Most people enjoy a variety of foods and look forward to the next meal…unless they have IBS. It is tempting to think of IBS as the I’ve-Been-Sick syndrome rather than by its true name of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS is a bit like an “open secret” because it is not a condition you generally talk about with others like you would if it were high cholesterol or migraine headaches. Yet millions of people suffer with IBS, and that is no exaggeration. Based on surveys and data extrapolation, the World Gastroenterology Organisation estimates that as many as 1 out of every 10 people in the world have IBS, and 1 out of every 5 people in developed countries. So you are not alone in keeping the “open secret.”
One of the interesting aspects of IBS is that people who have it know they have something wrong with their digestive systems but are not sure what. IBS is mostly defined by its symptoms because it is a diagnosis of exclusion. That merely means that it is not a disease that can be proven through medical tests. Yet a host of symptoms characterizing Irritable Bowel Syndrome are very real. IBS is a chronic illness that presents itself through gastrointestinal symptoms that include gas, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, abdominal cramping, sudden urges to pass stool, and mucous discharge from the rectum. There is typically inefficient or uncoordinated intestinal action, and that can cause stomach or gut pain.
No two people have identical symptoms. One person may alternate constipation and diarrhea and constipation, and experience painful gas and bloating. Another person may develop mostly severe constipation and difficulty controlling urges to go to the bathroom. There may also be a number of symptoms that are connected to poor digestive processes that affect other parts of the body. For example, you may experience bad breath despite good dental care, joint or muscle pain, headaches and persistent fatigue.
Keeping Food Moving at the Right Pace
IBS represents the end result of digestive difficulties that cannot be pinned down to a particular medical condition. When you eat, food moves through the esophagus, into the stomach and eventually enters the intestines. Along the way, the food is broken down through enzyme action and mixed with various digestive juices to keep it pliable. The proteins, carbohydrates and fats are processed in a way they can enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. Food material not absorbed by the body is moved to the large intestine, which is composed of the cecum, colon, appendix and rectum. The food waste is processed further by the colon as it extracts fluid, leaving a mass of undigested food. Muscle contractions in the colon push the mass into the rectum to be expelled through the anus.
It is easy to see how so many things could go wrong. If food empties too quickly from the stomach, the rest of the digestive system will attempt to compensate by slowing down the digestive process. There might be an undiagnosed food sensitivity impacting the efficiency of the digestive system. The gastrointestinal tract may not breakdown the food correctly due to disease or physical defects, making it difficult to move through the digestive system. Perhaps your body does not produce enough digestive juices containing the enzymes that play such an important role. Health professionals believe many people have digestive muscles that are not contracting as they should, leading to slow transport of food waste. It is also believed that IBS is frequently related to an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines, causing severe gas as they do their job of helping to breakdown undigested food. Finally, IBS could be connected to faulty functioning of the gastrointestinal tract’s nervous system.
Responding the Right Way to Prevent Further Harm
Though medical professionals have yet to discover the specific medical reason IBS develops, the symptoms can be minimized. Fortunately, IBS does not cause permanent damage, but how people respond to the symptoms can cause great harm. For example, if you eliminate certain foods from your diet, a vitamin or mineral deficiency can develop. Eating provokes the symptoms, but to manage the syndrome it is necessary to know which specific foods to avoid, and how to supplement the vitamins and minerals lost. However, there must be other lifestyle changes and additions that help you manage stress and relax the muscles.
IBS is complicated because the causes and symptoms can vary so widely. To minimize or control symptoms, you have to know the specific dietary, behavioral and mental changes to make in your life. What you need to know to treat IBS naturally is found in The IBS Miracle™ – How To Free Your Life From Irritable Bowel Syndrome by James Walden. This ebook contains the information you need to understand IBS, its symptoms, and most importantly, the dietary, supplementation and lifestyle changes needed to treat IBS.