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Irritable bowel syndrome

This chronic condition is a combination of attacks of diarrhoea and

intermittent constipation. It can involve disturbance of muscular
movement in the large intestine. The cause of irritable bowel
syndrome (IBS) is unknown but the disorder can be aggravated by
stress, and may be linked to sensitivity to particular foods. ther
symptoms of IBS include abdominal cramps, bloating, and passage of
mucus with the faeces.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterised by
recurrent irritation and inflammation of the large
intestine (bowel), resulting in abdominal bloating and
pain that is relieved by bowel movements. ! functional
disorder with no evidence of accompanying structural defect in the intestines, IBS is one
of the most common gastro"intestinal disorders.
#re$uent signs and symptoms of IBS%
&ramp"like pain in the middle or to the side of the lower abdomen
'ain usually relieved by bowel movements
(oose of more fre$uent painful bowel movements
)iarrhoea and constipation, usually alternating
Symptoms of upset stomach, flatulence, nausea, loss of appetite
*eadache, backache
+ectal pain
,arying degrees of an-iety or depression
.-cessive secretion of colonic mucus
&auses of IBS%
(it is important to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis of IBS so that any other
conditions can be ruled out)
)isturbed bacterial balance as a result of antibiotic or antacid usage. !ntibiotics
wipe out the friendly as well as unfriendly bacteria, disturbing normal gut ecology.
!ntacids decrease hydrochloric acid in the stomach / which is necessary for proper
digestion and also destroys unfriendly bacteria in the stomach.
(a-ative abuse. (a-atives are irritants that work by triggering forceful contractions
(peristalsis) of the intestines in the body0s efforts to purge these offending
substances. (a-ative abuse can damage the intestinal lining and result in poor
absorption of nutrients.
Stress and emotional conflict that results in an-iety or depression. Stress disrupts
the secretion of the body0s digestive factors (hydrochloric acid and pancreatic
en1ymes). IBS attacks are often preceded by significant stress, obsessive worry
about everyday problems, marital tension, fear of loss or death of a loved one.
#ood allergy. !ppro-imately two thirds of patients with IBS have at least one food
allergy. 2ost common allergens are wheat and dairy products.
)ietary factors. .-cessive consumption of tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, and sugar.
.-cessive consumption of refined sugar may be the most important contributing fact
to IBS. ! diet high in sugar $uickly raises blood glucose levels, causing a sharp
decrease in intestinal peristalsis (rhythmic contraction of the intestines that propels
food through the digestive tract). Since sugar is primarily digested in the first
sections of the small intestine, this portion of the digestive tract is constantly
ordered to stop contracting and eventually becomes atonic (paralysed). 3hen
partially digested food sits in the small intestine, bacteria have an abnormally long
time to feed, resulting in bacterial overgrowth, leading to bloating and flatulence.
+isk increases with%
Stress% disrupts digestive secretions
)isease"promoting diet% a diet based on high intake of red meat (saturated fat),
processed foods, hydrogenated fats and sugar, with little consumption of fresh
vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains which promote gut health /
fibre, vitamins, minerals, antio-idants and essential fatty acids.
)rug therapy% in addition to antibiotics, which wipe out good gut bacteria, numerous
commonly used drugs irritate the intestinal lining, eg la-atives, non"steroidal
anti"inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
.-cess alcohol consumption% alcohol is an irritant that increases gut permeability to
to-ins and potentially allergenic foods. In addition, alcohol increases the adrenal
gland0s secretion of stress hormones, including cortisol, which disrupt digestive
Smoking% nicotine stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete stress hormones.
#atigue, over"work% both significantly increase stress.
'oor physical fitness% physical e-ercise reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels and
increases levels of mood"elevating beta"endorphins, thus decreasing an-iety and
ther family members with IBS% family members typically share eating patterns and
may also share behavioural patterns, ie reacting to stressful situations by shutting off
the production of digestive factors.
IBS 'reventative measures%
!void caffeine, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and simple sugars (refined foods)
4et ade$uate sleep. 'oor sleep $uality correlates with an increase in both the
severity and fre$uency of IBS symptoms.
)on0t smoke
&hoose a health"promoting diet rich in whole, unprocessed, preferably organic
goods, especially plant foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts /
especially walnuts), and cold water fish (salmon, mackerel etc)
Increase dietary fibre from fruit and vegetable sources / wheat and other grains are
among the most commonly implicated foods in malabsorption and allergic conditions.
In IBS, a condition in which the intestines are irritated and highly susceptible to
potentially allergenic proteins leaking into the general circulation, food allergy is
fre$uently a significant factor.
Identify and eliminate allergenic foods. !ppro-imately two"thirds of people with IBS
have at least one food allergy / related allergy symptoms include palpitations,
fatigue, e-cessive sweating, and headaches. 2ost common are dairy products so
replace with goats milk and cheese and avoid products from a cow.
5utritional supplements%
'robiotics% #riendly bacteria are needed to repopulate the intestines. 'robiotics
perform numerous functions essential for intestinal health including metaboli1ing
nutrients, vitamins, drugs, hormones and carcinogens6 synthesi1ing food for intestinal
cells6 preventing unfriendly organisms from attaching to and coloni1ing the mucosal
lining of the digestive tract6 and stimulating normal immune responses. 'robiotics
compete with, thereby preventing coloni1ation of the overgrowth of normally benign
organisms such as candida albicans.
#ibre% use fibre derived from fruit and vegetable sources, not potentially allergenic
("glutamine% a ma7or metabolic fuel for the intestinal cells, maintains the villi / the
absorptive surface through which we absorb nutrients
B &omple-% needed for proper muscle tone in the gastro"intestinal tract.
5!4 (5"acetylglucosamine)% a ma7or constituent of the intestinal lining and of the
barrier layer that protects the intestinal lining from digestive en1ymes and other
potentially damaging intestinal contents.
)igestive en1ymes (with pancreatin)% To aid in protein digestion and prevention of
leaky gut syndrome. !lso aids in reducing inflammation
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