What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
When something doesn’t feel right in your gut, it’s usually a sign that something isn’t right in your life. Gut feelings can be a message from the brain as much as from the belly. The symptoms of IBS may include constipation,
bloating, gas or diarrhoea.
One theory is that people with IBS have a colon or large intestine that is particularly sensitive and reactive to certain foods and stress. The immune system may also be involved. Most people can control their symptoms with diet,
stress management, and prescribed medications. For some people, however, IBS can be disabling.
IBS is generally diagnosed on the basis of a complete history that includes a careful description of symptoms and a physical examination. There is no specific test for IBS, although stool sample testing, blood tests, x rays,
colonoscopy, and tissue biopsies may be performed to rule out other problems, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, which may share similar symptoms.
Common symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Diarrhoea, constipation or alternating bouts of both
- Mucus in the stool
Diet and Nutrition
Diet is critical to the healthy function of the Gastro Intestinal tract and to reduce the problematic symptoms. Avoid large meals as it may cause cramping and diarrhoea. Eating smaller meals more often, or eating smaller portions,
may help IBS symptoms. Keeping a food journal can be an effective way to do this.
- Eating at regular times. Don't skip meals, and try to eat about the same time each day to help regulate bowel function.
- Adding dietary fibre. High-fibre diets keep the colon mildly distended, which may help prevent spasms.
- Whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of fibre.
- Drinking adequate amount of liquids. Water is best.
Exercise regularly. Exercise helps relieve depression and stress, stimulates normal contractions of your intestines and can help you feel better about yourself. If you've been inactive, start slowly and gradually increase the amount
of time you exercise. If you have other medical problems, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. But generally, light to moderate exercise is recommended for everyone with IBS.
Mind-Body Practices and Stress Reduction
Feeling mentally or emotionally tense, troubled, angry, or overwhelmed can stimulate colon spasms in people with IBS since the colon has many nerves that connect it to the brain.
Yoga can relieve your IBS symptoms by reducing stress and teaching you how to listen to your body. A well-sequenced yoga practice will send gentle pulses of compression and stretch to sensory receptors along the digestive tract,
soothing your IBS. The top 5 yoga asana to treat IBS are Parighasana (gate pose), Ardha matsyendrasana (half-seated spinal twist), Jathara parivritti (reclining abdominal twist), Salamba setu bandhasana (supported bridge pose) and
Ananda balasana (happy baby pose).