Up to 15% of adults worldwide live with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disorder that causes digestive distress and sometimes debilitating pain. While doctors are not entirely sure what causes it, there are things you can do to ease symptoms.
With the help of integrative medical professional Kimberley Shine, MD, at Shine Health and Wellness, you can live comfortably with IBS.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. It’s so common, in fact, that it’s the second-leading cause of absenteeism from work, with colds taking the top spot. Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes IBS, but many believe that abnormal movements of the gastrointestinal tract, a breakdown in communication between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, and poor gut health may be to blame.
Some of the most common symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Blood in the stool
- Bad reactions to certain foods
Symptoms can vary from individual to individual. For some sufferers, symptoms can go from excruciating to nonexistent. For other people, symptoms can be consistent.
Strategies for managing IBS
Doctors and researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes IBS, but there are strategies they suggest that can help you manage the condition.
Lifestyle changes and home remedies
Many people with IBS can control their symptoms with lifestyle changes, which are often the first line of defense for IBS patients. They include the following:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid foods that can exacerbate symptoms, such as dairy, gluten, and extremely fibrous foods
- Stay hydrated
- Take a daily probiotic
- Exercise regularly, but not too intensely, as very intense exercise can stress the gut
- Manage stress levels
- Get at least eight hours of sleep
- Minimize the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks
Work with a professional
If you try the above strategies and your symptoms persist, you should discuss your condition with Dr. Shine, who is a digestive health specialist. After a comprehensive physical exam ― and lab testing if needed ― Dr. Shine can provide a range of IBS management strategies. They may include the following:
- Guidance on making the right food choices
- Guidance on implementing an exercise regimen
- Referral to a mental health professional who can help you deal with stress
- Education on healthy sleeping habits
- Holistic treatments, such as acupuncture
With Dr. Shine’s gastrointestinal expertise and functional medicine experience, you can be on your way to feeling better. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Shine Health and Wellness today.