Monday, June 15, 2009
I've recently made a self-diagnosis of a problem I've dealt with for years, but had no idea that there was a name attached. It is IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. Many of you may be suffering from the same and not even realize what it is. IBS isnt a disease, its not serious, just a nuisance that causes discomfort in daily life.
Doctors have no cure or fixes for this syndrome, except in severe cases where a prescription for constipation or diarrhea would be suffice. There's massive amounts of information on the web about it, but I will speak about my own personal symptoms, which are unlike what 80% of IBS sufferers may experience.
I had taken a colon cleanse product which contained mostly fiber. The recommended dosage was 4 pills per day with fluids, but I took 3. Mind you, I eat a well balanced diet that has adequate amounts of fiber in it derived from veggies/fruits/whole grain products. It escaped my mind that TOO much fiber is a bad thing! By the second day, I literally looked months pregnant- which I am not! I figured it had to do with the pills, but I wasn't sure why such a quick effect.
I happened to hear a member of 'The View' speak of her wheat allergy and how it bloats her belly to the point of pregnancy, lol, so I started some research thinking that I too may have a food allergy. I happened to stumble onto IBS and its symptoms. I experienced most of them: Apparently the fiber irritated my bowels to the point of it reacting in such an extreme way. But apart from this incident, menstrual cycles would produce the same effect.
Apparently, with IBS, women are more prone to suffer from the condition and experience a flare-up before or during menstruation because the hormone levels will irritate the bowels. Infrequent constipation, white mucus in the stool, pebble-size stools, having that 'unfinished' feeling when having a bowel movement, bloating/gas are symptoms I have had and are common with IBS. More severely, IBS can cause chronic constipation and diarrhea with cramps/pain in the lower abdomen.
What is the way to relieve this? Change of diet seems to be the first line of defense. Avoid regular consumption of stimulants such as caffeine, chocolate, too much dairy milk products, alcohol, and excess fiber. Note: You dont have to restrict it from your dietary intake.
Drinking a probiotic drink such as the ones made by 'Kefir' will help. And drink plenty of water. This has helped my pot belly to go down in a matter of a week. It can be more or less time for you.
I hope this article will help shed some light so that there can be an awareness to this condition. There is no cure, but as with any condition or disease, it's preventative management to avoid flareups.
Update February 2010: So, I recently received a colonoscopy to attach a name to my symptoms, and true indeed I was diagnosed with having a spastic colon (i.e. IBS).