IBS is a reflection of a breakdown in communication between the bowels and the brain, and this can be very disturbing psychologically. Regrettably, there are still doctors who consider patients suffering from IBS to be hypochondriacs or fakers.
Because they have no measurable organic causes, many people are told they have nothing. What’s disastrous for them is that they are really suffering because they have more sensitive bowels. At the moment there are no specific drugs that could cure IBS, but a combination of treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Keep track of what you eat
Record in a food diary everything you eat at each meal and the physical symptoms and mood swings you may experience. This diary, which is kept for a week or more, makes it possible to identify foods that consistently cause a problem, adjust the diet accordingly, and avoid unnecessary exclusions. We can even take the test one step further:
We don’t eat any of the foods that caused the symptoms for 24 hours, and then we gradually reintroduce them, watching what happens until we find the culprit. Generally, a problematic food will cause digestive issues about two hours after ingestion, sometimes a little longer if the amounts taken are small.
Limit the intake of insoluble fiber
Insoluble fibers (wholegrain products, fruits, and vegetables with edible skins such as tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, radishes, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, legumes, and nuts) are particularly aggressive to the intestines. Good to know: Cooking the food and/or reducing it to a soup or puree reduces the amount of unwanted fiber.
In severe forms of functional colonopathy, the proposed protocols always envisage eating only cooked fruits first, then cooked vegetables again, then raw fruit and finally raw vegetables.
On the other hand, there is no restriction on soluble, gut-friendly, transit-regulating fibers. Soluble fiber is found in oats, rye, barley, pectin-rich foods (apple, pear, quince, berries, grapes, oranges, peaches, grapefruit) and inulin (chicory, onion, garlic, leek, garlic, asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, endive).
Limit intake of fructose and sorbitol
Functional colonopathy is often associated with malabsorption of these sugars, which aggravates the disorders by accentuating intestinal irritation. The aim is not to eliminate them completely but to experiment with moderate intake.
Give preference to fruits that contain less sugar such as peach, blackberry, blueberry, redcurrant, raspberry, strawberry, orange, clementine, pineapple, grapefruit, and melon.
On the other hand limit the intake of honey, dried fruits, agave, and maple syrups, as well as the many products enriched with glucose-fructose syrup (or corn syrup. Examples of products high in sugars are ketchup, certain salad dressings, and mayonnaise, certain fruit yogurts, dessert creams, ice cream, sorbets, etc…
Limiting diet products that use sorbitol as a sweetener (E420) such as soft drinks, gum, candy, diabetic jams, cookies, etc…
Learn to deal with stress
Anyone with an upset stomach knows that the more anxious they are, the more the symptoms increase, leading to tension and a vicious circle. Of the approaches to stress modulation, three have been shown to be effective – though not all – in IBS.
Regular physical activity: According to the results of a Swedish study published in 2011, a moderate to the high-intensity activity of 20 to 30 minutes three to five times a week shows great improvements after three months of training.
Hypnosis: The starting point for people suffering from chronic digestive disorders is control. Typical IBS sufferers are afraid of pain, they are tense while waiting for the next crisis, and this permanent internal tension maintains the problem. The aim of hypnosis is to help them lose this distrust through visualization exercises, simulations, and metaphors. According to several studies, it improves pain and decreases flatulence which improves the quality of life and reduces the frequency of treatment, but it gives better results in people under 50 years old. Between three and ten hypnosis sessions are needed, sometimes accompanied by self-hypnosis exercises performed at home.
Relaxation: Although not yet tested, with some people it’s a great support and worth a try. Among the recommended exercises is one that uses abdominal breathing: Lie on your back, place your hands on your stomach and let them breathe into this area of your body, concentrating on your movement. As you inhale, your hands are raised; as you exhale they are lowered. Concentrate on moving your breath back and forth, reflecting the abdominal wall. Little by little the tensions are released, the breathing is calmed, and all the abdominal organs are relaxed. It is necessary to count at least twenty breaths. This exercise is ideal before or after a strenuous day to calm down the bowels and yourself.
Medication for IBS
As there is no one class superior to the others, one often has to try several classes before finding the right one.
Antispasmodics: They work on pain those containing phloroglucinol and simethicone seem to be the most effective.
Anti-diarrheal agents (Imodium type) and/or laxatives.
Low-dose antidepressants are usually prescribed as second-line drugs in this indication because of their analgesic effect.
Peppermint essential oil: Several studies have shown an overall improvement in symptoms at doses
from 180/200 mg three times a day to 225 mg twice a day.