One of the most common GI issues people in the Thryve Gut Health Program suffer from is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS is a gastric problem with several symptoms which overlap with other conditions that cause gastrointestinal distress.
These uncomfortable symptoms have blurred lines with symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), to name a few. Therefore, differentiating between these common GI issues can be an issue all within itself!
Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of IBS. Also, we’ll discuss what you can do to treat this gastrointestinal problem and how to prevent IBS from occurring in the future.
What is the Cause of IBS?
Approximately one out of ten people are diagnosed with IBS. This statistic breaks down to about 15% of the world’s population suffering from this gastric problem .
Suffice to say; there’s a good chance that you or a loved one has these sort of GI problems and aren’t even aware of it.
The thing is, despite all of the science that has been done, there does not seem to be any specifically-known causes of IBS. There is, however, a lot of educated hypotheses.
According to a meta-analysis by Harvard:
“No one knows what causes IBS. Some studies suggest that the nerves of the colon may be much more sensitive than usual in people with IBS. The normal movement of food and gas through the colon causes pain, intestinal spasms and an irregular pattern of bowel movements .”– Harvard
Unlike other GI issues, such as the similarly named Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), IBS doesn’t cause other gastrointestinal disorders like colitis. Also, those with IBS are not any more likely to develop fatal gastrointestinal disorders such as colon cancer.
With that being said, the symptoms of IBS are very uncomfortable and do cause serious gastrointestinal distress. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms of IBS.
There are many symptoms of IBS that will bleed over into other GI disorders. The difference is the frequency of these symptoms, the stomach bacteria making them happen, and which foods might be triggering these episodes.
Here’s a slight glimpse at some of the foods that may cause symptoms of IBS. As you can see many of these foods are within the wheelhouse of a healthy gut diet plan. However, don’t get stressed about it. We’ll talk about that a little bit later.
The main symptoms of IBS include:
- Gas in Stomach
- Abdominal Pain
- Frequent Bathroom Trips
Symptoms of IBS can cause a lowered quality of life for most people. In the same breath, everyone has a unique gut biome (which is why we started Thryve Inside). So, some might find these symptoms tolerable and the GI issues won’t impede on their day-to-day routine. No matter where you are on the spectrum, no one needs to live their life in gastrointestinal distress.
Individual Gut Biome and GI Issues
While we outlined the main symptoms of IBS above, these GI problems can vary quite drastically from person to person. Some people may mainly experience constipation, while others battle bouts of diarrhea. It’s not uncommon to experience both symptoms at the same time or to fluctuate between the two regularly.
In fact, according to Harvard:
“The severity of the disorder varies from person to person. Some people experience symptoms that come and go and are just mildly annoying. Others have such severe daily bowel problems that IBS affects their ability to work, sleep and enjoy life. In addition, symptoms may change over time. A person may have severe symptoms for several weeks and then feel well for months or even years .”
Knowing how bad the symptoms can be, what can be done to treat or prevent IBS so that it is far more manageable? Let’s take a look!
How to Treat or Prevent IBS
There is no known cure for IBS. However, it is possible to help treat this gastrointestinal problem, which can help to reduce the severity of some of the symptoms. While these life hacks won’t have the symptoms go away for good, it may help. Knowing what may trigger an onset of GI issues, and how to combat that source, may cause you to avoid unnecessary pain.
While stress does not cause IBS, it can make the symptoms of it much worse. That is why practicing mindfulness is so important. Mental stress can easily transform into something more physical in the long run.
The best ways to destress would be to take a break, and just meditate.
If you feel the need to move around, then find a compromise with yoga.
In fact, there are many yoga poses for all sorts of GI problems.
You can also do other fun activities like playing video games, going outside in the sun for a walk, and listening to calming music. Do whatever you need to do destress. Thanks to the gut-brain-axis, if your mind is at ease, then your gut will be too.
Change Your Diet
Remember when we discussed food triggering those horrid symptoms? You might want to eliminate some trigger-happy nom-noms from your menu plan. Try adopting a low FODMAP diet.
The FODMAP diet is popular among people who are trying to lessen their uncomfortable GI problems. This diet was crafted specifically to help reduce digestive issues in people who suffer from them. It removes foods that contain ingredients that may cause GI issues.
Some of these foods are rather typical, such as fatty animal meats and refined sugar. However, other inclusions in a low FODMAP Diet shocking because they are healthy, such as onions and beans.
Another thing that you should limit is caffeine. Many of us need our morning cup of coffee in order to start the day. For a lot of us, that morning cup of coffee also has us running to the bathroom. Attempt to eliminate, or at the very least reduce, the amount of caffeine that you consume every day.
Lastly, consider adding more fiber to your diet. This addition to your menu is excellent because fiber is known to help with both constipation, as well as diarrhea.
Fiber is mainly found in plant foods. Eat a lot of leafy greens, carrots, and berries to reduce gastrointestinal distress.
Consume Probiotics Supplements
Most symptoms of IBS start at the gut. Think about it…diarrhea, bloating, cramping? That’s all gastrointestinal distress. So, you need to make your gut biome a better place for your microbes to live. That’s why you need personalized probiotics supplements for gut health.
A diverse microbiome can prevent any one type of bacteria in the gut from overpopulating. Having a plethora of intestinal flora species can help prevent SIBO, which is a disorder many with IBS have.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome AND SIBO
Approximately one-third of people who are diagnosed with IBS also have SIBO . A study looking into this matter looked at the gut health of healthy volunteers and people who are diagnosed with SIBO.
331 people participated in this study. Results found that 105 of the IBS patients and 7 of the healthy volunteers have SIBO.
Furthermore, scientists conducting the experiment broke the IBS group into four categories. People were classified by which symptoms were most intense for them.
Symptom groups classified included:
- Mixed Constipation and Diarrhea
“Patients with IBS have been classified according to Rome III criteria into 4 groups: IBS-constipation, IBS-diarrhea, IBS-mixed (alternation of constipation/and diarrhea) and IBS-unclassified. Diarrhea and mixed symptoms were found to be predictive for SIBO.”– Rom J Intern Med.
These results are why taking probiotics supplements that are unique to your gut biome are so essential. Enroll in the Thryve Gut Health Program to get an in-depth analysis of your particular stomach bacteria.
Using that knowledge, we then formulate personalized probiotics supplements targeted at the intestinal flora causing you gastrointestinal distress.
 “About Us.” About IBS, 24 Nov. 2016, www.aboutibs.org/facts-about-ibs.html.
 Harvard Health Publishing. (2018, December 10). Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Harvard Health. Retrieved May 1, 2019, from Harvard Health website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs-a-to-z
 Moraru, Ioana G, et al. “Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Is Associated to Symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Evidence from a Multicentre Study in Romania.” Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine = Revue Roumaine De Medecine Interne, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25509557.