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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Reduce Stress, Add Fibre, Avoid Trigger Foods & Consult a Physician

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Reduce Stress, Add Fibre, Avoid Trigger Foods & Consult a Physician

IBS affects thousands of people worldwide. It is a common syndrome that has in recent years experienced an upsurge in media coverage and attention.


The signs of IBS are bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and cramping. For most the symptoms are mild. For some it can debilitating.Unlike the other intestinal problems such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease, no inflammatory changes occur in the intestines, making people with IBS less likely to contract colorectal cancer.

The problem with IBS is that the onset of its symptoms can suddenly occur, usually at the most inconvenient time. One of the major factors associated with IBS is stress.Stress increases intestinal motility, which in turn, can cause IBS-associated problems. Get professional counseling, use biofeedback to control your heart rate, exercise to allow stress to dissipate, or do deep breathing or hypnosis to reduce stress.

In extreme cases anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs can also relieve stress. But the best way to deal with IBS symptoms is through diet.

Foods to add or avoid:

Certain foods are triggers and should be avoided:

  • Garlic and beans
  • Incorporating more fiber into the diet or adding fiber supplements such as Metamucil or Citrucel help bowel function.
  • Probiotics such as acidophilus in tablet form or unsweetened yoghurt with live bacteria help alleviate many of the IBS symptoms.
  • The addition of peppermint is another antispasmodic that is natural and has shown to relax the smooth muscles of the intestines. Peppermint can cause stomach aches so its use should be monitored.

Alternative treatments to be considered are acupuncture, hypnosis and relaxation therapy. Conventional treatments may include anti-diarrheal medicine, such as immodium and anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressants such as Xanax or Prozac. These should only be prescribed by your doctor.

Although some other drugs exist for IBS specifically, many have dangerous side effects and aren’t currently recommended for use by this author. Again consult your physician for updates.