Category Archives: nutrition, food, eating

Effective options to control IBS, irritable bowel syndrome

I enjoy meeting other bloggers on blog link-ups and on one of them recently another blogger asked me about IBS. I had not read much about it recently so decided to research and write a post about it . So whether you already know something about IBS, or if it’s new to you,  here is that post. Thanks Kat, from KusKat Studio.

IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, is a common gastrointestinal disorder, of unknown cause.

It is distinct from conditions referred to as inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which I won’t discuss here.

Currently there is no one generally recognized blood test, scan, image, or other diagnostic test that confirms IBS. Your doctor may order testing to exclude other conditions such as celiac sensitivity,  lactose intolerance, or colon cancer.

diagram of the human digestive organs
the human digestive system -irritable bowel syndrome mainly involves the colon and rectum, and probably also the small intestine.

 

The symptoms of IBS are not unique , making diagnosis difficult since it can be confused with other conditions.

IBS is defined by

Recurrent abdominal pain averaging 1 day per week for 3 months associated with

  • Bowel movements
  • Change in frequency of stool
  • Change in form or appearance of stool.

The change in bowel habits can be diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both.

There may be other symptoms-bloating, abdominal distention, flatulence, tiredness, headaches, painful urination, but these are not required for diagnosis.

The Mayo Clinic explains what symptoms may suggest you need tests for other conditions.by your doctor.

The cause of IBS is still uncertain.

At one time doctors believed it was due to overactive muscles in the bowel wall, leading to the once used name “spastic colon.” Current thinking is  the nerves to the bowel are hypersensitive and send signals to the brain which then over interprets them as pain. This hypersensitivity may be triggered by food, bacteria, or toxins in the bowel.

An altered immune response to infections may also precipitate the condition. Changes in the number and type of bacteria that live in the bowel has been identified as a possible cause.

The symptoms of IBS may fluctuate and even go into remission spontaneously, so it can be difficult to definitely know what works and what doesn’t. Management can be divided into two categories.

Effective options to control IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
photo from the collection at LIghtstock.com, stock photo site (an affiliate link, a commission may be paid to this blog)

 

 

Non-drug treatment options

Regular exercise, such as a daily walk, jogging trail signencourages the bowel to move more efficiently.

 

 

Experts recommend changes of food choices as a first step to symptom control.

 

 

 

The Cleveland Clinic offers these general guidelines on eating with IBS.

  • Limiting alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, fat, and gas-producing foods may benefit many with IBS.
  • Avoiding or eliminating milk products, fiber, and/or gluten may be considered next if symptoms persist.

cup of milk, plate of bread

 

 

Some studies show a low FODMAP diet is especially helpful for bloating whether diarrhea or constipation is the major problem. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut.

Stanford University Medical Center provides this  Low FODMAP Diet
(FODMAP=Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols) 

FODMAPs are found in various  fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, dairy, and sweeteners so it can be challenging to know what’s acceptable and what’s not. Using a list such as this one or working with a knowledgeable dietician can make it easier to find what works for you.

 

Mind based therapies

With IBS, hypersensitive nerves from the gut send pain signals to the brain. Because of this nervous system involvement,  one’s thoughts and emotions can both improve and exacerbate symptoms of IBS.   Psychological therapies are often recommended- CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), hypnotherapy, and psychotherapy.

Drug therapy for IBS

Non -prescription drugs used for IBS include

Both groups may also get help from probiotics.

(These are affiliate links used to support this blog at no additional cost to you.)

Prescription meds available in the United States specifically for IBS include linaclotide, lubiprostone, eluxadoline , and rifaximin. Drugs originally developed for depression, the TCAs and the SSRIs , also are effective.

What to do if you think you may have IBS

Monitor your symptoms carefully, keeping a written record, for 1-2 months. Take this to your doctor for an evaluation. However if you have these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

  • bleeding in bowel movements
  • unexpected weight loss
  • fever
  • profuse diarrhea
  • persistent failure to pass stool
  • severe, disabling pain

 

A primary care doctor-a family medicine or internal medicine doctor- can evaluate these symptoms initially, and decide if referral to a GI specialist, a gastroenterologist , is needed for more specialized testing.

The American College of Gastroenterology offers these resources for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. 

If you have been diagnosed with IBS

Your doctor likely has already recommended some of the measure I have listed above. If not, and your symptoms are not controlled, then you might want to discuss to see if they are appropriate for you.

 

Remember, this information and links are provided for your information and are not endorsement,  advice ,or treatment. I  encourage you to seek care from your personal physician. 

 

I appreciate your sharing  this post on your social media pages.

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Thank you for  viewing  the advertisements and using the affiliate links  that fund this blog; with your  help, we can grow, reach more people, and support worthy causes that bring health and wholeness to people around the world.

26952564_10213093560871954_4239554644472378905_oSincerely, Dr. Aletha 

 

 

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Healthy holiday eating made easy

We all enjoy our holiday traditions of eating and drinking special foods and beverages.  But these  can cause problems for people who need to manage what they eat and drink for medical reasons.

sliced Stollen

 

Nutritional management is a major part of living with these conditions-

  • diabetes and high cholesterol
  • celiac disease/gluten sensitivity
  • nut and other food allergies
  • lactose intolerance
  • overweight/obesity
  • alcohol dependence
  • heart, kidney, and liver dysfunction
  • pregnancy
  • migraine

PRACTICAL TIPS ON PARTY FOOD AND MEAL PLANNING

Planning ahead to manage holiday stress also applies to cooking, entertaining and eating during the holiday season.

If you  plan and prepare holiday meals and parties, remember  some attendees need to avoid or restrict certain types of foods.  a dining table decorated for Christmas

Offer an ample variety of types of food and drinks so  your guests will find something that works for them.

If you have house guests, they will appreciate your asking them about dietary needs or restrictions so you can  have food available to meet their needs.

If you have special needs in regards to food, it may be wise to offer to bring a dish to an event , or take food to eat if you will be someone’s house guest.

According to The American Diabetes Association

“Holidays can be a time of great anxiety for people with diabetes because it is so focused on food.

Don’t let questions about what to eat, how much to eat, and meal timing dampen your holiday. Plan in advance, so you can fend off stress and fully enjoy the day and keep your diabetes management on track.”

Here are the ADA suggestions for Holiday Meal Planning.

Are you worried about gaining weight from holiday meals, or trying to maintain a weight you have worked to achieve? Then try these

Top Holiday Healthy Eating Hacks

from Charmaine Gregory, M.D. at Fervently Fit 

“There is a huge amount of power in being mindful with your eating during this holiday season. “

HEALTHY HOLIDAY EATING MADE EASY

Try these Edible Christmas Gifts from Dr. Diana, an allergy doctor who blogs about cooking.

decorated Christmas cookies

 Delicious gluten free recipes from PositiveHealthWellness

apples, oranges, and walnuts

Addiction Hope 

offers advice for those with eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder )

” Eating disorders are not about food, it is about the underlying issues which can be triggered by anxiety and stress. Holidays can bring on both increased stress and anxiety and can be difficult for individuals to manage. When a person is in an active eating disorder, there are various ways to cope with the holidays.”

Read more at

Navigating the Holidays with a Food Addiction: 

 Splurge-Worthy Gifts for tea lovers everywhere at Adagio Teas. (affiliate link)

 

 

Find and enjoy

Christmas jazz piano album coverChristmas music on iTunes