Are Your Bowels Irritable? It’s IBS Awareness Month

The cause of IBS remains unknown. For too long, IBS sufferers were dismissed by physicians, ignored by researchers, and left to suffer in silence. In recent years this situation has changed dramatically, with a rising awareness of the profound differences lifestyle modifications can make. As part of IBS Awareness Month, the patient self-help organization now celebrates over a decade of providing information, support, and immediate tangible help for Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers. If you have IBS, you are not alone, says founder and best-selling author of Eating for IBS, Heather Van Vorous. Living with IBS doesnt mean living in misery. There are numerous strategies people can use to prevent all IBS symptoms, and a happy healthy lifestyle is absolutely possible. Though IBS is often portrayed as the punch line to a joke, its no laughing matter. People with IBS need to hear that their suffering is completely unnecessary. Though IBS patients report using nearly 300 different types of prescription and over-the-counter medications in attempts to find relief, many are now discovering (and research studies are supporting) that non-drug approaches to the disorder are far more effective and safer. Specifically, patients find success with: – the groundbreaking IBS dietary guidelines and recipes from the book Eating for IBS, a best-seller for over a decade that has set the American IBS diet standards – organic medical foods such as Heathers Tummy Care products, which are keyed to specific IBS symptoms, including: prebiotic acacia senegal soluble fiber for diarrhea or constipation; enteric coated peppermint & fennel oil capsules for pain and bloating, recommended by Dr. Oz; and high volatile oil medicinal strength fennel and peppermint teas for bloating, gas, and pain. – gut-directed hypnotherapy, an approach IBS researchers have actually called a cure – emotional support via IBS communities such as the message boards and Facebook group Self-help management for IBS has proven so successful that physicians and dietitians are embracing these approaches, and referring patients to resources such as IBS Awareness Month spreads the news that IBS patients are now getting the help they need, not just a diagnosis. Theres no end to IBS on the horizon, but there are many healthy ways to successfully manage – and even prevent – all Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.

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IBS victims suffer in silence

Chris Brecka, owner of  Healthy Creations Bakery on Dougall Avenue in Windsor,  frequently handles special diet requests from her customers. (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / Windsor Star files)

The chronic condition can reoccur and interfere with a persons lifestyle. Typical symptoms: Can include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and changes in bowel habits, from sudden onset diarrhea to constipation. Symptoms are usually relieved following a bowel movement. In some cases, IBS occurs after an illness involving fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Bleeding and persistent severe pain are not symptoms of IBS and may indicate other problems. If you have these symptoms, it is important to tell your doctor. Talk to a physician before starting any kind of treatment. Cause: There is no specific cause, EatRight Ontario notes. Many with IBS appear to have a hypersensitive colon. A variety of factors can contribute to IBS, including worry and emotional stress. Certain foods and medicines can trigger colon spasms and cause symptoms associated with IBS. Reducing symptoms: A regular healthy eating pattern is important, EatRight Ontario advises. Not overeating, especially fatty foods, is an important first step.

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