Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and treatments
Irritable bowel syndrome, sometimes called irritable colon syndrome or functional colopathy, is a functional disorder. Though benign, it causes digestive discomfort that can be debilitating to deal with on a daily basis. This disorder affects almost 5% of the population, predominantly women.
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
This intestinal function disorder is characterised by a triad of the following clinical signs:
• Abdominal pain: It is usually located in the right and left iliac fossa, sometimes in the umbilical region. It can last from several hours to a few days and is usually relieved by passing stool.
• Intestinal transit disorders: They manifest as severe constipation, diarrhoea or a combination of both.
• Bloating: It is a source of significant discomfort and can be associated with relatively loud rumbling sounds.
What are the causes of irritable bowel syndrome?
The exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome have not been formally established. However, some risk factors have been clearly identified. Diet is one of the main ones, even though it is of course not the only one. Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety and burnout, as well as advanced age, can all aggravate the symptoms. Most patients with irritable bowel syndrome have intestinal hypersensitivity, most often associated with abnormal bacterial flora and intestinal motility dysfunctions.
How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?
There is no medical treatment that completely cures irritable bowel syndrome. Only its various symptoms can be subject to specific treatment if they are severe (antispasmodics, antidiarrhoeals, etc.). In most cases, however, doctors recommend that their patients first try changing their lifestyle and diet. Diet is the main catalyst of this functional disorder. As such, certain products should be eliminated from one’s diet, while others should be prioritised. For example, it is important to get a sufficient fibre intake, especially in the event of constipation. Moderate exercise (i.e. around 30 minutes two to three times per week) and psychological techniques (such as meditation or yoga) can both help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Lifestyle and diet recommendations vary depending on the symptoms.
What natural remedies are there for relieving irritable bowel syndrome?
In addition to following an appropriate diet, it is important to keep your body well hydrated. To do so, it is essential to drink plenty of water every day while avoiding, whenever possible, beverages that irritate the digestive tract (e.g. coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks). In some cases, it is possible to resort to natural or plant-based remedies to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Some dietary supplements and probiotics help restore gut flora. OptiFibre® can be an effective ally because this dietary fibre concentrate acts naturally, gradually and physiologically to prevent intestinal imbalance.
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