In honor of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month, which is in April, the makers of a dietary supplement that treats IBS have released the following information for GI professionals to share with their patients.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders. The condition, with symptoms including abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhea, affects up to one in five Americans and is second only to the common cold as a leading cause of workplace absenteeism in the United States.
Although IBS affects so many people, the causes of the condition are still unclear. There are many theories on what causes IBS, including an altered immune response or an imbalance of bacteria in the gut.
Dr. Lin Chang, professor of medicine in the Division of Digestive Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA,
and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress suggests the following for people who are experiencing recurring abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation:
Talk to a Professional. A medical professional can review symptoms, make a diagnosis and help establish a plan of action. There are prescription and over-the-counter therapies that can help minimize the symptoms of IBS.
Keep a Journal.For some people, certain foods, stress, infection, and hormonal changes can trigger IBS symptoms. Keeping a diary of foods and activities is a good way to track potential triggers, identify ways to avoid these triggers, or be able to better manage potential symptoms.
Do Research.There is a wealth of information on the internet about IBS, other people’s experiences and treatments. Stick to credible websites and well-known manufacturers when researching products. Bookstores and libraries can also be good resources.
Consider Probiotics. One area of growing interest in managing IBS is probiotics beneficial bacteria that aid digestion while strengthening the body’s natural defenses and supporting a balance of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Not all probiotic strains are the same. Strain, packaging, and manufacturing can all impact the effectiveness of a probiotic.
“It’s really important that people realize that they don’t just have to live with IBS. This condition can be effectively and successfully managed,” said Dr. Chang.
The information is from marketers of Bifantis, a probiotic made by Procter & Gamble.