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Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a chronic condition that affects the large and small intestines. The symptoms that are commonly connected with this condition include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS tends to affect more women than men and is most commonly found in individuals who are under the age of 45.
The triggers that can cause Irritable bowel syndrome differ from person to person. The most common of these are food, stress, hormones and other intestinal illnesses such as gastroenteritis. Diagnosis is carried out by a doctor who will start by looking at your health history to identify characteristic symptoms of IBS. In order to rule out other intestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or coeliac disease, a doctor may carry out blood and stool tests, x-rays, and endoscopic tests such as a colonoscopy.
Many IBS sufferers are able to control their symptoms without the need for medication through dietary changes, exercise and stress relief. However, in some cases where symptoms are considered serious, medication may be necessary.
Dietary factors may bring on or worsen symptoms at times. Irritable bowel syndrome causes heightened intestinal sensitivity, which can be triggered by certain foods. Eating meals that are too large or high in fat can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. This may also be caused by eating too much sugar. Different types of sugar are often poorly absorbed by the bowel bringing about these symptoms. We would advise you to contact a qualified dietician to advise you on your nutrition and diet. The dietician may advise you to keep a food diary, recording food intake and symptoms. Elimination of certain foods can be helpful in controlling symptoms. Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our clinic director, Aileen Maguire is trained in physiotherapy care for urinary and bowel incontinence.
Getting plenty of exercise can help to relieve the symptoms of IBS. If you aren’t used to exercising on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to start off slowly and ease yourself in. Classes such as yoga and pilates are great forms of exercise especially to help relieve stress. Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic offer a set of pilates classes that run over six weeks. An experienced chartered physiotherapist leads these classes. All levels of experience are welcomed so if you have never attended a pilates class before there will be a class to suit your needs. You many find it helpful to avoid any intensive form of exercise such as running as this can be associated with worsening the symptoms of diarrhea, loose bowel movements and stomach cramps.
Stress can be one of the biggest triggers of Irritable bowel syndrome for some people. There are various types of stressors that may impact IBS such as physical (infection, surgery, illness) and/or psychological (job loss, financial worries etc.) Stress management can help ease any symptoms you may have. Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization or meditation. Regular exercise, getting enough sleep and eating a good diet will also help relieve stress.
If you have any questions regarding IBS or our pilates classes, please contact us at our Dublin 4 clinic.