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Are There Different Degrees of IBS? — an article on the Smart Living Network
August 17, 2008 at 2:11 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Are There Different Degrees of IBS?

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What exactly is IBS?

IBS is an acronym for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a condition characterized by a compromised digestion track and intense abdominal pain. The severity of IBS does vary from person to person. Some people only experience IBS sporadically. People with this disorder seem to have digestive systems that are more sensitive to stress and certain foods. However, any damage to the colon as a result of IBS is usually not permanent.

Who Gets IBS?

People over age 50 are less likely to develop IBS for the first time. About 15% of people in North America suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Doctors consider the condition to be more of a disorder than a disease. Cases of IBS have also been found in Japan, India and China.

The Diagnosis

If you feel you may have IBS your doctor will perform an exam and evaluate your reported symptoms. Some of these may include:

  • Feeling gassy
  • Altered bowel habits
  • Abdominal Pains
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling bloated
  • Abdominal Cramping

Sometimes patients experience relief after a bowel movement, but not always. Because the symptoms of IBS can also be the result of other conditions, doctors will tend to test carefully for other health conditions before settling on this diagnosis. You may need other tests like stool analysis or a sigmoidoscopy, in some cases. The sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to view the inside of the lower intestine (colon).

Stressful Symptoms

Doctors agree that stress levels often impact the level of pain people with IBS experience. It is logical to conclude that minimizing stress will be to your advantage. Consciously activating the parasympathetic system in the body can have favorable results in managing stress. See, your blood pressure is lowered when the parasympathetic system is stimulated. Taking long deep breaths will increase the activity of this system and allow the blood to flow freely to your digestive track. This will help regulate stress levels and heal tissue damage. The following methods are also used to limit or decrease stress:

  • Adequate sleep
  • Practicing yoga
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Going for long walks
  • Consistent exercise
  • Journaling
  • Counseling
  • Engaging nature

The digestive track has a vast number of nerves that connect to the brain. If you have ever experienced butterflies when thinking of something special or fearful, this is the reason why. Stressful thoughts can trigger the nerves that cause colon spasms.

Is Prevention Possible?

There has been no hard evidence that supports the prevention of IBS. The cause of the illness is yet unknown. However, self-care is a magnificent way to limit the discomfort that you experience. If you have IBS do yourself a favor and eliminate:

  • Cigarettes
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

Your commitment to making such adjustments can determine the degree of your condition. It is best to comply with the doctors suggestions if your primary goal is improvement. Plus, these sorts of lifestyle changes can have tremendous secondary results.

Sources:

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/digestiveproblems/a/IBS.htm

http://www.webmd.com/ibs/news/200040913/stress-threapy-can-help-irritable-bowel

http://ezinearticles.com/?Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome---What-to-Eat-When-You-Suffer-from-IBS&id=192295

http://stress.about.com/od/otherconditions/a/IBS.htm

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