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The Grumbling Gut

There are a large number of diseases of the bowl and they all have different symptoms, but there is one constant with all of these diseases and that is inflammation of the bowl.


Enough of the bad news - there must be some good news, right? Correct. There is some great, although little-publicised news for IBS sufferers. A clinical study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, reported long-lasting, side-effect free results, with a 64-76% improvement rate for the IBS patients in the treatment group.


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 These diseases, such as inflammatory bowl disease (IBD), crohn's, colitis, etc., have inflammation at the source of their problems. Inflammation is the bodies' response to injury or illness, in the case of these diseases the inflammatory response turns on the bodies' digestive track and actually attacks it. This means it is an auto-immune disease. There are only two areas where your intestinal system can go astray, either your bacteria or your chemistry or it could be both. Irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) is a general term used for all the conditions in this class. IBS has no one cause and no one cure.

A study titled ‘IBS in the Real World' - IBS Research Findings by IFFGD, August 2002, found that the effects of IBS can seriously effects sufferers quality of life and functionality.

IBS symptoms include stomach cramping and pain, abdominal bloating and distention and either diarrhea, constipation, or any of these symptoms combined at different stages of the day or week.

Let's take a look at the intestinal areas that can go wrong. The gastrointestinal system needs an optimum level of good bacteria or your chemistry will change. The main reason you lose your bacterial balance is the use of antibiotics, unfortunately we sometimes need these drugs in order to get infections under control, but the side effect of this type of medication alters the bacterial balance in the intestines. Once the body has lost its bacterial balance it takes some time for the disease to set in. The inflammatory response that the body sends to the intestines is designed to heal what ever damage it encounters. It can not heal a lack of beneficial bacteria so the inflammatory response can not do what it is designed for and instead begins to attack the intestines. Now that the damage is getting worse and the beneficial bacterial level is low, your chemistry begins to change and the foods you were able to eat before become your worst nightmare. You are now developing intolerance's or an allergic reaction to certain foods and symptoms begin appearing at an alarming rate. This is the most humbling and humiliating disease ever, because in many cases having to run to the rest room 10 to 25 times per day is common. 1 in ever 5 people has this disease and the majority is women. Stress is also a major player in all the IBS diseases and the more stress you feel during the day the worse your disease will get.

Let's look at juicing; the body has trouble with the hard fibers in most fruits and vegetables due to the inflamed gastrointestinal tract that is no longer functioning properly, juicing actually removes the hard fibers in the necessary foods and still gives you the number two recovery need and that is antioxidants. You must take in a large number of antioxidants every day to fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules or atoms that are missing an electron, antioxidants are either molecules or atoms that have an extra electron. You can not escape from free-radicals and the damage they do, they are in air and water pollution, in the junk foods we eat, and even in the medications we take hence the words "side effects". Free-radicals go around attacking healthy cells in our bodies trying to steal the electron; anti-oxidants will give up their extra electron to a free-radical which in turn stops the attack on healthy cells. Now you can see the importance of taking in a large number of anti-oxidants every day. Most fruits and vegetable have anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 anti-oxidants each, which does not seem like a lot compared to the amount of free-radicals you are taking into your body every single day; about a billion. Vitamins and minerals also contain antioxidants so supplementation is important. You need to do some research and try to find fresh supplements; they tend to lose their potency the longer they sit on the self.

Lets talk about the third important step in your recovery; control of chronic inflammation. It has been proven that free-radicals are involved in every disease and illness out there but it has also been proven that chronic inflammation is also involved in the vast majority of diseases and illness. Scientists are calling chronic inflammation the silent killer. When there is any type of injury, trauma or disease, no matter what the action is, there is a reaction from our body to protect and heal itself - inflammation. We need inflammation in order to heal, its basic function is to make the tiny vessels in our tissue become larger so the white blood cells, that normally don't fit, can now squeeze into these small spaces and begin the healing process. With IBS the inflammation response becomes angry, and instead of helping the body, it turns on itself creating chronic inflammation.

Aside from changes in diet, one of the most important things an IBS sufferer can do is to get some regular exercise. Exercise is vital to the IBS sufferer for two specific reasons. First, exercise makes your body stronger. Exercise strengthens the immune system, making it less likely that other illnesses or disorders will occur.

Nearly half (47%) of IBS sufferers reported daily symptoms, with 43% experiencing severe symptoms. If you suffer from IBS, the good news is that you are not alone, with between 10-22% of the population being affected. The bad news is that IBS can be a seriously unpleasant and persistent condition.

All the self-help tips in this article have come from IBS sufferers who have found a way to control their irritable bowels. Before trying any form of self-help, please make sure that you have your doctor's approval, and do check that anything you try will not interfere with any medication you are taking.

Kim, who also suffers from bad diarrhea, says: 'I tried taking digestive enzymes with acidophilus and found significant relief within three days. I am not afraid to eat now, but find that I still cannot eat very much refined sugar or high fibre vegetables. I have also added a cup or two per day of peppermint and chamomile tea. When I do have an episode it occurs late in the day and by the next morning I am feeling back to normal.'

Fully a third (34%) of IBS sufferers report loss of bowel control which has impacted significantly on daily life, causing frequent absences at work or school as well as missed leisure activities.





About the author:
Sophie Lee has had IBS for 14 years. She runs the IBS Tales
website at http://www.ibstales.com where you can read hundreds
of stories and tips from IBS sufferers.

Second, exercise is a good way to relieve stress. Many doctors believe that IBS has psychological origins. When a mind is under unusual amounts of stress, it is more prone to mental problems. Mental problems, in turn, lead to physical problems. The symptoms of IBS often begin when a person is exposed to too much stress. Stress has not been proven to cause IBS; but it certainly makes it worse. Because of this, anyone with the syndrome should do his utmost to reduce his stress levels. Exercising, of course, is one of the finest ways to accomplish this.

There are ways in which to help yourself and believe it or not traditional treatments help this disease the most, the medications your physicians give to you all have different side effects that may cause you more complications. People must try a number of different things in order to find some relief from this horrible condition. Medication can work for a short time but offers little help for the long term due to the side effects; IBS can be with you for years and once you have it, even if you get better, your chances of reoccurrence are high. Your body has become allergic to some foods or types of foods, or it can be a large number of foods, it is extremely hard to know what to do or how to find the foods causing this condition. There is hope in using traditional herbs and fruits, many people have been turning to these because they have been effective in their long term recovery. A lot of these can be found in your local health food store. The first thing that needs to be done is to increase the level of your good bacteria, acidophilus supplements can aid in the re-introduction of beneficial bacteria. Cat's claw is used to correct problems of imbalance in the small intestine, it helps to normalize beneficial microbes and reverse intestinal dysbiosis. A probiotic is an organism that is referred to as good or friendly bacteria. When they are ingested they help to maintain a healthy intestinal tract.

Finding a way to control your level of stress is absolutely essential for your recovery; maintaining a low level of stress will help keep the disease from re-occurring later because once you have IBS you are always at high risk of it coming back to haunt you; your intestines will always be very sensitive to any unhealthy level of stress. Quite a few people find that Yoga is very calming and relaxing; yoga is designed to relieve stress, and calm the body and mind. There is more than likely a yoga class in your area.

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The digestive system is actually a very complex organ that has a finely tuned team of mechanical reactions mixed with chemicals. The team goes into action once food enters the mouth where it mixes with saliva, the food then moves to the stomach where it meets with digesting enzymes and other chemicals. The food mixes with the stomach secretions that are released; the mixture now moves into the small intestine, this is where new team members enter into the game. The liver and pancreas are now in action releasing digestive enzymes that break down the complex carbohydrates, fats and protein into sugars, simple fats and amino acids; these are now absorbed by the small intestine. The next team member is the large intestine or colon, the responsibility of this team player is to break down undigested food, fiber and water, as this mixture moves through the colon it is dehydrated by the colon cells becoming solid as it moves and turning into stool.

 
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People who exercise regularly report a feeling of well-being after their sessions. What happens is this: the brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers and antidepressants, so anyone in physical or mental pain will benefit from their release. Exercise isn't only good for you; it makes you feel good as well!

Scientists have also been in a buzz about the amount of antioxidants this fruit contains. The Mangosteen fruit juice has an amazing 25,000 antioxidants. Science has proven that this fruit has the most powerful and the largest number of antioxidants in nature to date. The Mangosteen fruit juice has been providing thousands of people with medicinal benefits.

IBS Seriously Impacts Daily Life Dr. Maia Dodds Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a crippling condition for 43% of IBS sufferers who report severe symptoms.

Mina also found that dietary change helped control her symptoms, alongside traditional medication: 'I've made a number of changes to my diet. I've eliminated milk and mostly any dairy, fried foods, sugar for the most part, pop, alcohol, potato chips, spicy food, rice, pasta and bread. Most recently I'm eliminating flour. But my best friend for the last couple of years has been Imodium Quick Dissolve tablets. I don't ever leave home without them. I just have to make sure I don't overdo it. If I ever become immune to the wonder drug I am gonna be a real mess!'

Calcium tablets Linda, who suffers from severe diarrhea, says: 'What has helped me for more than two years is calcium carbonate, an over-the-counter supplement. I take three tablets a day, one at each meal. The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals. The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium you may have some gas or indigestion, but this usually goes away after taking a regular dose for a few days.'

Fiber, water and yoga Pam, who struggles with constipation, has developed a combination of things which work for her: 'I drink Metamucil (psyllium fibre) every day and try to relax, pray or meditate, even do a little yoga. The more I make myself relax and take time to de-stress the better I can manage my problem. I know time for yourself is very hard to come by sometimes but I have to if I'm going to manage this. I try to drink at least three bottles of water a day. This is also hard sometimes but I have to take care of me the best I can. I also take a mild anti-depressant. This has helped a bunch in my stress department and in turn has helped my IBS.'

Let me summarize for you: reduce your stress level, improve your level of beneficial bacteria, consume large quantities of anti-oxidants, and take a natural anti-inflammatory. All of the above will help you to recover from these debilitating and humbling diseases.

Soluble versus insoluble fiber Some nutritionists believe that IBS sufferers' intestines react differently to soluble and insoluble fiber, and this has been Stu's experience: 'After trying all kinds of drugs and healthy eating, my pains were still there. I found by accident that it wasn't so much what I ate but whether I ate it on a full stomach or not. My failsafe is pasta on an empty stomach, I get no reaction - it is soluble fibre that settles the colon apparently. I quickly searched on the internet for recipes high in soluble fibre and I have improved. Most significantly though I am on no medication and this puts me in control of the IBS, not the other way around. I think this is important as stress certainly can trigger the symptoms off. I don't avoid insoluble fibre as it is essential for the body, but I recommend that you eat it on a full stomach.'

If you have lived with IBS for a while, you may also be aware that there is no targeted medical treatment for IBS, only management approaches such as dietary changes and end-agents, such as laxatives and anti-diarrheal agents.

These patients were treated using Chinese medical herbs (available in capsules). Not only were the positive results dramatic, they were also long-lasting, with patients reporting significantly improved IBS symptoms 14 weeks after treatment.

A change in diet is often necessary for IBS sufferers. By eating more fiber-rich foods such as apples, peaches, cabbage, and broccoli, an IBS sufferer can reduce the impact of both constipation and diarrhea. Food items such as carrots, peas, whole-wheat bread, and pineapples are good choices as well. On the other hand, alcohol and caffeine-rich beverages should be avoided.

If you suffer from constipation rather than diarrhea, you could try magnesium supplements instead, as these can have a slight laxative effect. Digestive enzymes and probiotics

If you are unhappy with your current IBS treatment approach, again, you are not alone, with less than one-third of IBS sufferers reporting satisfaction with the drugs and remedies they use to treat their ISB. 62% of those taking prescription drugs experienced side effects, and 45% of prescription drug takers reported moderate to severe side effects.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Dr. Maia Dodds is the author of ‘The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Improvement Program' See www.irritablebowelsyndromeip.com for details, further research and articles. Write directly at maia@irritablebowelsyndromeip.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - .

The best solution is a natural food source that inhibits the inflammation and pain problems that are associated with COX 2 without disturbing the COX 1 that is critical in protecting the stomach lining and the bloods ability to clot.

Stress and IBS Daniel believes that his symptoms are related to his emotions and stress: 'I thought that when I was stuck on the toilet, experiencing the most severe cramps, thinking I was about to pass out from the pain, feeling like I was about to throw up, I was the only one. I'm still trying to work it out but I believe it has a lot to do with my psychological state. I say this because although I don't get too stressed out at any one moment, I do have general worries about money and life. I tend to find when I'm not worrying about these things I don't get the pain as much, if at all. It's easier said than done of course, I can't just stop worrying about money or my future, but being aware of these things seems to help - being optimistic and knowing that everything is only temporary. I have been taking Colpermin (peppermint capsules) as a preventative which often helps and for a while I took painkillers which I think helped.'

If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you will know how difficult it is to treat. Doctors can be dismissive of IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating, and when treatment is offered it may only help for a short while before the distressing symptoms return.

Inflammation starts with the COX 2 enzyme. COX 1 preserves platelet function (needed for blood clotting) and protects the stomach lining. COX 2 causes inflammation and pain. COX 2 has been found in brain and spinal cord tumors as well as in the brains of Alzheimer's patents causing degeneration of the brain tissue from the chronic inflammation.

Sufferers often find that they have to deal with the symptoms themselves, through self-help methods and supplements, rather than by using conventional medicines. However, this does not mean that there is no hope of improvement. By sharing their experiences, sufferers can learn a lot about what really helps to ease IBS.

If you have had IBS for years, you would be familiar with its daily effects. As a primary health care provider, I am all too familiar with the disappointments and limitations that IBS brings to my patients lives.

Unfortunately however, a large portion of IBS sufferers find that their condition cannot be fully cured. The medical profession has been unable to pinpoint exactly the causes of the syndrome. Thus, a cure has not been developed. In the absence of such a cure, however, the best thing and IBS sufferer can do is to get the best medical help available, as well as make relevant lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes may not be able to make IBS go away completely, but they will make the symptoms easier to cope with.

A final word Lastly, please do make sure that you have been officially diagnosed with IBS and had your symptoms fully investigated before trying any self-help methods. As Joe found out, bowel symptoms can be due something other than IBS: 'I was diagnosed with IBS, but I went to get a second opinion. They did an ultrasound followed by a barium follow-through which showed major inflammation and blockage of my small intestine. The final diagnosis is Crohn's disease. It's a pity they didn't catch it before I was seriously ill, instead of fobbing me off with excuses of 'It's IBS, there's no cure so live with it!''

Looking at your diet Laura describes how a close examination of her diet helped her IBS: 'I was placed on every kind of medication, and sometimes they worked in the short term, sometimes they didn't work at all. The doctor finally suggested trying to alter my diet in cycles, and we discovered that eating meat was my problem. I became a vegetarian and no longer have constant problems. Sometimes I even go years without any pain at all. It's worth all the effort you put into it when you finally feel better.'

Jacob Mabille writes for Free Health Articles where you can find more health tips and related articles. You may republish this article only if you retain resource box and active hyperlinks.


 
 
     
 
 





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