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How to Tackle IBS: Some Advice

IBS (or Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a condition that affects the digestive system - and frustratingly for sufferers, there is no known cure or cause for the illness. That said, there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself, if you're suffering from IBS.

The condition itself is more common in women than men and it often starts in the late teenage years. It can continue long into adulthood, often coming and going, which can mean your day-to-day life is affected.

Symptoms of IBS can Include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Needing to pass urine frequently
  • Heartburn and indigestion.

Symptoms can be triggered by stress and it’s thought that oversensitive nerves in the gut and a family history of IBS can all be contributing factors. Traumatic or upsetting events can cause a flare up of IBS, as can gastroenteritis. Where possible, try to keep stress in your life to a minimum to reduce the chase of a flare-up.

Other Less Common Symptoms of IBS

Not all symptoms of IBS are gut-related; some people show symptoms including:

  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Backache
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pains.

Talking to Your GP About IBS

If you think you may be suffering from IBS, your first port of call is your GP. He or she will talk through your symptoms and ask you questions relating to the frequency of your discomfort; they'll also discuss your diet to try and identify any possible trigger foods. Blood tests and samples are also common practice when diagnosing IBS.

Treatment and Help for IBS

Changes to your diet can improve your condition and reduce the onset of your IBS symptoms, so be prepared to make some tweaks to what you're eating.

Cooking with fresh foods and avoiding highly processed meals is a top tip for managing IBS, too, as is keeping a food diary so that you can start to identify and so avoid your trigger foods. As IBS is related to high levels of stress, trying to find time to relax and exercise is a key part of keeping IBS under control.

Alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine and a sweetener called Sorbitol are all products IBS sufferers need to monitor and reduce where necessary, in order to keep symptoms at bay.

Medicines for IBS

There are a variety of products available to help manage IBS. Buscopan is well reported to aid bloating and cramping, as does Senocalm which includes natural peppermint oil. Colofac IBS tackles all the symptoms of IBS, including diarrhoea and constipation.

Sufferers of IBS are usually low in folic acid, which is thought to be good for general bowel health and Vitamin B12 is also suggested to sufferers to aid the absorption of iron.

Support for IBS Sufferers

Like any medical condition, IBS can change the lifestyles of sufferers, and at times leave people feeling isolated. There are groups and organisations like The IBS Network, who offer guidance and help for people diagnosed with IBS.

Until next time...

Disclaimer: If you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed in the products mentioned, do not consume them. Always check with your doctor before trying a new medication or regime, and if irritation or allergy occurs stop using the product or medication immediately.


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