IBS is the abbreviation for irritable bowel syndrome. It is a digestive disorder that affects the large intestine. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, between ten and fifteen percent of the American adult population suffers from IBS. Because of this, it is important that you understand the signs and symptoms and how you can relieve the symptoms naturally.

Getting a diagnosis
In order to receive a diagnosis, your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms, take a complete medical history, order some blood tests and do a physical examination. Your doctor may also ask how often you have a bowel movement, what your bowel movement looks like and determine if you have significant weight loss or fevers. In order to receive a diagnosis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Pain improves or worsens after a bowel movement
  • Changes in bowel movement frequency
  • Changes in stool appearance
  • Symptoms occur at least one time a week and last for more than three months
  • Symptoms have been going on for at least six months

In addition to this, the doctor will want to know if you have experienced a stressful event that triggered your symptoms, determine if any medications are causing your symptoms and any recent infections or health problems that may be causing your symptoms.

IBS symptoms
The most common symptom associated with irritable bowel syndrome is abdominal pain. This pain is often caused by bowel movements. In addition to abdominal pain, sufferers often experience recurrent bouts of constipation and/or diarrhea. Although this condition is painful, it does not damage the gastrointestinal tract. Other symptoms associated with IBS include bloating, white mucus in your stools and feeling as if you are unable to finish your bowel movements.

Causes of IBS
The exact cause of IBS is unknown; however, certain factors can lead to IBS. Research has shown that certain issues are common in IBS patients, including:

  • Periods of stress in the early years of life, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO)
  • Food sensitivities
  • Heredity

How to relieve IBS symptoms

Dietary changes – There are several dietary changes that can help improve IBS symptoms. Eating more fiber can help to relieve constipation caused by it. You should try to consume between 22 and 34 grams of both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is fiber that cannot be digested and helps to bulk up stools. Soluble fiber is found in vegetables and whole grain items. Soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance to help soften stools and allow them to travel through the digestive tract more easily. It is found in lentils, barley and oats.

Avoid gluten – Gluten is the protein in certain grains. Many people who experience irritable bowel syndrome have a gluten sensitivity. If you suffer from IBS, you should avoid eating most pasta, cereals and grains as these items can cause abdominal cramping, bloating and other IBS symptoms.

Stress relief techniques – Many IBS sufferers experience bouts of symptoms during increased periods of stress. Although research has not proven that stress causes IBS, it has been shown to aggravate the symptoms of IBS. Stress relief techniques like yoga, tai chi, deep breathing exercises and meditation can help to relieve stress, which can help ease many of the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Probiotic supplements – When you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you may experience abdominal pain, bloating and issues with your bowel movements. Probiotics supplies the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria that can help to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and regulate bowel movements. The beneficial bacteria crowd out bad bacteria and help you properly digest foods so that bowel movements are regulated.

Sleep – When you sleep, your body produces hormones, recovers from the demands placed on it throughout the day and decrease stress levels. Seek to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to help relieve your IBS symptoms.

Fluids – In order for proper digestion, you must consume enough fluids. Fluids mix with your foods and gastric juices to promote digestion and help stool move through the digestive tract quickly. Additionally, getting enough fluids can help to lower inflammation throughout the body, including the gastrointestinal tract.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a painful gastrointestinal disorder that causes stomach pain, mucus in your stools, inflammation, constipation and diarrhea. You can relieve these symptoms by taking a probiotic supplement, eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep and getting enough fluids.

Author's Bio: 

Misty Jhones