Although Irritable Bowel Syndrome is less serious than other gastrointestinal problems such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it still has hard to treat symptoms that cannot be ignored. Living with IBS can be difficult and often leaves patients who have been diagnosed to feel frustrated by both the disease and the way it is treated. There are medications to treat IBS, but it is most often controlled with dietary and lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of IBS include diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and abdominal pain, all varying in degrees of severity. If you live with irritable bowel syndrome you probably know the triggers that flare your symptoms. Often just by avoiding triggers, you can experience a remission in which you have no symptoms. Dietary changes should include limiting caffeine, alcohol and dairy products. Fiber and fiber supplements should be used cautiously and increased slowly to decrease gas and bloating which can make IBS symptoms worse. Eliminating certain types of foods from your diet, such as dairy and gluten, can show if you have a greater sensitivity and should avoid certain things. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet while avoiding processed, fried and greasy foods will definitely help control your symptoms.
There are other ways to help ease your IBS symptoms. Exercising and decreasing stress in your life will go a long way. Stress is a common non-dietary trigger for people living with irritable bowel syndrome, and depression is a common thread among IBS patients. Because of the side effects and the chronic nature of the disease, relieving stress and exercise will help with depression and mood. Eating meals at the same time daily helps to regulate your bowels. Your doctor may recommend different over the counter medications to help with symptom management, like stool softeners or Imodium to control diarrhea. Talk with your doctor about your IBS concerns and discuss the best way for you to manage your disease. The doctors as Asheville Gastro are experts in this field and want to help you live better!