Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) seems to be everywhere! Certainly it is one of the most common things we hear our patients say they have been diagnosed with or are suffering from, but what is it? How would I know if I had it? How can you help control the symptoms?
IBS is defined as ‘a common condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.’.
Most people who suffer with IBS start suffering from it in their 20s or 30s. It is a very common condition that can affect up to 1 in 5 people, although not all of them report their symptoms to anyone.
You may have IBS if you suffer from any of the following symptoms;
- wind and/or bloating
- diarrhoea or constipation, or both
- low abdominal pain/back pain, which may ease after opening the bowels or be accompanied by a change in bowel habit or stool appearance
- passing mucus
- feeling the need to open the bowels even after having just been to the toilet
- a feeling of urgency to get to the toilet
- a feeling that your symptoms are worse after eating
The most common symptoms are bouts of pain associated with either diarrhoea or constipation; sometimes these symptoms appear after eating certain foods or at times of high stress. Usually the symptoms can be relieved by passing a stool.
No-one is totally sure what causes IBS, although 10% of sufferers develop it after a stomach infection. There is some evidence that an IBS sufferer’s digestive tract has twice the amount of contractions compared to someone who does not suffer any symptoms, this has the effect of moving any food eaten faster through their body. Sufferer’s bowel muscles may also have an increased reaction to corticotrophin hormone which is released when we are stressed which would fit with many IBS sufferers reports that their symptoms are worse when they are under stress.
The best thing to do is to visit your GP as they symptoms listed above can have many causes, an osteopath will also be able to help you understand your symptoms. The diagnosis of IBS is one of exclusion which means that your GP may send you for tests to rule out other conditions. If the tests are clear and your symptoms persist then it is likely that you have IBS.
Your doctor may recommend medications to help with the symptoms, but there are several things you can do to help with the symptoms.
- Take regular exercise; the movement you generate can help with the passage of food through your body.
- Keep a food diary to see if your symptoms are affected by foods you have eaten the same day or the day before.
- Eat regular meals, chew your food well and avoid eating late at night (all these things help with digestion).
- Try to identify if stress has an impact on your symptoms and take steps to address the stressors. Speaking to a counsellor may help.
For more detailed help with more specific symptoms please refer to the NICE guidelines which can be found at http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/11927/40608/40608.pdf
Osteopaths are experts at using the body’s structure (bones, joints, muscles and nerves) to change people’s symptoms. Osteopathy is a proven method to help relieve the symptoms of digestive problems, many people who see an osteopath get great relief from their symptoms.
At Align Body Clinic we use several methods to help people who may be experiencing problems with their digestion;
- Direct massage of the abdomen to help with passage of food or to help relax areas of the digestive system that are in spasm easing the symptoms of diarrhoea or constipation.
- Spinal joint mobilisation which may help modify the nerve signals which are more frequent in sufferers of IBS.
- As well as relief of functional symptoms, some of our patients find osteopathy relaxing and the improved feeling of well-being associated with treatment helps them to cope better with the daily stresses that may contribute to their symptoms.
Do you want to know what is causing your pain and if we can help? Why not take advantage of our new patient assessment introductory offer to get you started towards a tailor made recover plan for only £19.
If you have any questions regarding any symptoms you are experiencing, or if you want to have an informal, confidential chat then please call Sheena Harper on 07753 809362 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Align our focus in on providing expert, up to date care to patients in Bath and the surrounding areas to help them relieve their pain and achieve the most active life possible. Here are just a few of the ways we do this;
- We support your recovery, tailoring your treatment to your goals and a pace that works for you
- We combine exercise and hands on treatment giving you control over your recovery
- Our team of friendly, experienced osteopaths are available when you need us
- Our treatment is clinically based, practical and delivers tangible results
- We offer a low cost new patient assessment for just £19 so you can see for yourself who we are and how we work, with no obligation or risk
- We are continually researching new methods of treatment and where appropriate adapting our practices
- We can provide treatment quickly and offer an easy online booking system so you can arrange the help you need when it suits
- We have a suite of exercise resources and advice sheets which you can easily download and use from home
Still unsure? Don’t take our word for it, read some of the feedback from patients about how we have made a difference to their lives below.