Up to 15% of Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This uncomfortable and distressing condition impacts your quality of life and health—and can even cause depression! It is more common among women under 50 and those who struggle with chronic stress.
While IBS can be difficult to diagnose, there are treatment options that are effective and holistic. It is possible to feel “normal” again—maybe even sooner than you think! Let’s take a closer look at IBS, what causes it, and how you can restore your body’s balance and find relief.
What is IBS?
IBS is a disorder of the intestines. Your intestines naturally contract as your body digests food and pushes waste through your bowel. But when you suffer from IBS, these contractions are too weak or too strong (or both!) which causes havoc with your digestive system.
While an exact cause isn’t always easy to pinpoint, IBS can be caused by the following.
Early childhood stress can cause IBS to set in later in life. Periods of stress also worsen the condition. Higher levels of the stress-response hormone, cortisol, cause the colon to spasm. Ever experienced diarrhea before an exam or interview? Now you know why!
A healthy digestive tract is perfectly balanced. But after an infection, illness, or following a poor diet, the healthy bacteria that help digest the food in your gut can be compromised which causes symptoms of IBS.
Impaired Nervous System
Your digestion is controlled by your brain which receives signals via nerves linked to your digestive tract. At times, these messages can be dampened or exaggerated which leads to poor digestion and symptoms of IBS.
People suffering from IBS can experience a wide range of symptoms. These are the most common, and usually, two or three symptoms occur at the same time.
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and gas
In severe cases, the intensity of the symptoms can affect your quality of life to such a point that your mental health takes a hit, and symptoms of depression and anxiety set in. But depression and anxiety worsen IBS symptoms—it’s a vicious circle!
The good news is that there is hope if you suffer from IBS! And many of the approaches that provide relief are non-invasive and don’t involve medication.
Different treatment options will be more effective than others depending on the cause and severity of your IBS. In most cases, a combination of two or more of these treatments offers a world of relief and helps restore the balance in your body.
In severe cases, medication can help to relax the colon and reduce the pain and symptoms of IBS. While effective, this treatment often bypasses the root of the IBS. So, while it has its place, it’s healthier to explore other, more holistic options first—options that target the root cause of your IBS.
While science has yet to confirm if food intolerances cause IBS, certain foods definitely trigger bad episodes and worsen the symptoms. A nutritionist will provide a meal plan and strategy that will help you avoid “trigger” foods and support your intestinal health.
Some general tips include avoiding caffeinated and carbonated drinks, eating more fiber, taking probiotic supplements, drinking enough water, and eating nutritionally dense, whole foods. This not only helps you cope with IBS, it offers you a serious health boost!
Because gut health affects mental health and mental health affects your gut health, stress management is a key player in restoring the balance in your body—and your brain!
Stress can be difficult to avoid completely, but therapy and relaxation techniques help your body process the stress and channel it in healthy ways. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and counseling are just a few ideas.
Chiropractic care boosts the health of your nervous system—the pathways that allow your body and brain to talk to each other. Misalignments in your vertebrae can pressure your nerves and prevent messages from traveling between your gut and its control center—your brain! When your spine is perfectly aligned, your digestive system can function harmoniously with your brain.
Chiropractors also use massage therapy to increase circulation and reduce inflammation and tension in your body. Careful abdominal massage therapy provides relief and helps restore the correct rhythmic pulsing (peristalsis) of the intestines. The result? Less pain, bloating, cramps, constipation—and medication! Furthermore, when your spine is aligned, everything else in the body functions as it should.
To find out more about how chiropractic care can reduce your symptoms of IBS and help restore the balance in your gut, contact Integrated Health & Injury, your local chiropractor in Atlanta, and Decatur, Georgia.
Use our contact form, or dial one of these numbers:
Decatur – 404-288-9000
Atlanta – 404-691-4822