Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is a chronic condition which affects the intestines. This results in pain and discomfort in the stomach, as well as other issues such as diarrhea, bloating and constipation. The condition affects around 15% of Australians, and can greatly reduce ones quality of life without proper management.
When it comes to irritable bowel syndrome, there is no cure, but there are many treatment options available to successfully manage the symptoms. IBS treatment involves different approaches which evolve around diet, lifestyle and medication:
It is usually recommended to adopt a low-FODMAP diet for 6-12 weeks, as part of ones overall IBS Treatment plan. FODMAP foods are foods which contain short chain carbohydrates, such as wheat, stone fruits like peaches, certain vegetables like cabbage, refined sugars and legumes. Working with a dietician is helpful when creating a sustainable low-FODMAP nutrition plan to help manage and reduce symptoms. If symptoms have reduced after 6-12 weeks, foods that include FODMAP are slowly introduced again into the body to assess tolerance.
Taking probiotics is also helpful in reducing symptoms by helping to increase good bacteria in the gut. Reducing alcohol and caffeine is also recommended, as well as reducing or avoiding a person's unique trigger foods. Keeping a food diary to track symptoms can be a useful tool in helping to better manage IBS.
Stress management is vital when it comes to IBS treatment. Stress can cause inflammation in the body which can worsen IBS symptoms. Practicing Yoga, doing daily meditations, talking to a therapist, doing something creative and going for a calming walk are some lifestyle practices that can help reduce stress.
Regular exercise is also recommended as physical activity is shown to be effective in managing IBS symptoms.
Cutting back on smoking and drinking is also advisable.
Medication and Supplements:
In addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, there are certain medications that can be taken depending on ones symptoms. For example, Anti-diarrheal medications can be taken if a person experiences symptoms of diarrhea and can be stopped when the symptom ceases. To help manage pain, antidepressants in low doses have been shown to be effective, as well as supplements such as peppermint oil tablets. It is advisable to speak to a doctor to get the best advice on medication and supplements.
These are some approaches that can be implemented as part of an IBS treatment plan. It is important to seek help from ones healthcare team when managing this condition. For more information about IBS treatment, contact a doctor near you.