One condition that is being diagnosed more and more frequently is irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. IBS affects 10-20 percent of the population in the western world and affects twice as many women as it does men.
Although about 60 per cent of people who seek treatment for gastroenterologic problems are diagnosed with IBS, conventional medicine has yet to find a definite cause or cure for this condition.
There are many possible contributory causes of irritable bowel syndrome, and most are relatively harmless. However, some symptoms associated with the condition may be a sign of underlying disease and should be investigated by a doctor.
Sufferers from irritable bowel syndrome may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Constipation or diarrhoea, or alternating constipation and diarrhoea.
- Bloating of the abdomen.
- Lower abdominal pain.
Muscle Spasm in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Some sufferers from IBS experience disruption to the normally smooth contractions of the bowel.
Irregular spasm of the muscles of the bowel wall causes cramping pains and interferes with the passage of food residues through the bowel, leading to constipation and/or diarrhoea.
Bacterial Activity in The Gut
A major cause of IBS is an imbalance in the organisms that inhabit the gut. Quite often problems are related to an overgrowth of the yeast organism, candida. This organism tends to ferment food, which leads to the bloating and gas characteristic of IBS.
The secret to getting on top of yeast is to starve it out of the system. This means eliminating temporarily from the diet all foods that feed yeast or are inherently yeasty, moldy, or fermented such as sugar, bread, refined carbohydrates such as white rice and pasta, alcohol, cheese, dried fruits, fruit juices, soy sauce, vinegar, stock cubes, and peanuts.
At the same time, it is a good idea to take an acidophilus supplement, available from health food stores and pharmacies. This contains bacterial strains to help restore the balance of organisms in the gut.
If yeast is the underlying cause of the problem, this dietary regime and acidophilus supplementation should improve symptoms over a two- to three-month period.
Food Intolerance And IBS
Many sufferers of IBS have their symptoms triggered by certain foods when the gut seems to be unable to cope with the problem food or foods, and this causes reactions which give rise to the symptoms typical of IBS.
Just about any food can do this, but by far the most common culprits are milk, cheese, and wheat-based foods such as bread, pasta, pastry, pizza, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereals, and crackers.
Eliminating these foods can bring about a significant improvement in symptoms in a substantial number of people.
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