Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as spastic colon, is one of the intestinal diseases for which medical science had not yet found a cure as of 2011. Some individuals, however, can get irritable bowel syndrome relief by taking medications for the symptoms and by making dietary and lifestyle changes. Dietary changes that help include consuming plenty of high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as herbs and probiotics. Eliminating or at least reducing the intake of foods high in fat, sweets and stimulants also can be beneficial. Beneficial lifestyle changes include reducing stress and getting a moderate amount of exercise.
The symptoms of IBS often resemble those of other health conditions, and thus it is a diagnosis of exclusion wherein the doctor takes several tests to rule out other conditions. It is important for one to know what triggers the flare-ups so that the doctor can give accurate recommendations for irritable bowel syndrome relief. In many cases, the worst offenders are fried foods, fast foods and foods high in sugar, as well as coffee and alcohol. Thus, eliminating those foods from the diet is often a good way to find almost immediate relief.
Dietary fiber from apples, pears, peaches, berries and leafy greens is helpful for slow bowel movements, because the fiber naturally stimulates the bowels to release its contents. Beans and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are also good foods that help, but they should be avoided in cases of severe gas, because they can worsen the symptom. In addition, drinking plenty of fluids can also help produce regular bowel movements and softer stools.
Those who do not respond well to the extra fiber can find irritable bowel syndrome relief by using various types of medications. Laxatives that stimulate bowel movements or increase the amount of fluids in the intestines can help in cases when the stool is hard to eliminate. Antidiarrheals, bile acid binding agents and antispasmodic drugs can help in cases when diarrhea and abdominal cramps are present. In some cases, depression and anxiety are also present and can be treated with antidepressants.
Irritable bowel syndrome relief also can be obtained by making certain lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and getting more exercise. Stress can be present for many reasons, and finding out what your stressors are is the first step in being able to eliminate — or at least reduce — your stress levels. Exercise, meditation and proper rest are good ways that you can reduce both physical and mental stress naturally. Another tip for finding irritable bowel syndrome relief is to reduce the stress on the digestive system by eating smaller meals at regular intervals.