Understanding IBSOct 31, 2022
Are you tired of being gassy, bloated, and not feeling well after eating? Do you have cramping and abdominal pain? Are these symptoms recurring daily, and you can’t figure out what you’ve eaten that’s bothering you? Suppose you’ve been to the doctor and they haven’t diagnosed you or can’t figure out what’s wrong. In that case, you may be experiencing symptoms of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
What is IBS?
IBS, also known as spastic colon, irritable colon, mucous colitis, and spastic vecolitis, differs from IBD, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common, chronic disorder characterized by several gastrointestinal symptoms that occur together when a doctor can’t conclude a diagnosis of a specific disease or issue. However, you may likely be diagnosed with IBS when you have the symptoms listed below occurring at least three months out of the year and three days per month.
It’s important to note that IBS is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed syndromes for Celiac disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS and haven’t had a blood test for Celiac disease, you’ll want to find out if you have Celiac disease so you can modify your diet. If you have Celiac disease, you’ll want to start changing your diet soon because ignoring it or not changing it can lead to several deadly cancers.
Is IBS a Common Gut Issue?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is one of the most common conditions for which people consult doctors. It creates a substantial economic burden to society regarding healthcare costs and missed days from work. Because people with IBS don’t feel well, they take off from work regularly, constantly feeling unwell. Because of these symptoms, a person with IBS can start to feel blue or depressed, especially if they don’t know what’s going on or how to resolve their digestive health issues.
There is a definite predisposition for women to have IBS more than men. Even though we don’t know the exact cause, the symptoms of IBS seem to be exacerbated by stress, which means that IBS is part of the gut-brain axis or gut-brain connection.
Causes of IBS
The exact cause of IBS isn’t known. Still, possible causes of this gut syndrome include an overly sensitive colon which can be triggered by bacterial infections in the GI tract, slowed or spastic movements of the colon that can cause painful cramping, abnormal serotonin levels in the colon affect motility and bowel movements, and/or gluten sensitivity that can damage your intestines, causing gut issues.
However, you could also have IBS if you have the following diseases, syndromes, or gut health issues. The underlying causes of IBS can include:
- Infections (parasites, candida overgrowth, food poisoning, bacterial, or other gut infections)
- Food sensitivities
- Celiac disease
- Leaky gut
- Imbalances in serotonin
- Lactose or other sugar intolerance
- Malabsorption of nutrients
- Low-fiber diet
- Undiagnosed IBD or diverticulitis
- Hormonal imbalances
What are the Symptoms of IBS?
Because each of our bodies is different, you can experience different symptoms than someone else. For example, you may have all or some of the following gut symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Passage of mucus in stools
The Following are Not Symptoms of IBS
- Weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
Testing and Diagnosing IBS
Your doctor may be able to diagnose IBS based on symptoms. In addition, they may take one or more of the following steps to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
- Eliminating certain foods to rule out food allergies/sensitivities
- Stool sample to rule out infection
- Do a blood test to rule out anemia and/or celiac disease
- Perform a colonoscopy to rule out colitis, IBD, and/or cancer
What is the Treatment for IBS?
Like Celiac disease, there is no cure for IBS. IBS treatment is aimed at symptom relief and regulation and reduction of symptoms, which sign that your gut is healing. However, changing your diet is the best treatment for IBS. If you remove the foods inflaming your gut, you can take away many of your IBS symptoms.
How to Treat IBS with Your Diet
Dietary changes can go a long way in easing symptoms of IBS and other gut-health issues you may be experiencing.
First, you’ll want to consider eating a low-FODMAP diet. You can find the FODMAP App from Monash University on your favorite app store. This is an easy way to figure out which foods to eat and which to eliminate. You’ll want to eliminate fried foods, indigestible sugars, and beans from your diet. Include more ginger, peppermint, and chamomile to reduce gut symptoms and assist digestion.
Try this easy low-FODMAP recipe to get started!
Creamy Chicken and Artichoke Stew
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 oz. Chicken Thighs (chopped)
- 5 stalks Green Onion (chopped, divided)
- ⅓ cup Artichoke Hearts (from the can, drained, chopped)
- ⅓ cup Canned Coconut Milk (full-fat)
- ½ cup Chicken Broth
- ½ cup Green Beans (chopped)
- 1 ½ cups Baby Spinach
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and half of the green onions. Sauté for three to five minutes.
- Add the artichoke hearts, coconut milk, broth, and green beans. Bring everything to a simmer and cook for five to seven minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the baby spinach in the final minutes of cooking.
- Garnish with the remaining green onions and enjoy!
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