It’s not unusual to have a short bout of abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation now and then ESPECIALLY in today’s toxic world. But long-term or recurring symptoms are not normal and may point to a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Clients in our digestive wellness clinic, Mind, Body and Flow, frequently ask me about IBS. They often say, “I think I may have it” or “I heard about IBS; what is it?”
IBS is a chronic and unpredictable gastrointestinal disorder that usually involves the small and large intestine. There are no tests that identify IBS (like standard blood tests, x-rays, scopes or scans). Instead, IBS is diagnosed based on defined patterns of signs and symptoms. Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irritable_bowel_syndrome to learn more.
IBS affects people of all ages and backgrounds, including children. People who are diagnosed with IBS often describe experiencing many of the following digestive symptoms:
- Diarrhea and /or Constipation
- Upper abdominal discomfort, pain or spasm that comes and goes (dyspepsia)
- Feelings of urgency (the need to find a restroom fast)
- Passage of mucus in the stool
- Feeling of “incomplete” bowel emptying
While medications may be prescribed to help manage bouts of severe pain, consider the following steps to help address IBS throughout your life from a more holistic approach:
- Herbal Supplements–Use an effective, natural formula to help to support the intestinal lining and promote healthy bowel function.
- Identify and Treat–It is important to address any underlying causes of IBS, such as Candida and/or parasites.
- Change Your Diet–Avoid irritating foods and beverages such as alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, dairy products and sugar, as well as those that are high in sulfur
- Add Fiber–Slowly begin to increase your fiber intake with a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber, such as the natural balance found in flax.
- Replace Intestinal Flora–Natural probiotic supplements such as those with Acidophilus and Bifidus will help provide a healthy balance of natural intestinal bacteria.
- Avoid Raw Vegetables–During times of significant irritation, it is best to avoid raw vegetables and opt instead for lightly steamed vegetables, fish and lean protein.
- Drink Plenty of Water–Drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day (For example, a 120 pound person would require 60 ounces of water, or seven tall glasses).
- Try Colon Hydrotherapy–In contrast to a traditional enema, colon hydrotherapy involves repeated infusions of filtered, warm water into the colon to help tone the bowel and promote healthy elimination.
IBS is a multifaceted disorder and, while there is no known cure, its symptoms can usually be managed. Educate yourself about the condition. Work with your health care provider to effectively diagnose and treat immediate severe symptoms. Consider using a holistic approach to manage IBS for the long term.
Remember, it’s never too late to start feeling better. With some lifestyle adjustments you can Be Happy, Be Healthy and Be Free.
-By, Shellese King-Bassette, DDS