Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Profile Of An Invisible Illness

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The result was that symptoms among the treated patients improved dramatically. After receiving counseling for the emotional upsets, 89 percent of the patients reported less pain as a result; 96 percent had less diarrhea, 8 percent had less vomiting. Researchers who conducted the study concluded that “the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome were seen as a physical expression of emotions caused by recent loss or ongoing stressful life situations.” (Mind/body health: The effects of attitudes, emotions and relationships) Irritable bowel syndrome is defined as a “painful combination of cramping, diarrhea, and occasional vomiting.” Johns Hopkins Medical School Associate Professor of Behavioral Biology William E. Whitehead has been quoted as stating that the “gastrointestinal tract is particularly susceptible to emotional stress and very readily comes under the influence of external factors and events.” (Mind/body health: The effects of attitudes, emotions and relationships) How does stress and emotion contribute to irritable bowel syndrome ( IBS )? Coordination of the gastrointestinal tract shuts down under stress. “Eating while under stress can result in stomach bloating, nausea, abdominal discomfort or cramping, and even diarrhea.” (Mind/body health: The effects of attitudes, emotions and relationships) What does this mean for Ontarian’s with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? For one it means that patients with IBS who receive adequate treatment for their underlying conditions during the early stages (depression and insomnia being common and also invisible illnesses associated with IBS) should see a reduction in their IBS symptoms. Where can Ontarian’s with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) go for help? This will depend somewhat on how long the symptoms have been present. As mentioned earlier, treatment of underlying syndromes such as depression and insomnia during the early stages of IBS may alleviate the symptoms of IBS. If you have had IBS symptoms for an extended period a gastroenterologist referral from your primary healthcare provider may be required in order to determine the amount of damage (if any) has been done to your digestive tract. Where can Ontarian’s find additional information on irritable bowel syndrome? There are a number of books and online resources available to Ontarian’s with IBS.

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Peppermint may soothe irritable bowel syndrome

Art is as Natural as Sunshine and as Vital as Nourishment

Enter your email address * 1 comments View Comments Photo: Getty Images How about a nice cup of peppermint tea? Do you remember your mother or grandmother offering that simple remedy whenever you complained of a mild stomachache? Over the generations, more and more Americans have caught on to peppermint as a provider of relief. Even those with more serious stomach conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, have turned to peppermint. And recently, scientists have figured out exactly why peppermint works. A study out of Australia that will soon be reported in the journal Pain explained that peppermint activates an anti-pain channel in the colon. Even in cases of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, peppermint contributes to pain relief, according to Dr. Stuart Brierley from the University of Adelaide. This Article Vote Saved My Life In a University news release Brierley added, Our research shows that peppermint acts through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain-sensing fibers, particularly those activated by mustard and chili.” Among the triggers for irritable bowel syndrome are fatty and spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, but Brierley said the connection between what we consume and the onset of pain is complex. He said he is encouraged by the possibility of using peppermint to find a mainstream clinical treatment for IBS, given that it can be such a debilitating condition. The Australian study also looked at whether an IBS patient who at some point has had gastroenteritis can have nerve pain fibers that are heightened, or more susceptible to discomfort. On his website, Dr. Andrew Weil, a longtime practitioner of alternative medicine, said that peppermint often doesnt get its due as a remedy for gastrointestinal complaints because its so familiar and commonplace. Yet in alternative medicine, irritable bowel patients often take enteric-coated capsules of peppermint oil. And peppermint tea is useful for the upper gastrointestinal tract and for relief of heartburn, indigestion and nausea, the site suggested. Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease. 1

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Irritable bowel syndrome: is diet the key?


Is the low FODMAP diet for you? If you suffer from any of the symptoms commonly associated with IBS, it is very important you firstly visit a GP to be assessed for medical conditions such as coeliac disease, ovarian cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Once these have been ruled out, your next best step is to find a dietitian trained in managing the low FODMAP diet. While there are books available to guide people, the diet can be complex and strict at first so it is best done with the help of a professional. There are also a number of other factors you should consider before starting the diet. Firstly, the research found that four out of five people felt the diet was easy to maintain, but Grimm points out that because it requires fundamental dietary change it can put a big imposition on sufferers and their families. Therefore, individuals need to decide if it is the right treatment for them. “It’s onerous, it requires a big commitment, you need to search out the foods that fit with the diet so if you live in a family either you cook for yourself or everyone ends up on the low FODMAP diet with you,” he says. “I think most people would reserve it for the most severely affected patients.” Nutrition Australia Senior Nutritionist Aloysa Hourigan treats some of her IBS patients with the diet and says it has reduced the symptoms and improved quality of life for many of them. “One of my patients was going camping with friends and she was dreading it because her wind was so bad. Within a few weeks of following (the low FODMAP diet) she is now able to function better socially. It minimises symptoms to a level where they are much more controllable,” she says. “It makes good clinical sense.

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IBS is one of the most common disorders diagnosed by doctors. It begins before the age of 35 in about 50 percent of people. “This is a debilitating condition and affects many people on a daily basis, particularly women who are twice as likely to experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” Brierley adds. There is no cure for IBS and it often comes and goes over a person’s lifetime. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases here in the US says there is no specific test for IBS, however many doctors may run tests to be sure you don’t have other diseases. These tests include stool sampling tests, blood tests, x-rays and a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy . Most people diagnosed with IBS control their symptoms with diet, stress management and medicine. A high-fiber die t was once thought to be the best diet for almost everyone with IBS, but recent studies show that isnt true for everyone. Foods such as beans, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peas, onions, and bagels, that can cause minor discomfort in a normal GI tract can cause significant bloating, gas, and abdominal pain in IBS sufferers. For people with constipation, a high-fiber diet of 25 grams daily for women and 38 grams for men is recommended. Other than gastroenteritis and food intolerance, IBS can be brought on by food poisoning, stress, a reaction to antibiotics, and in some cases is genetic. Brierley says “Some people find their symptoms appear after consuming fatty and spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, but it is more complex than that. There appears to be a definite link between IBS and a former bout of gastroenteritis, which leaves nerve pain fibres in a heightened state, altering mechanisms in the gut wall and resulting in ongoing pain.” Unlike other intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, IBS doesn’t cause inflammation or changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer. In Europe and Canada studies show many people who contracted gastroenteritis from contaminated water supplies went on to experience IBS symptoms that persisted for at least eight years. Earlier this year, Mark Pimentel, MD, director of the GI Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, announced his clinical trial showed a two-week course of the antibiotic rifaximin (Xifaxan) helped relieve the symptoms of IBS up to 10 weeks after stopping the medication.

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Researchers identify new drug for treating irritable bowel syndrome with constipation

Approximately one third of IBS patients are diagnosed as having IBS-C. “This is a significant finding and very good news for IBS-C sufferers,” says study leader Dr Stuart Brierley, NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Fellow in the University’s Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory. “IBS affects many people, particularly women, on a daily basis and has a significant impact on their quality of life. Abdominal pain is often the most troubling symptom to IBS patients and has been the most difficult symptom to treat. “The drug is effective in relieving abdominal pain associated with IBS-C and is already available and registered for use by IBS-C patients in the USA and Europe. It is yet to go through the regulatory process in Australia.” The research is a collaboration between the Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory, (University of Adelaide) and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc, the developers of Linaclotide. Linaclotide is a new class of medicine and is the only treatment for IBS-C currently registered with the European Medicines Agency; it is also the first prescription treatment available in over six years for adults with IBS-C in the US. Linaclotide binds the receptor domain of guanylate cyclase-C on the inner lining of the intestines. It is marketed by Ironwood and Forest Laboratories Inc as Linzess- in the US and by Ironwood and Almirall SA as Constella- in Europe. Ironwood has partnerships through which it is conducting clinical trials of Linaclotide in China and Japan. Ironwood is exploring partnership opportunities for advancing Linaclotide in unpartnered territories, including Australia and New Zealand. Dr Brierley, in the Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory, collaborated with Ironwood to further investigate how Linaclotide acts within the gastrointestinal tract to reduce abdominal pain.



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