Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome With Constipation
It isimportant to find a solution that works best for you so you can find relief andenjoy the best quality of life possible despite IBS-C. Your healthcare providerwill try to help you manage your symptoms. Recommendations generally begin withchanges to lifestyle and diet. If those changes do not bring relief,over-the-counter products or prescription medications may be prescribed.
How Can Chronic Pain In Ibs Be Managed
When pain is chronic it takes time for it to go away. Because pain is an emotional experience, taking steps to improve emotions can lead to reduction of the harmful effects of the pain even when it is still present.
Maintaining an active role in life, engaging in physical activity, and addressing emotional and social health are important to help promote a sense of well-being, which counters negative expectations.
Psychological approaches Psychological approaches harness the minds own ability to affect pain sensations by sending signals, thoughts or nerve impulses, which close the pain gate.
There are many of these techniques, ranging from hypnosis to relaxation therapies to meditation to cognitive-behavioral therapy. They can help ease symptoms and restore a sense of control over the disorder.
Medications Anticholinergic agents taken before meals may provide short-term reduction of abdominal pain after meals. The newer gut-targeted medications treat multiple symptoms, including pain, in IBS with diarrhea and IBS with constipation .
When the above mentioned medications do not adequately treat the pain, centrally targeted medications may be tried. They can be used in addition to other IBS medications and are prescribed to provide long-term relief of severe chronic pain.
A Disorder In Disguise
Scarlett says shes had problems with her stomach for as long as she can remember. “I was always having either diarrhea or constipation and was constantly worried about being near a toilet,” she says. “Being a teenager is hard enough without that on top of it.”
Her first major IBS flare-up happened at 8 years old, when she was sent home from school on her birthday. “I was in so much pain and crying,” she says. Yet it wasnt until she was 14, following stressful exams, that she finally saw a doctor and got diagnosed.
According to the National Institutes of Health , IBS is what doctors call a “functional gastrointestinal disorder,” or a collection of symptomsincluding pain in your gut and changes in your bowel movementsthat signify your bowels arent working correctly despite a lack of damage due to a disease. The exact cause is unknown.
“I get bad stomach cramps and pain,” explains Scarlett. “It feels like something is stuck, like theres a knife inside my stomach. Its left me waking up in the middle of the night thinking I was dying because it was so painful.”
“Its a shame I kept my IBS in the dark for so long.”
Bloatingwhich Scarlett says feels like a giant basketball in her stomachis another common, aggravating symptom. “Sometimes I look five months pregnant,” she says. “I have to have so many dress sizes in my wardrobe, because if Im really bloated that way I dont have to wear uncomfortable clothes.”
Recommended Reading: Why Does Lettuce Make Me Sick
What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The exact cause of IBS is unknown, however,it is believed that IBS may be caused by one of several factors. In somepatients, it may be linked to a prior infection or event which disrupts thenormal functioning of the intestines. It is common for people to develop IBSfollowing a gastrointestinal infection, food poisoning, travellers diarrhea,surgery, a change in diet or the use of antibiotics or new medications. Inothers, an imbalance of intestinal bacteria or a change in the bodys level ofhormones, immune signaling in the bowel wall or neurotransmitters may also lead to the development of IBS. Currently, there is a greatdeal of interest in possible alterations in the number or type of bacteria withinthe intestine, but the exact role this may play in IBS is not yet known. Inpeople with IBS, bowel function can be altered in several ways:
What Can Partners Family And Friends Do
If your partner, friend, or family member is struggling with IBS, then one important thing you can do is take the time to learn about the condition. By educating yourself about IBS you will be better able to understand what your significant other is going through. You can support healthy communication in your relationship by:
- Respecting the other personâs boundaries and trusting them when they tell you what works for them and what doesnât. They are the expert when it comes to their body.
- Supporting the other person without being patronizing. For instance, avoid suggestions such as “You should/shouldnât eat thisâ.
- Accepting that IBS is an unpredictable condition, so you may need to be okay with changing plans at the last minute. A flexible attitude can help manage a stressful situation and diffuse tension.
Another thing you can do is to refrain from telling stories of people who had the same/similar condition and got better. You might be trying to put a positive spin on it. However, every personâs health journey is unique and making out-of-context comparisons is not always helpful.
You May Like: Peanut Butter And Heartburn
What Are Ibs Symptoms
- Excess gas.
- Mucus in your poop .
Women with IBS may find that symptoms flare up during their periods. These symptoms often happen again and again, which can make you feel stressed or upset. As you learn management techniques and gain control over flare-ups, youll start to feel better, physically and mentally.
Get Out There And Live
Do not let your IBS run your life. Make your plans! Remember, going out of the house does not trigger IBS symptoms. It is the anxiety about going out that may trigger symptoms. Learn and use relaxation strategies to lessen this anxiety and free yourself up to begin to live a more “normal” life.
Although you no longer have the luxury of taking your body for granted, careful planning can help you better manage your life with IBS. For example, if you know that you experience diarrhea episodes in the morning, then try to schedule appointments in the afternoon.
Let others know about your special needs, whether it be in terms of what you can eat or extra time for bathroom stops. Have a plan as to where to find available bathrooms and how you will stay calm until you are able to reach one.
Remember that accidents are extremely rare. Your body was trained at an early age to hold onto stool until you reach a bathroom, and most likely it will do so, even if it often seems like you made it just in time. If accidents concern you, then be prepared. Wear a sanitary pad if necessary, and carry baby wipes, a change of clothes, and anything else you might need to help you to feel an improved sense of safety and comfort.
Don’t Miss: Do Bananas Help With Bloating
How To Live Well With Irritable Bowel Syndrome23rd June 2017
Free From Heaven
Results have shown that in around 70% of people with IBS, a low FODMAP diet has resulted in a reduction in symptoms. The British Dietetic Association recommends that low FODMAP dietary advice can be considered as second line advice which should be Dietitian led. However, there are a whole host of other considerations to be aware of before turning to this diet alone for effective relief and self-management of IBS.
With IBS affecting between 10-20% of people living in the UK at any one time, better understanding of the condition and ways to manage the symptoms is needed.
IBS is a long-standing illness consisting of frequent abdominal discomfort and bowel symptoms which cannot be explained by any other disease. Symptoms can be complex and conflicting and can include one or a combination of constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and pain, bloating, changes in bowel movement and frustrated defaecation. It can lead to feelings of isolation and major problems in peoples working and personal lives.
With wide variations in symptoms experienced, diagnosis is often a difficult and lengthy process. However, IBS should be diagnosed by a qualified practitioner. Doctors will carry out a medical history to identify any Red Flag indicators ” rel=”nofollow”> www.theibsnetwork.org/have-i-got-ibs/could-it-be-anything-else/) and screen other conditions, such as cancer.
What is a FODMAP diet?
Eight Guidelines For Living With Ibs
Read Also: Does Fish Oil Help With Constipation
Lifestyle Tips For Ibs: Exercise
Get out there and get moving exercise will likely help your IBS. It also can help you lose weight, if that’s your goal. Aim for exercise a few times a week that gets your heart pumping. You also may want to consider yoga and relaxation and breathing exercises, which can help you tackle stress better.
Researchers reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2011 that people with IBS who exercised with the support of a physical therapist several times a week experienced improved IBS symptoms more than a control group that did not exercise with a physical therapist.
Exercise might help you when you have IBS because your diet tends to improve and your bowel habits become more regular. It also could be that exercise gives you a chance to tune out your problems and provide stress relief, Chey says. Research into the benefits of exercise for IBS is ongoing.
Quick Read Ibs Is Hard To Stomach
- Irritable bowel syndrome isnt dangerous but can disrupt your life.
- Symptoms include stomach pain, cramping, constipation and diarrhea.
- Experts think IBS is caused by miscommunication between the brain and gut.
- There is no cure, but you can manage symptoms by learning your triggers.
- The low-FODMAP diet, medication and therapy can help.
I spend part of each day thinking about my bowels. I know that sounds strange, but for me it has become a normal part of living with irritable bowel syndrome .
Let me take you through an ordinary day when my IBS symptoms are flaring up. Upon waking up, I immediately have to rush to the bathroom, then again as Im on my way out the door. At the office, I feel mildly nauseated throughout the day and dont eat much, so my energy levels are low.
During a meeting, my stomach feels like its full of angry hornets, and Im faced with a decision: hold the gas in and suffer the cramps or stink up the conference room. I make bathroom runs throughout the day, interrupting my workflow and making me self-conscious of looking like a bad employee for not being at my desk.
At home, I can finally indulge in real food without caring how it will affect my stomach. I can sit on the toilet for as long as I want until my rectal cramps pass without fretting about not getting work done.
Though IBS can be irritating, plus embarrassing and exhausting, the good news is that, while there is no cure for it, it is treatable.
Also Check: Can Soy Milk Cause Diarrhea
Nikkis Story Living With Ibs
Living with IBS is a constant battle a battle that can leave you frustrated and often feeling exhausted.
IBS doesnt have an end, not really. Its always there, lingering over your shoulder, awaiting the next opportunity to pounce. I try not to be negative or saddened by my IBS, and in some ways, I am thankful. I have grown much more aware of healthy eating, the importance of exercise and the benefits of looking after my mind. I have developed a real love for home-cooking, experimenting with new recipes and sharing the IBS friendly food I make with friends and family. I am also very proud of myself every time I have a successful bowel movement those of you with IBS will relate.
The first real wave of IBS hit at University poor timing but not entirely unexpected, particularly when the stress of exams and dissertations loomed over me. But it was an accumulation of factors that contributed to my IBS, stress only playing a minor role. It was food that slowly became my worst enemy. The typical student diet is one of high carbs, lots of salty foods to overcome a hangover, and anything sweet and stodgy. There was also the component of alcohol, a significant problem for all those with IBS. I would love to say I was the Universitys angel accredited for 3 years of sobriety. But that would be a big fat lie I drank and partied at weekends through first year. Nothing could stop me.
What Causes The Pain To Be More Severe
Several things can make a person with IBS vulnerable to experience something as more painful. Information from the bowels involving things like altered gut bacteria, changes in the guts response to foods, or altered gut immune system activation can increase nerve signals going up to the brain and stimulate responses that increase pain perception. This is called visceral hypersensitivity.
Emotional or psychological distress can also increase the pain signals by disrupting the brains usual ability to down-regulate, or reduce, the incoming pain signals. In addition, negative experiences stored in the memory like trauma, neglect, or deprivation, can prime the brain and spinal cord to be even less effective in influencing the incoming nerve signals.
The chronic, or long lasting, pain in IBS is related to the effect of central sensitization, which can happen when pain is continuous or keeps coming back. It modifies the way the central nervous system works causing greater sensitivity so the person more easily experiences pain. In effect, chronic pain over time can cause more pain.
When people experience chronic pain it also changes them their thoughts and feelings about it change. Consider the difference of how one responds to an occasional stomach flu. Because one considers the experience to be short lived, he or she can readily cope with it and expectation is full recovery.
Don’t Miss: Banana Gas Bloating
Keep Your Prescribed Medications Or Pain Relievers On You At All Times In Case Of Really Bad Flare
“I keep Imodium in literally every bag I carry, as well as in my car, bathroom, and even my boyfriend’s car, just in case. It’s worth stashing everywhere if it means being prepared for an episode.”
Corinne Elizabeth, Facebook
“I always have a pain reliever on me just in case of a flare-up. Because if I do have one, and it’s in the middle of a lecture, I will need something to relieve the pain until I can get to a bathroom or go home.”
Putting It All Together
Pain is the dominant symptom of IBS, regardless of the IBS subtype IBS-D, IBS-C, or IBS mixed . It is the main contributor to severity in IBS. Seeking relief from pain is the most common reason that people with IBS consult with their doctor.
Like all functional gastrointestinal disorders, IBS is a disorder of brain-gut interactions. Symptoms of IBS in general are caused by the presence of biological factors that are happening inside the body, which are not easily visible.
Advances in science over the past two decades, including the microbiota of the gut, alteration of gut sensitivity, and brain imaging, have led to improved understanding about the interactions between the brain and the gut.
The pain in IBS is closely related to an altered response on the part of the brain to normal signals that arise from the gut, which turn up the volume on sensations. This understanding of the brain-gut connection is essential, not only to the cause of the chronic pain, but also to its treatment.
Currently, there is no sure treatment that will eliminate 100% of the chronic pain in IBS. But, there are a number of approaches that can reduce and bring the pain under control. These include self-management approaches, psychological approaches, and medications.
Opioids are not a treatment for IBS pain there is no evidence of long-term benefit.
PrintA pdf of this article for free download is available in the IFFGD publications library here.
You May Like: Constipation Causes Dizziness
How Is The Pain Experienced
It is important to understand that pain is processed in the brain. In IBS, signals that arise in the bowels are relayed to certain areas of the brain where these signals are experienced as painful sensations, which can be modified by emotional centers that can produce a more noxious, or emotionally distressing, quality.
The brain not only receives information about pain, but it may also influence or modify the information coming from the gut to increase or reduce the signals arising from there. This is called the gate control theory of pain.
Signals between the body to the brain pass through the spinal cord, which can serve as a kind of a gate. The brain can also open and close this gate, much like a volume switch on a stereo. Closing the gate decreases signals and blocks pain, while opening the gate increases the signals that reach the brain and amplifies pain.
Things like focused attention or various treatments like hypnosis or meditation close the gate. Things like emotional distress or prolonged stress open the gate. Thus, it is no surprise when someone is running a race and sprains an ankle, the pain may not be felt until the race is over. Or conversely when someone is having a bad day at work, sometimes more minor discomfort may become more painful all as a result of the brain-gut axis.
All of these interactions differ from person to person, accounting for differences in symptom expression and severity in people with the same condition.