Cures For IBS

Cures For IBS

Many Conditions Share One Name

What can doctors do when presented with intractable symptoms, which do not seem to be life threatening? Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a convenient peg on which to hang the hats of a large number of presenting complaints. It is true that a vast majority of apparent IBS cases are due to careless eating, unusual intolerances, and because of mental stress as well, but it is dangerous to rule out serious damage to the epithelial lining of the intestines without checking to make sure, no matter how unlikely this may seem to be. IBS is not related to any serious condition, and does not lead to any of them either, but the symptoms can be so similar that they seem related.

Fortunately, a biopsy of the intestinal lining is a relatively simple though invasive procedure. A microscopic record of the state of the innermost layer of the intestinal wall, will also be invaluable for comparison over a course of time, should IBS symptoms persist for a long time. Cancer is such a feared word that some doctors try and avoid the mention to their patients as far as possible. However, there is no escape from the remote possibility that apparent IBS may be a sign of malignancy in the digestive tract. Early intervention is the mantra of choice for such cases. Ulcerative colitis is another disorder which a biopsy can conclusively distinguish from IBS.

This does not mean that every possible case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome must submit to biopsy right away. Regular meals free of strong spices and excessive fats, removal of pathogenic microbes that may infect the intestines, and stress reduction, could be adequate in combination, or even singly to take care of the problem. A trial-and-error approach to rule out gluten intolerance is possible for folk who do not eat away from home, or who are not particularly disposed to processed foods, but a doctor can always order blood tests to rule out celiac disease in any case. It is nearly impossible to separate IBS from celiac disease on the basis of reported symptoms and clinical examinations alone.

Suggestions that IBS symptoms might be due to an entirely different and underlying medical condition, do not mean that no one can have Irritable Bowel Syndrome pure and simple. It is entirely possible that the intestines appear to be entirely normal, but that their muscular contractions are not coordinated. Severe and prolonged contraction can cause the abdominal discomfort that characterizes IBS, and the passage of waste can be affected as well. This is why both constipation and diarrhea may be experienced by IBS sufferers in equal measures. The colon may malfunction even though it appears normal in scans.

IBS causes extreme distress, but the solutions are simple and most effective. Switching to whole cereal products, a fiber supplement, and plenty of water, can be enough to soften stools in many cases, and to ease their passage. Shedding excess weight and regular exercise can work wonders for IBS as well. The best a physician can do for IBS is to diagnose the condition: most of the treatment is up to patients. However, a nutrition and diet expert can help to a great extent by suggesting meal plans which can keep IBS under control, and prevent it from disrupting one’s schedules.

The reverse is true for the stress component of IBS. Most patients want to try and deal with the condition on their own, or even deny that it exists. It is not clear why people shy away from psychiatric help, but the truth is that talking things over with a trained professional can do more to calm the mind than what the average can manage alone. Many IBS cases recur just because sufferers unconsciously lapse in to stressful ways unknowingly. Working women have traditionally been most vulnerable, with the twin pressures of careers and managing homes. Raising children can be most demanding, especially without active help from a spouse, and piling work pressures on top of caring for energetic youngsters, opens the floodgates for IBS. Menstruation irregularities can heighten IBS symptoms and distress. Physicians are generally too busy to insist on psychiatric references for their IBS patients, though such expertise can be most productive in managing the condition.

Alternative therapies, though they lack scientific bases, have found supporters amongst some IBS patients and their doctors as well. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are worth trying, as long as patients consult with their physicians before trying any of these approaches to relieve IBS symptoms. It is important to rely on expert practitioners and reliable sources of supply, as the field is so full of quacks and products with harmful ingredients.

IBS is common in conventional society. Many people suffer in silence or try and treat the condition on their own. However, bearing the discomfort, or trying to relieve the symptoms in an amateurish way, generally make things worse. Laxatives are favorites amongst people who try self-treatment for IBS, but this is a dangerous habit, if used without medical supervision. It is best to see a doctor, and to submit to the necessary examinations and tests as soon as possible. The proverbial stitch in time pays off handsomely when it comes to IBS.