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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - (I.B.S)

Irritability - Causes - Coping Suggestions

     No one is even-tempered and calm all the time: it is perfectly normal to feel irritable or frustrated. Nearly any distressing medical condition can also produce irritability, as can almost any mental disorder. Often, irritability is a result of the disease process. But there also are diseases in which irritability is a characteristic of the disease itself, rather than a result of it.

     Just as some people are the grumpy and irritable type, so, too, are  some bowels. what exactly does it mean to have an irritable bowel? It means that certain foods and drinks and stressful events in your life-things that don't normally wreak havoc on other people - give you alternating bouts of diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Some times, you get all three at the same time.
    
Some doctors think that irritable bowel syndrome (also konwn as spastic colon) may be second only to the common cold as America's most widespread medical complaint. And your doctor now says that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the source of your complaint. Well rest assured that there are lots of things you can do to take the irritability out of your bowel!

    
Take the news in stride. "There is a very good connection between stress and irritable bowel, says Douglas A. Drossman, M.D., a gastroenterologist & psychiatrist at the University of North Carolina  at chapill Hill School of Medicine. What you don't want to do is get stressed because you have an irritable bowel, and thereby create a "vicious circle," he says. Especially during flare-ups of abdominal pain, it is important to "take a deep breath". Think about whats hapening. Recongnize that it's hapenned before and it will pass! Know that you're not going to die - because people don't die from an irritable bowel, "he says.

    
Become a relaxed person. Anything you can do to help yourself unwind should help to alleviate your symptoms, says Dr. Drossman. You may benefit from relaxation techniques, such as meditation, self-hypnosis, or biofeedback. If the stress in your life is particularly problematic, you may want to consider psychological counseling. The key is to find what works for you.

   
Keep a stress diary. Persons with an irritable bowel have an intestinal system that ocerreacts to food, stress, and hormonal changes. "Think of your irritable bowel as a built-in barometer, and use it to help you determine what hings in your life are most stressful. If for instance, you have stomach pain every time you talk to your boss, wife,  patner, or any other particular person, see it as a sign that you need to work on that relationship (perhaps by talking it over with you boss, a friend or a family member or even a therapist).
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Log in your food and beverage intake too. Certain foods and beverages, just like stress, can activate an irritable bowel, so it's also helpful to record in your diary the foods and beverages that give you the most trouble. Although ther are some things that are likely to disturb most people, eveyone is different.

Here are some causes of irritability:

Alcoholism
Alcohol can produce extreme irritability that can evolve into murderous rages and violence in some people. Anyone who responds to alcohol in this way should avoid it, because even a small amount may produce a reaction.

Anemia
Anemia is a condition in which there are fewer than the normal number of red blood cells, or less than the normal amount of hemoglobin. There are many different kinds of anemia, including nutritional deficiencies of iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 (or a lack of enzyme needed to absorb the latter). Hemolytic anemia occurs when the spleen destroys red blood cells faster than they can be produced. Sickle - cell and Cooley’s anemia are both hereditary conditions. All anemias can produce feelings of fatigue and irritability.

Allergic reactions
Allergies can produce a wide range of symptoms, varying from itching to life-threatening asthma or anaphylaxis. Irritability is a common component of these allergies.

Alzheimer’s disease
This disease, characterized by progressive loss of mental function, often begins insidiously with symptoms such as increased irritability and forgetfulness. At one time, it was considered an inevitable part of growing old. However, it is now clear that large number of people live into their 80’s and 90’s without experiencing its symptoms.

Caffeine
Caffeine, one of the main ingredients in coffee, colas, tea, chocolate, and a number of other drinks and foods, is a great pick-me-up. But in excess, it can cause irritability, palpitations, tremors, and other symptoms.

Cigarettes &Tobacco Smoking
A large number of people experience IBS problems with smoking. The most probable culprit is "Nicotine", so if you're trying to mquit with the help of nicotine-gum, you maty not see any difference in you tummy problems.

Chewing-Gum
Nicotine gum is not the only kind of gum that can give you troubles. Gumes and candies artificially sweetened with sorbitol, are not easily digested and can worsen your IBS, says Dr. Drossman. While the amount of sorbitol found in one stick of gum or one hard candy isn't likely to effect you greatly, if you gobble up to ten or more such sweeties a day, it is time to cut back.

Colic
This problem usually occurs in instants, and involves abdominal pain and excessive crying that goes beyond normal fretfulness. The possible causes include overfeeding or underfeeding, intolerance to certain foods, or emotional factors. Colic may also suggest an intestinal obstruction or other illness, but in a large number of cases, there is no identifiable cause.

Drug side effects
A number of medications can produce irritability. Common examples include steroids, hormones, bronchodilators (used to treat asthma), anti-inflammatory drugs, and some of the drugs used to treat heart & high blood pressure

Hypoglycemia
This is a low blood sugar, and it usually occurs among diabetic patient who take insulin. An overdose of insulin can deplete the body of glucose, or blood sugar, and can cause a constellation of symptoms including irritability: mental changes: cold, clammy skin: and ---unless reversed --- loss of consciousness, and coma. In unusual circumstances, hypoglycemia may occur in non-diabetics --- a condition referred to as reactive hypoglycemia.

Menopause
Menopause is the cessation of menstruation, when a woman’s body gradually ceases to produce most female hormones. Some women have no symptoms, at the onset of menopause, while others experience a variety of uncomfortable physical reactions such as hot flushes, sweating, headaches, and palpitations. There may be also mood swings and emotional instability, feelings of irritability, crying jags, and periods of depression and anxiety. Many of these symptoms can be relieved by hormone therapy (Estrogen replacement therapy).

Premenstrual syndrome
This condition includes a group of physical or behavioral changes that some women go through before their menstrual periods begin. PMS, as it is commonly called, can produce discomfort in different parts of the body and can also cause unpleasant emotional feelings. The degree of discomfort varies from one woman to another, as do the specific symptoms. Behavioral changes may include depression, irritability, anxiety, tension, mood swings, inability to concentrate, and a change in sex drive.

Advice about irritability
A regular exercise program and an adequate amount of sleep can go long way toward reducing irritability. If you invariably become irritable during your premenstrual phase, take special steps to avoid confrontations & situations that are likely to provoke an outburst. Meditation, massage, a warm shower, or exercise, are all strategies that may help.

Add Fiber to your diet. Many people with IBS do much better simply by adding fiber to thier diets. Fiber tends to be most effective with people who tend toward constipation and small, hard stools, but it may also help you if you are suffering from diarrhea. The best fiber to add to you diet is the non-soluble type - found in bran, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Psyllium see to the rescue. An easy way to increase your fiber intake is with crushed psyllium seeds. its a natural laxative sold in pharmacies, supermarkets, and health food stores. Unlike chemical laxatives often found on the same shelves, psyllium based laxatives  such as Mteamucil are nonaddictive and generally safe, even when taken over long periods.

Drink lots of fluids. To keep your bowel moving smoothy, you need not only fiber, but fluids as well. You'll need more on summer days spent playing tennis than on December days spent at the movies, but in general "you need and should drink between six and eight glasses of WATER a day".

Cut out The fat. There are lots of good reasons to eat low-fat diet, and now you have one more. "Fat is a major stimulus to colonic contractions, says Dr. Snape. In other words, it can worsen your IBS. A good place to begin to cut fat out of you diet is by eliminating heavy sauces, freid foods, and salad oils.

Pass on the gas. some people with IBS are particularly sensiticve to gas-producing foods. If you fall into this group, you may find relief by avoiding such flatulence champs as beans, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions.

Reconsider dairy products. One fluid you may do better without is "milk". A large number of people who say they have IBS are really lactose intolerant, says Dr. William J. Snape, Jr., M.D., a professor of medicine, chief of the Gastroenterology Unit, and director of the Inflamatory Bowel Disease Center at thr Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrence, California,. It means your body has difficulty absorbing lactose, an enzyme found in milk. Your doctor can test you for lactose intolerance, or you can give up diary products for a couple of days to see how you do. In either case, you may find this one dietary change can clear up all your problems.

Go Easy on the Bran. if you are adding fiber such as bran to you diet, add it slowly to give your body time to adjust. Too much fiber, too fast, can produce gas.

Beware of spicy foods. Some people with IBS are sensitive to foods laden with pepers and other spices. Try eating a lot of bland foods for one week, & lot of spicy foods for the next week, & note if you condition changes.

Be aware and careful of acids. Acidic foods tend to bother some people with IBS. Here again you may wish to experiment by laying off such things as oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, and vinegary salad dressings for a while to see if things get better.

Don't brue trouble with coffee. Coffe is a major cause of woes among people with IBS. To some extent, the culprit may be the caffeine, but it may also be the resins in the coffe bean itself. You may get some relief, by trying to cutting down on all coffee.

Some alchoholic beverages are worse than others. Alchoholic beverages can exacerbate your problems, but it's probably not alchohol itself says Dr Snape. Rather it's the complexe carbohydrates in beer and the tannin in red wine that probably cause the most grief. Drinkers with IBS should order anything but these two drinks.

Eat Regular Meals. It's not only what you eat, but how you eat that can vex an irritable bowel, says Dr. Snape. Digesting a lot of food eaten all at once overstimulates the digestive system. That is why it's much better to eat frequent small meals than infrequent larger ones.

Exercise, Go for a Jog! "Good body tone, good bowel tone," says Dr. Rhodes. Exercise strengthens the body (of which the bowel is a part). It helps relieve stress. And it releses endorphins that help you control pain. All in all, regular exercise will more than likely calm your irritable bowel. Be careful, however not to overdo it. Too much exercise can lead to diarrhea.

Call a hot-water bottle to the rescue
. If you are experiencing an attack of obdominal pain, the best thing to do is to sit ot lie down, take a deep breath, and try to relax. some people also find it helpful to put a hot-water bottle or a heating pad on the tummy, says Dr. Snape.
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The HealthyColonToday.com makes every effort to ensure that its information is medically accurate. However, the information contained in this page is intended to complement, not substitute for, the advice of your physician or personal doctor. Before embarking on any medical treatment or changing your present program, you should consult with your doctor, who can discuss your individual needs, symptoms and treatments.
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