Sudden Changes in Bowel Habits?
What is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of your digestive system due to ongoing problems with motility and sensitivity.
Sensitivity describes how your brain interprets bowel sensations.
In a nutshell, if you have IBS, you may have a highly sensitive bowel. While some people find IBS pain annoying, others find it unbearable.
Symptoms of IBS
- Gas, bloating, cramps
- Abdominal pain related to bowel movements
- Irregular bowel patterns
- Diarrhea (especially after eating or first thing in the morning)
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Strong urges to empty bowels
- Mucus around or within the stools
- Heartburn, nausea
Are there foods I should avoid?
- Dietary fats
- The food additive MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- Raw (as opposed to cooked) fruits and vegetables
- Caffeine or alcohol
- Indigestible carbohydrates, such as beans or lentils
- Lactose, the sugar found in dairy products like milk
Does stress affect IBS?
Your mind and body are closely connected and one can affect the other. We know that stress can aggravate the symptoms of the IBS so taking action to relieve stress may help and it certainly can’t hurt. Some simple relaxation techniques that you can do at home include:
- Deep breathing
- Listening to soothing music
- Reading a book
- Body stretches or yoga
What can I do to relieve the symptoms of IBS?
The most important you can do is eat well, get plenty of exercise and manage stress.
If you suspect a particular food is making your symptoms worse, try removing it from your diet for 2-4 weeks to see if your symptoms improve. If your symptoms don’t change over that time, then that food is unlikely the culprit.
In addition, your doctor may prescribe prescription or over-the-counter products to help relieve specific symptoms, including:
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.
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