irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome feels like a variety of stomach symptoms such as pain, bloating, and discomfort. Some people experience constipation, others diarrhea, and some experience alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

It is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years.

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are responsible for over 3 million yearly visits to physicians in the United States.  Irritable bowel syndrome occurs in women more often that it occurs in men. About 70% of people with irritable bowel syndrome are women.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common ailments of the intestines and affects an estimated 15% of the United States population. It is the most common disease diagnosed by doctors who specialize in medical treatment of disorders of the stomach and intestines.

Irritable bowel syndrome is also called IBS, spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, nervous stomach, or irritable colon.

Irritable bowel syndrome is generally classified as a “functional” disorder. A functional disorder refers to a disorder or disease where the primary abnormality is an altered physiological function (the way the body works), rather than an identifiable structural or biochemical cause.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by a group of symptoms in which abdominal pain or discomfort is associated with a change in bowel pattern, such as loose or more frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, and/or constipation.

Some specific symptoms are:

  • Abnormal stool frequency (may be defined as greater than 3 bowel movements per day and less than 3 bowel movements per week)
  • Green stool
  • Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool)
  • Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation)
  • Passage of mucus
  • Bloating or feeling of abdominal distention

Treatment options for IBS?

There are many treatment options available to manage irritable bowel syndrome. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the typical recommendation. Eat a wholesome diet and get regular exercise. Meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy may ease symptoms.

Does CBD oil help Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

CBD (cannabidiol) contains antioxidant and other pharmacological effects that could help relieve the pain and discomfort caused by IBS.

CBD helps IBS by reducing chronic inflammation, treating temporary stress, and helping to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by IBS. The antioxidants in CBD help reduce the inflamed gut (the major complaint of IBS), thus reducing the pain and stomach irritation.

Patients with IBS should ask their doctor or a health-care practitioner experience in recommending CBD or medicinal cannabis if CBD oil will help cure IBS.  Depending on the doctor’s prescription, CBD can be taken as oil drops, capsules, or edibles. Patients (with their doctor’s help) should determine which delivery system is least disruptive and best absorbed by their bodies.

When talking with your doctor about CBD, ask the following questions:

  • How often should I take CBD?
  • What emergency signs indicate that I should go to an Urgent Care Center?
  • How will I know if the CBD is working?
  • Can I start with a low dose and increase the dosage over time?
  • What CBD strain should I take?
  • What is the ratio of CBD to THC?
  • Can you prescribe CBD that is not derived from industrial hemp?

Easy tips to Cure IBS

  1. Get tested. Try an allergy elimination diet for 2-3 weeks. You can also ask your doctor for a test for IgG food allergies. Once you receive the results of this test, eliminate the foods that test positive for 12 weeks.
  2. Test yourself. If you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford an IgG food allergy test, eliminate the most common food allergens (dairy, gluten, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts) for 12 weeks. Reintroduce foods 1 at a time to see if they cause symptoms.
  3. Get rid of the chronic bacterial overgrowth. Ask your doctor to prescribe rifaximin (Xifaxin). Xifaxin will help eliminate chronic bacterial overgrowth that causes bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.  You may also need to take an anti-fungal such as nystatin or fluconazole for two to four weeks.
  4. Add good bacteria to your gut. Probiotics will help normalize gut function.
  5. Eat digestive enzymes with meals to help break down food while your gut heals.

Over the counter meds for IBS

Probiotics containing Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 as well as peppermint oil has been found to relive IBS-related discomfort. Probiotics thrive with diets high in fiber. Fiber is a ‘food source’ for probiotics.

Foods and Diet

Often, eating a proper diet lessens symptoms. However, before changing your diet, it is a good idea to keep a journal noting which foods are trigger foods and seem to cause distress. Discuss your findings with your doctor and your doctor can help you make the proper diet changes.

How is IBS Diagnosed?

Irritable bowel syndrome can be diagnosed based on at least 12 weeks in the preceding 12 months of abdominal discomfort or pain that has two out of three features:

  • Relieved with defecation; and/or
  • Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool; and/or
  • Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.

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