IBS is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal disease. Although symptoms can vary from patient to patient, they often include cramping, abdominal pain, gas, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. The condition affects more women than men and is most common in people under 50. The annual medical cost of the disease exceeds $ 1 billion in the United States alone.

It is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management strategies such as: B. Always know the location of the nearest bathroom or wear diapers when access to the toilet is restricted. The emotional distress it can cause often leads to depression and anxiety, and can lead others to mistakenly think that the bowel disease is self-inflicted.

There is a known connection between the brain and the gut, and excessive stress can certainly make IBS symptoms worse. Cognitive behavioral therapy can benefit some patients, and many find it helpful to practice relaxation techniques such as positive imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

Yoga and other types of physical activity can also relieve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and improve patients’ quality of life. A clinical study of 102 patients found that those who did vigorous physical activity three to five days a week had fewer physical and psychological symptoms.

Another calming technique that can be used anywhere, anytime to relieve pain and stress is diaphragmatic breathing, the opposite of being sucked into the bowel. Instead of pushing the chest out while the lungs fill with air, the diaphragm is pushed down toward the stomach, which lifts the abdomen. Practice by placing a hand over your navel to feel your stomach rise as you slowly inhale through your nose, then pull it back as you exhale through your mouth.

Patients can also minimize their symptoms by avoiding the foods or drinks that appear to trigger them. Common troublemakers are wheat and other gluten-containing foods, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage and related gas-producing vegetables, and carbonated beverages. People can also react badly to spicy or fatty foods, coffee, or alcohol.

Some patients find dramatic relief by adopting a strict FODMAP diet that eliminates all fermentable starches and sugars and then gradually adding one food at a time to determine which symptoms are causing symptoms and are best avoided. The FODMAP diet positively changes the microbial population living in the gut and reduces gas-producing bacteria that thrive on fermentable foods. (See this website for details on diet.)