Before I offer some help to the long suffering IBSer; I feel I should at least describe the condition. And realize, though I may speak with humor there's really very little to laugh about if you're caught up in the throes of the discomfort IBS can instill. Any humor I inject comes from 1) familiarity with the issue and 2) the belief that the more lightheartedness you can add to any situation; the better your outlook will be. Pretty simple, yes?
So, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms that can include abdominal discomfort, bloating, cramping and alternating constipation and diarrhea. These symptoms vary from sufferer to sufferer and day to day. Because of the erratic behavior patterns of this health condition; most IBSers know EXACTLY where a bathroom is located no matter where they are. It's a pain......well.... in the ass. Sorry, I had to.
IBS doesn't just cause physical pain and discomfort but also mental duress which can be severe. Loss of self esteem, the blues, anxiety and others can make one feel uncomfortable enough to not even want to leave the house. This sets the IBSer up for even more severe emotional problems such as agoraphobia or clinical depression. Yikes.
A diagnosis of IBS usually comes after a lengthy discussion with a health care provider. Said provider will, hopefully, rule out more serious diseases instead of just making a blanket diagnosis of IBS. If indeed, that is what the problem is determined to be, the IBSer will likely be offered various pharmaceuticals to control symptoms. Be warned that many drugs will ease one symptom only to cause another. It's the nature of the Pharma Beast.
Fortunately, because IBS has been around for awhile and lots and lots of people suffer with it; there have been breakthroughs in alternative treatments for the condition which are more gentle, infinitely more effective overall than traditional health care methods, and less inexpensive.
- Massage. What would you expect me to say, I'm a massage therapist. :-) Seriously, I wouldn't advocate it if it didn't work. Massage facilitates the calming of an overactive nervous system which is part of the IBS complex. The more your entire body relaxes, the more your colon will too. Because many IBS sufferers have a predominance of either diarrhea or constipation; a therapist can use specific abdominal strokes to hasten or slow the motility (movement) of the colon contents.
- Diet. Most sufferers already have a pretty good idea what foods/beverages they should avoid to manage IBS attacks. The problem here is not adhering to the diet that makes one feel the best. That's a choice. If you have IBS and you know that dairy causes cramping and diarrhea but you still eat cheese; that's a choice you've made. I'm being kind of harsh and I could apologize but I won't. YOU can control what goes into your mouth and many types and combinations of foods will trigger IBS symptoms like clockwork.
- Supplements. Fiber, probiotics, calcium and magnesium, oil of peppermint or fennel and others may all be useful in quelling the symptoms of IBS. It's important to research the effectiveness and quality of any supplements so that symptoms aren't made worse or money wasted on ineffective products.
- Hypnotherapy/EFT/BodyTalk/Others. Many mind body therapies use energy psychology to elicit a healing response in the body. Energy psychology is a synergistic blend of body work with tapping into one's emotions to clear blockages in the mind and body that inhibit healthy function.