Title: **Shining a Light on IBS: Understanding and Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome**

#DemystifyingIBS #IBSAwarenessMonth #IBSSupport #MindfulEating #YogaForIBS

Title: **Shining a Light on IBS: Understanding and Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome** #DemystifyingIBS #IBSAwarenessMonth #IBSSupport #MindfulEating #YogaForIBS

**IBS Awareness Month** April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month, a period dedicated to raising awareness about a common disorder affecting gut-brain interaction (DGBI). Affecting an estimated 10-23% of adults worldwide, including approximately 13 million in the UK, IBS significantly impacts people's day-to-day activities. **Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)** IBS is a chronic DGBI disorder with unclear causes. As a functional disorder, it reveals no structural anomalies or specific abnormality in biological markers within the gut. **Symptoms of IBS** - Abdominal pain: Ranging from sharp to dull or achy, varying in intensity and location. - Bloating and gas: Often characterized by abdominal distension and excessive gas passage. - Changes in bowel habits: Irregular frequency, consistency, or appearance of bowel movements. - Urgency: A sudden need to pass a stool. - Mucus in the stool: A jelly-like substance in the stool indicative of digestive tract irritation. **Potential Causes of IBS** Despite unknown specific cause, a few factors are considered contributors to the development of IBS including: - Gut-brain axis dysfunction: Stress exacerbates symptoms due to the significant role played by gut-brain interaction in triggering IBS. - Inflammation: Some individuals may experience symptoms due to low-grade intestinal inflammation. - Changes to gut microbiota: The gut microbiota in people with IBS often differs from those without, however, this area remains under-researched. - Abnormal gastrointestinal muscle contractions: Changes in intestinal wall muscle contractions affect gut motility, leading to various symptoms. - Visceral hypersensitivity: Heightened sensitivity and reduced pain threshold in internal organs, a common phenomenon in DGBIs like IBS. **Managing IBS Symptoms** IBS treatment remains somewhat unclear due to the absence of a one-size-fits-all approach. Nevertheless, the NHS suggests some effective practices: - Do: - Prepare meals at home using fresh ingredients - Keep track of eating habits and corresponding symptoms - Adopt ways to relax and reduce stress-triggered symptoms - Engage in regular physical activities - Try probiotics for a month to see if symptoms are relieved - Don't - Delay or skip meals - Rush while eating - Consume high quantities of fatty, spicy, or processed foods - Drink more than three cups of tea or coffee a day - Consume excessive amounts of alcohol and fizzy drinks **Alternative Approaches to Managing IBS** With IBS classified as a DGBI, focus on treatment methods revolving around de-stressing and mindfulness has increased. Research indicates practices like yoga can significantly reduce IBS severity, bowel symptoms, and anxiety in patients. **Supporting IBS Awareness Month** Supporting IBS Awareness Month involves raising awareness and educating others about this condition to reduce its surrounding stigma. Encourage research funding into IBS causes and treatments, connect with individuals living with IBS via support groups, online networks, or personal conversations. Emphasize stress management, mindful moments, and regular physical activities if you are an IBS sufferer. The IBS Network website and Love Your Gut's lifestyle tips offer more information. Raising awareness, advocating, and creating a supportive community for IBS sufferers empowers them and facilitates better management of symptoms.
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