Friday, February 1, 2013
Los Angeles Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is a functional disorder, which means that there is no identifiable cause, such as a structural anomaly in the gastrointestinal tract or a disease, that is leading to the onset of the symptoms. This means that treating the condition is difficult, and primarily involves attempting to control the symptoms – this is known as symptomatic treatment, and can often feel as though a trial and error approach is being taken.
Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) depends on the exact form of the disease that has has become manifes. There are three classifications of the condition; these are diarrhoea-predominant IBS, referred to medically as IBS-D, constipation-predominant IBS (which is called IBS-C) or an alternating pattern of constipation and diarrhoea, which is IBS-A. IBS-A is sometimes described as being pain-predominant. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can sometimes develop after an acute infection of the gastrointestinal tract, and this will be described by a specialist as post-infection IBS, or IBS-PI.
Changing your diet is one of the first recommendations that will be made by your doctor, if a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is made, or even if it is simply being considered as a possibility. Many patients with symptoms of IBS find that it can be extremely helpful to change some aspects of their diet, along with a selection of other lifestyle changes. Understanding what causes a flare-up of the condition can help you to dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms.
Before you can start to make changes to your diet and see the benefits of this, you will need to work out which foods aggravate your symptoms. Keeping a food diary is one of the best ways to do this, as it will enable you to identify any foods that cause your symptoms to become worse, or anything that helps to reduce the symptoms of the condition. Your doctor can then help you to identify the most likely triggers, and provide advice about how to avoid these food items in future. However, you may be able to reintroduce these foods at a later date, carefully and following the advice of your doctor and a dietitian.
If you have been diagnosed with IBS, then it is highly likely that you will have been advised to increase the amount of fiber in your diet, with the exact type of treatment depending on what type of IBS you are afflicted with. There are two types of fiber, and which one you need is determined by the symptoms that you present with, so don’t assume that everyone with IBS is eating a very similar diet. What works for one person may not necessarily work for you, and could even end up making your symptoms more severe.
The types of fiber are described as soluble, which your body is able to digest, and insoluble, which cannot be digested. If you experience primarily symptoms of diarrhoea, then you should cut down on the amount of insoluble fiber in your diet. Insoluble fiber is found in cereals, whole grain products such as bread, and the majority of nuts and seeds. The skin on most fruit and vegetables may also aggravate your symptoms, though the rest of the fleshy part is perfectly fine to eat.
If your symptoms are mostly those of constipation, then you should increase the amount of soluble fiber that you eat, and also drink more water. Both of these will help to move food through your digestive tract and reduce the pain that you are most likely experiencing. Foods that contain a high level of soluble fiber include fruit (particularly apples and bananas), vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, barley and oats.
Altering what makes up your diet is only part of the solution. There are also a number of other changes that you should consider in order to minimise your symptoms. Eating regularly is important, so don’t miss meals or leave long gap – if you are going to be out of the house for hours, then think about taking some snacks with you. Take your time when you are eating, as rushing may aggravate your symptoms.
Increase your fluid intake. Water and any other non-caffeinated drinks should make up at least eight cups a day of your fluid intake, while caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea or cola should comprise no more than three cups of your fluid intake each day. Alcohol and fizzy drinks should be avoided as much as possible. Although exclusion diets are now becoming increasingly popular (cutting out a food group entirely, with the most common being dairy products), this should only be done on the advice, and under the supervision of, a qualified dietitian.
Exercise can certainly help to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. If you are not certain of the best form of exercise for you, seek advice from your doctor, who will be able to make some suggestions. Thirty minutes of exercise at least three times a week should be your aim, and it should be strenuous enough to raise your heart rate. Brisk walks, especially uphill, would be a good example.
You have probably heard of probiotics – these are dietary supplements, mostly yogurts, that contain live cultures of bacteria. These help to keep your digestive system healthy and can improve the symptoms of IBS. There is no scientific evidence to support this yet, but many patients do report a reduction in symptoms.
Reducing the levels of stress you experience can also have a dramatic impact on the severity of your IBS symptoms. Try a variety of relaxation techniques, or maybe speak to your doctor about the possibility of counselling.
It is imperative that you see your colorectal surgeon if you believe you have any of the forms of IBS. There are many doctors in the Los Angeles area and we highly recommend you schedule your appointment as soon as possible to help you treat the symptoms of IBS.