IBS occurs due to irregular muscle contractions in the colon. Diet and or physical responses to stress and anxiety can trigger the colon to overreact causing discomfort and inconvenience of recurrent and chronic cramps, gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation.
IBS may be triggered by:
- Foods high in saturated fats
- Acidic foods (like citrus fruits)
- Artificial sweeteners
- Dairy products
- Spicy foods
- Beans, cabbage or uncooked cauliflower or broccoli (if bloating or gas is a problem)
- Intestinal gas
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Constipation (less than 3 bowel movements a week)
- Diarrhea (more than 3 bowel movements a day)
- Mucus in stools
These symptoms don’t affect the intestines but may occur after eating, during stressful times or during menstruation.
- Anxiety or depression.
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Sexual problems, such as pain during sex or reduced sexual desire.
- Heart palpitations (feeling like the heart skips a beat or is fluttering).
- Urinary symptoms (frequent or urgent need to urinate, trouble starting the urine stream, trouble emptying the bladder).
*Increase fiber, drink plenty of water, and get regular exercise if constipation is a symptom
Steps to take to lessen Symptoms of IBS:
- Eliminate triggers from diet
- Monitor diet with a journal, diary of what you eat and whether you experience symptoms after eating.
- Add a consistent routine of exercise, such as brisk walking/running or swimming to help manage stress and help digestion.
- Manage stress from work, school, or relationships with relaxation techniques, express worries to a friend, write in a journal, sing, draw or paint, engage in physical activities and exercise!
See a health care provider or visit the Health and Wellness Center if blood is seen in stool, continuous abdominal pain and fever occur and if symptoms interfere with normal activity