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Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms and IBS treatment

What are the symptoms and treatments for IBS?

Woman lying on sofa clutching stomach to show pain of IBS

Up to one in five people suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) at some time in their life. We review this common, and often debilitating, condition and how natural support can help.

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a long term condition that affects a person’s digestive system with varying symptoms that range from the uncomfortable to severe.

The exact cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not fully understood, but most health experts believe that it is related to increased sensitivity of the gut and problems digesting food.

This may lead you to believe that IBS is more likely to affect us as we grow older. In fact IBS usually first develops in people between the ages of 20 and 30. Irritable Bowel Syndrome also affects twice as many women as men, although the exact reason for this is not understood.

IBS symptoms

Close up on woman with a hot water bottle on her abdomen to represent relief from IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms vary from person to person and also in their severity, ranging from mild discomfort and bloating to more severe symptoms.

IBS symptoms also tend to come and go and can last as little as a few days, or as long as a few months. Symptoms are often brought on during periods of high stress, or after having eaten a certain kind of food.

Common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include stomach cramps, bloating after eating, diarrhoea and constipation. Symptoms can also often all occur together making for long periods of discomfort.

As well as these common symptoms, many IBS sufferers experience other issues such as lethargy and lack of energy, backache, feeling nauseous, bladder problems and even incontinence.

IBS symptoms can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and suffering from Irritable Bowel syndrome can often lead to depression and anxiety.

Happily, Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not pose a serious risk to health and with appropriate attention, IBS can be managed to help sufferers cope with the condition and have a full, active life.

IBS treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatment is all about managing the condition by making changes to both your diet and your lifestyle. Here are some natural solutions that can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatment.

Eat more fibre

A selection of high fibre foods

Fibre supports healthy digestive function by helping to absorb and reduce toxins and can help to relieve symptoms of IBS. Foods that contain fibre include oats, barley, rye, fruit, root vegetables, wholegrain bread, bran, cereals and nuts and seeds.

Cut down on fatty foods

Fried foods such as fast foods and takeaways tend to be very high in fat, which can cause symptoms of IBS to flare up. Avoid these kinds of foods and try to choose the healthier, low fat option!

Reduce your caffeine intake

Some IBS sufferers report increased symptoms when they have consumed lots of caffeine, which can be found in coffee, tea and fizzy drinks. Cutting back on caffeine, with decaffeinated drinks or fruit teas can help.

Drink more fluids

Close up of woman holding a glass of water

Drinking plenty of water or non-caffeinated drinks can help to improve IBS symptoms. Aim to drink at least eight cups of fluid per day.

Increase exercise

Many people living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome report that increasing the amount of exercise they do helps to relieve their IBS symptoms. The NHS website recommends that you try and do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Supplement your IBS diet with dietary supplements

There are several supplements available that may help with IBS symptoms. Probiotics are very popular and contain “friendly bacteria” that some people find helps relieve their symptoms of IBS. Other supplements available include Thisilyn Turmeric Xtra which contains turmeric and artichoke leaf and can help to maintain a healthy bowel and digestive function.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month

IBS Awareness Month takes place every April and is a worldwide event supported by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (IFFGD). It aims to help IBS sufferers and non-sufferers alike to better understand Irritable Bowel Syndrome.



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