IBS Sufferers Face Significant Physical And Emotional Challenges

Irritable bowel syndrome is a painful bowel function disorder that affects 58 million people in the United States. Symptoms of IBS include cramping, pain, bloating and an urgent need to use the restroom. Some people are affected by 'diarrhea predominant' IBS where abdominal pain may occur after a meal and necessitate an immediate trip to the restroom. IBS sufferers may also experience a 'constipation pattern' where they have infrequent bowel movements or strain to have bowel movements. The symptoms range from mild to severe and will vary from person to person. There are a variety of ways to reduce the symptoms of IBS, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, and taking natural probiotic supplements.

People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) face constant challenges in dealing with the physical aspects of their health. Because the symptoms of IBS are so disruptive, there are often significant social and emotional issues as well.

The social aspects of IBS can create significant stress, anxiety and depression. Constantly worrying about a sudden flare-up and keeping an eye out for the nearest bathroom can make it difficult to plan or enjoy eating out, a shopping trip, a sporting event or even visiting friends. The fear of an 'accident' is enough to cause some IBS sufferers to avoid social activities altogether and just stay at home. This self-imposed isolation exacerbates the anxiety and depression, two emotions that actually aggravate symptoms.

A study conducted at the University of New York at Albany confirmed the negative effects that IBS can have on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Researchers found that people with IBS are much more likely to have a poor HRQOL than the general population. Approximately 60 percent of IBS sufferers are clinically defined as having general anxiety disorder.

Because stress is such an overriding factor in IBS, many holistic practitioners recommend relaxation techniques as part of the coping/treatment plan for their patients. Mindfulness meditation is particularly helpful as a stress reduction technique. This type of meditation has positive effects on brain activity that encourage your body to increase levels of serotonin and endorphins, both of which are associated with relaxation and a sense of well-being. Meditation requires no special skills or extensive training. It simply requires a willingness to let go and let nature's healing energy flow through the body and the soul.

A healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, exercise and plenty of rest can also help keep flare-ups at bay. Your holistic practitioner may also recommend natural probiotic supplements to help encourage the growth of 'good bacteria' in your gut that helps stave off digestive upsets and illnesses. Be sure to read product labels and make sure the probiotic you select has 'active live cultures' such as lactobacillus or bifidobacterium. The supplements come in capsule, tablet or powdered form and are available online and in natural health stores.

The best probiotic supplement on the market right now is Daily Start Multivitamin with Natural Probiotics.This daily multivitamin also doubles as a natural probiotic supplement, and provides your body with all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics and enzyme blends you need for optimum health.

Since IBS is such a common ailment, there are numerous support groups throughout the country. Members of support groups can offer meaningful information and coping skills. Check with your local holistic health center to find out about support groups in your area.

Read More on This Topic
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