diet and ibs - Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Helps to Minimize Symptoms
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Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Helps to Minimize Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common problem with the intestines. In people with IBS, the intestines squeeze too hard or not hard enough and cause food to move too quickly or too slowly through the intestines. IBS usually begins around age 20 and is more common in women.


Massage, Relaxation Techniques (Including Yoga, Meditation, and Biofeedback) All these therapies are beneficial. Herbal Medicine A soothing tea of camomile, peppermint, and fennel is recommended. Herbalists may prescribe cramp bark, golden seal, wild yam, and licorice.


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 Looking at your diet Laura describes how a close examination of her diet helped her IBS: 'I was placed on every kind of medication, and sometimes they worked in the short term, sometimes they didn't work at all. The doctor finally suggested trying to alter my diet in cycles, and we discovered that eating meat was my problem. I became a vegetarian and no longer have constant problems. Sometimes I even go years without any pain at all. It's worth all the effort you put into it when you finally feel better.'

Kim, who also suffers from bad diarrhea, says: 'I tried taking digestive enzymes with acidophilus and found significant relief within three days. I am not afraid to eat now, but find that I still cannot eat very much refined sugar or high fibre vegetables. I have also added a cup or two per day of peppermint and chamomile tea. When I do have an episode it occurs late in the day and by the next morning I am feeling back to normal.'

All the self-help tips in this article have come from IBS sufferers who have found a way to control their irritable bowels. Before trying any form of self-help, please make sure that you have your doctor's approval, and do check that anything you try will not interfere with any medication you are taking.

There are a large number of diseases of the bowl and they all have different symptoms, but there is one constant with all of these diseases and that is inflammation of the bowl.

It is estimated that about 30 percent of people in the West has suffered from IBS at some stage, and 13 percent of those do so regularly. IBS appears to be brought on and exacerbated by anxiety, stress, and nervous problems. Symptoms often appear worse during menstruation. Other causal factors include food intolerance.

Finding a way to control your level of stress is absolutely essential for your recovery; maintaining a low level of stress will help keep the disease from re-occurring later because once you have IBS you are always at high risk of it coming back to haunt you; your intestines will always be very sensitive to any unhealthy level of stress. Quite a few people find that Yoga is very calming and relaxing; yoga is designed to relieve stress, and calm the body and mind. There is more than likely a yoga class in your area.

Stress and IBS Daniel believes that his symptoms are related to his emotions and stress: 'I thought that when I was stuck on the toilet, experiencing the most severe cramps, thinking I was about to pass out from the pain, feeling like I was about to throw up, I was the only one. I'm still trying to work it out but I believe it has a lot to do with my psychological state. I say this because although I don't get too stressed out at any one moment, I do have general worries about money and life. I tend to find when I'm not worrying about these things I don't get the pain as much, if at all. It's easier said than done of course, I can't just stop worrying about money or my future, but being aware of these things seems to help - being optimistic and knowing that everything is only temporary. I have been taking Colpermin (peppermint capsules) as a preventative which often helps and for a while I took painkillers which I think helped.'

Dietary fiber may lessen IBS symptoms in many cases. Whole grain breads and cereals, beans, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of fiber. Consult your doctor before using an over-the-counter fiber supplement. High-fiber diets keep the colon mildly distended, which may help to prevent spasms from developing. Some forms of fiber also keep water in the stools, thereby preventing hard stools that are difficult to pass.

If you suffer from constipation rather than diarrhea, you could try magnesium supplements instead, as these can have a slight laxative effect. Digestive enzymes and probiotics

Inflammation starts with the COX 2 enzyme. COX 1 preserves platelet function (needed for blood clotting) and protects the stomach lining. COX 2 causes inflammation and pain. COX 2 has been found in brain and spinal cord tumors as well as in the brains of Alzheimer's patents causing degeneration of the brain tissue from the chronic inflammation.

Scientists have also been in a buzz about the amount of antioxidants this fruit contains. The Mangosteen fruit juice has an amazing 25,000 antioxidants. Science has proven that this fruit has the most powerful and the largest number of antioxidants in nature to date. The Mangosteen fruit juice has been providing thousands of people with medicinal benefits.

Mina also found that dietary change helped control her symptoms, alongside traditional medication: 'I've made a number of changes to my diet. I've eliminated milk and mostly any dairy, fried foods, sugar for the most part, pop, alcohol, potato chips, spicy food, rice, pasta and bread. Most recently I'm eliminating flour. But my best friend for the last couple of years has been Imodium Quick Dissolve tablets. I don't ever leave home without them. I just have to make sure I don't overdo it. If I ever become immune to the wonder drug I am gonna be a real mess!'

Flaxseed Watching your diet is sometimes not enough to completely control the symptoms, and natural or herbal supplements can help, as Marion discovered: 'After about six months of a horrendously restrictive diet (ultra low-fat vegan with no raw veggies or fruit except banana) and a lot of Metamucil, I managed to get it sort of under control. But if I deviated from the diet, the chronic diarrhea would come back. Someone I met told me that she had helped her IBS by taking a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed with a glass of water or juice every morning. I thought it was another crackpot cure, but eventually I decided to try it. She had told me that pre-ground flaxseed didn't work because flax seed starts to oxidize as soon as you grind it and that whole flax seeds are no good either, because they cannot be digested properly. After years of IBS, in about two weeks it just went away. I cannot believe that I now have perfectly normal, regular bowel movements.'

The digestive system is actually a very complex organ that has a finely tuned team of mechanical reactions mixed with chemicals. The team goes into action once food enters the mouth where it mixes with saliva, the food then moves to the stomach where it meets with digesting enzymes and other chemicals. The food mixes with the stomach secretions that are released; the mixture now moves into the small intestine, this is where new team members enter into the game. The liver and pancreas are now in action releasing digestive enzymes that break down the complex carbohydrates, fats and protein into sugars, simple fats and amino acids; these are now absorbed by the small intestine. The next team member is the large intestine or colon, the responsibility of this team player is to break down undigested food, fiber and water, as this mixture moves through the colon it is dehydrated by the colon cells becoming solid as it moves and turning into stool.

Let me summarize for you: reduce your stress level, improve your level of beneficial bacteria, consume large quantities of anti-oxidants, and take a natural anti-inflammatory. All of the above will help you to recover from these debilitating and humbling diseases.

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The South East Asians have been eating and using a fruit called Mangosteen for centuries to treat all types of aliments. Scientists have been studying the mangosteen fruit for the last 20 years; they are in agreement with the South East Asian people that it heals without side effects. The Mangosteen fruit decreases the level of COX 2 in your body. Mangosteen can aid in the healing process, it helps to ensure that inflammation doesn't turn into chronic inflammation which then leads to chronic disease. How dose Mangosteen do this? One word -Xanthones. Xanthones can only be found in nature. They have been widely studied for their medicinal properties. Xanthones support microbiological balance and sustain the immune system. Xanthones are stable, super charged anti-oxidants. Xanthones are diverse in their abilities to help heal the body; there is a natural anti-inflammatory xanthone within the mangosteen fruit juice. Xanthones can destroy more than one free-radical at a time, unlike normal antioxidants, due to carbon bonds that make them very stable. Each Xanthone performs a specific biological function inside the body unlike regular anti-oxidants. Two hundred xanthones have been identified in nature, 41 are in the Mangosteen fruit alone and you can compare that to the Aloe Vera plant which contains only one xanthone. One thing about xanthones you need to know is they must be consumed in their natural form.

Calcium tablets Linda, who suffers from severe diarrhea, says: 'What has helped me for more than two years is calcium carbonate, an over-the-counter supplement. I take three tablets a day, one at each meal. The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals. The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium you may have some gas or indigestion, but this usually goes away after taking a regular dose for a few days.'

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is also known as irritable or spastic colon, and there is no real understanding of why it exists, although it seems to occur when the muscles that line the walls of the intestines and the colon, go into spasm. The muscles contract for no apparent reason, causing pain and diarrhea alternating with constipation. Other symptoms include a cramping pain in the abdomen, swelling, general malaise and lethargy, back pain, and often, excessive wind. Symptoms can subside and even disappear for long periods of time, but many sufferers continue to experience symptoms recurrently throughout their lives. It is a chronic, irritating, and uncomfortable condition, but it is not life-threatening and the symptoms can be reduced in many cases by proper treatment.

 
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Causes Doctors are not sure what causes IBS. The nerves and muscles in the bowel appear to be extra sensitive in people with IBS. Muscles may contract too much when you eat. These contractions can cause cramping and diarrhea during or shortly after a meal. Or the nerves may react when the bowel stretches, causing cramping or pain.

There are ways in which to help yourself and believe it or not traditional treatments help this disease the most, the medications your physicians give to you all have different side effects that may cause you more complications. People must try a number of different things in order to find some relief from this horrible condition. Medication can work for a short time but offers little help for the long term due to the side effects; IBS can be with you for years and once you have it, even if you get better, your chances of reoccurrence are high. Your body has become allergic to some foods or types of foods, or it can be a large number of foods, it is extremely hard to know what to do or how to find the foods causing this condition. There is hope in using traditional herbs and fruits, many people have been turning to these because they have been effective in their long term recovery. A lot of these can be found in your local health food store. The first thing that needs to be done is to increase the level of your good bacteria, acidophilus supplements can aid in the re-introduction of beneficial bacteria. Cat's claw is used to correct problems of imbalance in the small intestine, it helps to normalize beneficial microbes and reverse intestinal dysbiosis. A probiotic is an organism that is referred to as good or friendly bacteria. When they are ingested they help to maintain a healthy intestinal tract.

Treatment Diet and Nutrition Research shows that eating more fiber, in the form of oats, dried beans, peas, fresh fruit and vegetables, can greatly reduce the symptoms of IBS, but improvement may take months rather than weeks. Also, bear in mind that wheat bran, often prescribed as the standard treatment for IBS, can actually make the condition worse for some sufferers. Eat plenty of natural, unsweetened live yogurt or take daily supplements of Lactobacillus acidophilus to boost the levels of healthy bacteria in the digestive system.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS is more prevalent than we think. The primary symptom of IBS is abdominal pain and cramp after eating - resulting in diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating. Some may find mucous in the feces. These symptoms usually persist for at least 90 days before an IBS diagnosis is considered. Most people only have mild symptoms, and fortunately, a proper diet can usually minimize symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you will know how difficult it is to treat. Doctors can be dismissive of IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating, and when treatment is offered it may only help for a short while before the distressing symptoms return.

Soluble versus insoluble fiber Some nutritionists believe that IBS sufferers' intestines react differently to soluble and insoluble fiber, and this has been Stu's experience: 'After trying all kinds of drugs and healthy eating, my pains were still there. I found by accident that it wasn't so much what I ate but whether I ate it on a full stomach or not. My failsafe is pasta on an empty stomach, I get no reaction - it is soluble fibre that settles the colon apparently. I quickly searched on the internet for recipes high in soluble fibre and I have improved. Most significantly though I am on no medication and this puts me in control of the IBS, not the other way around. I think this is important as stress certainly can trigger the symptoms off. I don't avoid insoluble fibre as it is essential for the body, but I recommend that you eat it on a full stomach.'

Limit or eliminate foods that may make diarrhea worse, including caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, gas-producing foods (such as beans, cabbage, and broccoli), and the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylitol (often used in sugarless gum and sugarless candy).

To reduce constipation, add fiber to your diet, drink plenty of water, and get regular exercise. Keep a daily diary of what you eat and whether you experience symptoms after eating.

Sufferers often find that they have to deal with the symptoms themselves, through self-help methods and supplements, rather than by using conventional medicines. However, this does not mean that there is no hope of improvement. By sharing their experiences, sufferers can learn a lot about what really helps to ease IBS.

Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum Partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) is a water soluble, non-gelling fiber that may help to reduce constipation and to a lesser extent diarrhea and abdominal pain in people with irritable bowel syndrome. PHGG also appears to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the intestines. Diet

These diseases, such as inflammatory bowl disease (IBD), crohn's, colitis, etc., have inflammation at the source of their problems. Inflammation is the bodies' response to injury or illness, in the case of these diseases the inflammatory response turns on the bodies' digestive track and actually attacks it. This means it is an auto-immune disease. There are only two areas where your intestinal system can go astray, either your bacteria or your chemistry or it could be both. Irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) is a general term used for all the conditions in this class. IBS has no one cause and no one cure.

Consult a qualified practitioner/therapist for: Counseling and Hypnotherapy Both have been shown to be very effective in reducing the symptoms. Hypnotherapy has a particularly good record.

The best solution is a natural food source that inhibits the inflammation and pain problems that are associated with COX 2 without disturbing the COX 1 that is critical in protecting the stomach lining and the bloods ability to clot.

Let's look at juicing; the body has trouble with the hard fibers in most fruits and vegetables due to the inflamed gastrointestinal tract that is no longer functioning properly, juicing actually removes the hard fibers in the necessary foods and still gives you the number two recovery need and that is antioxidants. You must take in a large number of antioxidants every day to fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules or atoms that are missing an electron, antioxidants are either molecules or atoms that have an extra electron. You can not escape from free-radicals and the damage they do, they are in air and water pollution, in the junk foods we eat, and even in the medications we take hence the words "side effects". Free-radicals go around attacking healthy cells in our bodies trying to steal the electron; anti-oxidants will give up their extra electron to a free-radical which in turn stops the attack on healthy cells. Now you can see the importance of taking in a large number of anti-oxidants every day. Most fruits and vegetable have anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 anti-oxidants each, which does not seem like a lot compared to the amount of free-radicals you are taking into your body every single day; about a billion. Vitamins and minerals also contain antioxidants so supplementation is important. You need to do some research and try to find fresh supplements; they tend to lose their potency the longer they sit on the self.

A final word Lastly, please do make sure that you have been officially diagnosed with IBS and had your symptoms fully investigated before trying any self-help methods. As Joe found out, bowel symptoms can be due something other than IBS: 'I was diagnosed with IBS, but I went to get a second opinion. They did an ultrasound followed by a barium follow-through which showed major inflammation and blockage of my small intestine. The final diagnosis is Crohn's disease. It's a pity they didn't catch it before I was seriously ill, instead of fobbing me off with excuses of 'It's IBS, there's no cure so live with it!''

Fiber, water and yoga Pam, who struggles with constipation, has developed a combination of things which work for her: 'I drink Metamucil (psyllium fibre) every day and try to relax, pray or meditate, even do a little yoga. The more I make myself relax and take time to de-stress the better I can manage my problem. I know time for yourself is very hard to come by sometimes but I have to if I'm going to manage this. I try to drink at least three bottles of water a day. This is also hard sometimes but I have to take care of me the best I can. I also take a mild anti-depressant. This has helped a bunch in my stress department and in turn has helped my IBS.'

Aromatherapy

Essential oils of peppermint or sassafras help relaxation and reduce painful spasms.

Acupuncture This can be beneficial in helping to relieve IBS. Read out for herbal medicines. Check out herbal supplements and skin disorders

Orthodox medical treatment has been largely unsuccessful in the treatment of IBS. Antispasmodic drugs are often recommended but in many cases they are ineffective. The best way of controlling the condition is by reducing and learning to cope with stress, and by eating a diet that does not exacerbate the condition.






About the author:
Sophie Lee has had IBS for 14 years. She runs the IBS Tales
website at http://www.ibstales.com where you can read hundreds
of stories and tips from IBS sufferers.


 
 
     
 
 





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