a much less invasive procedure compared to an abdominal operation.
What Is Ibs Awareness Month
April was declared IBS Awareness Month in 1997 by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders . It is now an annual event during which organisations, charities and health professions work to raise awareness of the condition and to improve the quality of life for sufferers.
Found this useful? What do you do after a flare-up? Get in touch.
The Gut Choice advise consulting a medical professional or dietitian before taking medication or making any alterations to your diet.
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What Are The Most Common Ibs Flare Up Symptoms
In some cases, you may end up having an IBS flare-up. What is an IBS flare-up? In short, its a moment when your body just starts to get annoyed or flared up because of something that you ate or did.
The IBS is then triggered and it becomes difficult for you to go ahead and try to fend off whatever it is that youre feeling. What are the most common things that can happen during one of these flare-ups?
Pain or spasms in the abdominal area, specifically around the stomach or the intestines. The lower it is in your abdomen, the more you want to pay attention to it and possibly get an evaluation so that you can see what is going on.
If your bowels are not acting as they normally would , it could be a sign of IBS.
Keep an eye on when youre having bowel movements and how often in order to get a better idea as to whether or not this may be a problem that youre dealing with.
Constipation and/or diarrhea as a result of eating or drinking something that would be referred to as a trigger for the issue.
Passing gas , especially if it happens excessively and you are uncomfortable and/or in pain before you actually pass the gas from your system.
Incontinence, which means that you are passing urine if you are unable to get to the toilet after an urgent feeling of going to the bathroom.
If you feel like you have to urgently go to the bathroom, even when seconds before you didnt feel like you had to do anything.
Your stools change in substance or structure .
Tip : Manage Your Stress
Stress-related symptomslike abdominal pain and bloatingoccur more often and more intensely in people with IBS. Managing the stress in your life is important in avoiding flare-ups.
There are several effective methods for stress management that can improve IBS symptoms, including deep breathing and yoga. The secret is to breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest, to relax your abdominal muscles. Doing so can lead to more regular bowel activity.
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What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Exactly what IBS is isnât known. It may have something to do with overactivity of part or parts of the gut .
Food is passed along the bowel by regular squeezes of the muscles in the wall of the bowel wall. Pain and other symptoms may develop if the contractions become abnormal or overactive. The area of overactivity in the gut may determine exactly where you feel the pain and whether constipation or diarrhoea develops.
The cause of overactivity in parts of the gut is not clear. One or more of the following may play a part:
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Find Your Ibs Treatment Solution
IBS treatment focuses on addressing symptoms. In addition to diet changes, other lifestyle factors like stress and sleep quality can also affect the disorder. The good news is that you can often manage IBS through lifestyle adjustments.
A gastroenterologist, a doctor that specializes in the digestive system, can help determine what factors have the most significant impact on your gut health and the treatments that will help you feel better. Improve your quality of life by finding a doctor today.
HealthDay News contributed information to this article.
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Get Support In Your Ibs Flare
If you live with someone, or have someone close you can contact by phone, tell them how they can help you BEFORE you have your next flare-up.
As you know, flare-up time is not the best time for communication:)
Dont leave them guessing, or somehow assume they should know.
Tell them clearly what you need, and show them that you appreciate their help.
Why See An Ibs Specialist
IBS symptoms can come and go, and last for short or long periods of time. There is no known cure for IBS and for many sufferers it becomes a life-long condition. Fortunately, it can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
IBS shares symptoms with other conditions, so it is important to see an IBS specialist if you suspect that you have IBS. An IBS specialist is a gastroenterologist who specialises in diagnosis and treating IBS.
IBS is a diagnosis thats given when other similar conditions have been ruled out. An IBS specialist will not only diagnose your condition, but give you detailed advice on how to manage your condition.
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Kohls Eat Well Be Well Program
Blythedale Childrenâs Hospital, through the generosity of Kohls Department Stores, is proud to offer Blythedale and Kohlâs Eat Well, Be Well, an innovative outreach program designed to bring health and nutrition education to schools throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. Through this program, Blythedale staff members teach healthy eating habits to children by providing curricula, training and educational tools to school districts throughout the area. The program provides general nutrition guidelines to students, parents and school faculty. Blythedale Childrenâs Hospital offers experts in nutrition and health-education to speak with local parenting groups, PTAs and school personnel.