While irritable bowel syndrome cannot be cured, per se, a lot can be done to help relieve the symptoms, so that IBS sufferers can live as normally as possible.
Managing stress is something that’s often used for people experiencing mild IBS signs and symptoms. That’s because stress is considered to be one of the primary trigger factors.
Additional lifestyle and diet changes also often help.
- Find ways to relax
- Get plenty of exercise
- Keep a diary of what you eat to help identify trigger foods
- Cook homemade meals using fresh ingredients where possible
- Eat food high in fibre
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid trigger foods (such as processed, fatty or spicy foods)
- Get enough quality sleep
- Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake
If you decide to start your journey to recovery with us, we will work together on six key areas of your health – symptoms, sleep, mood, nutrition, activity and relationships – to help you achieve an improved state of physical, mental and social wellbeing.
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Here at the Helpful Clinic, we use a variety of interventions and techniques to help our clients get back on the path to recovery. Find out more about our methods now.
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What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, often referred to as just IBS, is a common, non-life-threatening digestive system condition that many people experience at some point in their lives, which causes symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. While it tends to affect mainly women, anyone in their late teens to early 40s can develop IBS.
According to The IBS Network, irritable bowel syndrome affects around 10-20% of people living in the UK.
IBS is, unfortunately, a lifelong problem that cannot be cured and can be extremely frustrating to live with because of the impact it has on day-to-day life.
Nevertheless, with long-term management, dietary changes and medicines, the symptoms of IBS can be controlled to help sufferers lead more normal lives.
While there is no definitive test for IBS (at time of writing), your GP might still conduct some tests to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms. These may include a blood test, stool test, endoscopy and/or colonoscopy.
IBS symptoms tend to come and go, sometimes lasting for days, weeks or even months at a time.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of IBS:
- Stomach pain and/or cramps
- Excess gas
- Mucus in the stool
- A different kind of stool (hard, soft or liquid)
- The development of a pot belly
- Tiredness and a lack of energy
- Problems passing urine
Causes of IBS
While the precise cause of IBS remains unknown, and it can seemingly happen for no apparent reason, there are a number of associated trigger factors:
- Certain foods – such as fatty or spicy food
- Stress and anxiety
- Nervous system abnormalities
- Inflammation in the intestines
- Changes in gut bacteria (microflora)
- Abnormal muscle contractions in the intestine
- A family history of IBS
- Food passing too quickly or slowly through your gut#