Irritable bowel syndrome impacts one out of 20 people in the U.S., it’s crucial to understand more about IBS symptoms, diagnosis and treatments. So let’s dig into how you can understand IBS and control its symptoms.
Do I have Irritable bowel syndrome?
The exact cause of IBS remains unknown. However, we know that certain factors and triggers play a role in causing IBS symptoms. These triggers include abnormalities in the digestive system, stress, abnormal gut microbes, weak intestinal contractions and gastroenteritis after-effects.
IBS affects the large intestine, and common symptoms include abdominal pain, stool appearance changes and erratic bowel movements. If you have bowel movement-related cramping or bloating, diarrhea or constipation, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have IBS. However, if you notice your symptoms have become chronic, it’s time to consult with your doctor to get some relief.
Can I manage my IBS symptoms?
Because IBS is a complex condition with various triggers and contributing factors, there is no one course of treatment or medication. Instead, our best advice is to manage your symptoms, understand and avoid your triggers and develop effective prevention strategies.
It’s best to follow a gut-healthy diet and eat regularly; skipping meals can disrupt digestive health and result in irregular bowel function. Avoiding or eliminating foods from your diet that have triggered your symptoms is another good way to manage your IBS. Patients commonly identify foods that cause IBS attacks as fried, fiber-filled and high-lactose foods, as well as caffeine and carbonated drinks.
The Relationship Between Vitamin C and Irritable bowel syndrome
Improving gut health is vital in controlling common IBS symptoms. Leading experts have explored the relationship between IBS and Vitamin C.
Vitamin C deficiencies are linked to poor immunity, fatigue, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. However, high doses of Vitamin C can also negatively impact the body and cause gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach aches and diarrhea. So, Vitamin C balance is crucial as both insufficiency and over-consumption can exacerbate IBS symptoms.
The key to consuming an adequate amount lies in eating foods that naturally contain Vitamin C and to minimize your intake of ascorbic acid in processed foods. Many people confuse ascorbic acid and Vitamin C because they are represented the same in supplement form. However, they are not synonymous. The problem with taking synthetic ascorbic acid is that it may ultimately lead to malabsorption of Vitamin C, causing the vitamin to remain in the intestines, rather than being absorbed and used by the body, which can cause symptoms like IBS.
To meet your daily Vitamin C requirement, eat Vitamin C-rich foods like guava, broccoli, red pepper, spinach, grapefruit and strawberries.
If you have a chronic disease like Irritable bowel syndrome, a natural gut-healing diet may also help control your IBS symptoms.
Pay attention to IBS symptoms beyond abnormal bowel movements and abdominal pain/bloating. It’s time to consult with a gastroenterologist if you’re experiencing these symptoms and they’re affecting your life.