Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You Cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder in the large intestine which causes abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, gas, constipation, or diarrhea in the patient. Only a small amount of people suffer from this disease and most of them are women. It is not very dangerous but can turn into a chronic disease if timely measures including changes in lifestyle, stress management, and medication are not taken to cure it.
Reasons Behind IBS
Just like our brains, our digestive system also receives and sends messages across the nerves within its components. When there is discordance between the gut nerve and the axis of the brain, it results in digestive problems or IBS. The exact cause of IBS is still under research and observation but according to previous findings, certain infections, hormonal changes, food intake, and stress trigger disturbances in the digestive system which cause IBS.
Who is more at risk?
According to different pieces of studies, people aged under 50 and women are more at risk than men. Also, people who have a family history of IBS, like their parents or grandparents suffered IBS, and people suffering from mental health disorders like depression and anxiety are also on high alert for IBS. Also, people who suffered from physical or emotional assault or any other trauma at an early age develop IBS at a later age.
Below are a few lifestyle changes that can help with IBS.
Take Care of Diet
Symptoms of IBS vary from patient to patient. According to the symptoms a patient experiences, a diet is recommended for them. For instance, if a patient is suffering from constipation-type IBS then a high fiber diet including legumes, whole wheat cereals, prunes, and whole fruits is recommended. On the other hand, if the patient is suffering from diarrheal-type IBS then they should switch to non-dairy milk like soy milk or almond milk, and should avoid whole-wheat cereals. Hence, the diet needs to be managed based on the symptoms the patient suffers from.
Regular 15- 30 minutes of exercise is important for IBS patients as it improves bowel movements, and reduces anxiety and stress. As a result, it keeps some major causes of IBS in check, thus improving symptoms and the overall condition of the patient.
Recognize Food Intolerance
Many people are often food intolerant to a variety of ingredients like wheat, milk, nuts, beans, some fruits, and onions. The best way to identify them is to write down what the patient ate during every meal, and after it gets identified, it should be eliminated or switched to other alternatives. Another way is to get food intolerance blood tests done from a health care center and alter the diet accordingly.
Quit Unhealthy Habits
Smoking and alcohol are proven culprits for causing disturbances in the digestive system and adversely affecting mental health, both being severe symptoms of IBS. Similarly, excessive caffeine in tea and coffee is also responsible for damaging gut nerves, thus causing diarrheal symptoms of IBS and heartburn. Hence, to avoid the disease, prevention is the best way forward. Make sure to quit such habits that lead to symptoms of IBS.
Maintain a Diary
It is essential for IBS patients to carry a diary so they can record all the details of what they ate, how they felt after that, and what type of bowel movement they experienced. Also, they should record all the uncomfortable events they face and how they affected their IBS symptoms. This way it will help both the patient and the caretaker to analyze the IBS triggers and plan the treatment accordingly.
Monitor and Manage the Stress Level
IBS is a disease of the gut-brain axis. Hence, stress is considered the biggest reason behind IBS. The patient should avoid situations that put him under stress and adopt certain habits that can act as stress busters. It is very crucial for patients to stay away from stress and to cater to it immediately to prevent worsening IBS symptoms.
When to See the Doctor?
It is always a good idea to consult the doctor as soon as possible when a patient faces any unusual changes in their body or bowel movements. More severe IBS symptoms which require immediate doctor’s attention, include weight loss, unexplained vomiting, difficulty swallowing, rectal bleeding, diarrhea at night, and persistent pain that is not relieved after passing gas or bowel movement.
A doctor visit is crucial if the above-mentioned symptoms occur. Such extreme experiences can be the symptoms of colon cancer. Hence, the doctor’s attention is very important.
IBS is a disease that can be easily managed by quitting some activities like drinking and smoking. It can also be cured by adopting certain habits like recording all the eating details and handling stress. IBS is deeply connected with both the brain and the body, hence it is essential for its patients to take care of both their mental and physical health. If the patient is unable to manage IBS symptoms through lifestyle changes, then it is important to start medical treatment after consulting the doctor.
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