What exactly is irritable bowel syndrome?
A chronic digestive disease
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also known as functional bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), is a disorder of the functioning of the intestine . Although benign , this disease is responsible for significant digestive discomfort and degrades the quality of life of those affected. Indeed, it is a chronic pathology which combines abdominal pain and regular transit disorders (constipation, diarrhea). Its origin being poorly understood, it is too often neglected. However, it is much more widespread than we think since it affects approximately 5 to 10% of the population . It affects many more women than men, or around three women for every man .
What are the causes ?
The symptoms of functional colopathy can be favored or accentuated by fatigue or psychological factors such as anxiety or stress, but there is nothing psychosomatic about this disease. Indeed, even if the causes of IBS are still unknown, it has been clearly demonstrated that this syndrome is associated with:
- Disorders of intestinal motility : food moves too quickly or too slowly, which leads to acceleration or slowdown of transit and therefore to constipation, diarrhea, or an alternation of the two. This irregularity in bowel activity also leads to bloating, cramping and abdominal pain.
- Increased intestinal sensitivity : people with SSI have more sensitive intestines and experience bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain more painfully than a person not affected by SSI.
- The imbalance of the intestinal microbiota : in the event of dysbiosis, that is to say in the event of an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria of the intestinal microbiota, the tightness of the intestinal wall decreases, which promotes an increase in intestinal permeability . This allows potentially harmful substances to leave the intestine and enter the body more widely. Thus, this hypermeability would participate in the creation of an inflammatory reaction, itself at the origin of the strong intestinal sensitivity.
What symptoms should alert me?
Stomach aches, spasms, burning, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, but sometimes also headaches, muscle pain or severe fatigue... The most common symptoms are grouped into three categories:
- Abdominal pain : This is the most common symptom in irritable bowel syndrome. This pain is characterized by a spasm or cramping sensation and can be located anywhere in the abdomen, usually around the navel. They are often accentuated a few hours after a meal.
- Bloating: Very common in IBS, it represents a discomfort that is difficult to bear, making it very difficult to wear tight clothing, especially after meals. They are often accompanied by noises due to the movement of gases and liquids.
- Transit disorders: They most often manifest as constipation. However, diarrhea is possible. People affected by IBS may also experience alternating diarrhea/constipation.
All of these symptoms are certainly mild but can considerably alter the daily life of those affected. To be able to speak of irritable bowel syndrome, these symptoms must be present at least one day a week and last for at least six months.
For the moment, management of the disease is based solely on solutions that aim to reduce pain and discomfort.
How to relieve these symptoms naturally?
If you are looking for natural solutions to replace or supplement the use of certain medications, antispasmodics and transit regulators, you are in the right place!
Get into the habit of giving yourself a belly self-massage
Abdominal pain is often linked to excessive fermentation which causes bloating. Performing a self-massage of the stomach is very effective in relieving pain . It boosts colon motility and helps with the progression of painful gas and stools. To perform your massage, place your hands on your stomach, on each side of the navel, horizontally, and inhale. As you exhale, squeeze your stomach gently as if you were trying to bring your two hands together. Note that this exercise is not to be done right after eating, but rather on an empty stomach in the morning or evening.
Practice hypnosis to combat stress
Anxiety and stress can make symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome worse. Many relaxation methods help reduce stress like meditation, yoga, hypnosis, etc. Hypnotherapy is the most scientifically studied and could reduce digestive symptoms in patients with IBS. The hypnotherapist works on letting go and releasing tension in the body , particularly in the stomach, through breathing exercises.
Rebalance your intestinal flora
Probiotics can serve as a basic treatment to restore the balance of intestinal flora . In fact, they affect the bacterial composition of the intestine and help fight against dysbiosis . In this context, the Healthy Guts food supplement is a good help to restore the balance of the microbiota and take care of your health by acting on the symptoms caused by IBS . It is composed of 4 patented probiotic strains studied via clinical studies which have been selected for their complementary effectiveness on the intestinal microbiota. In addition to being gastro-resistant, these capsules are vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free and are made in France.
Consider peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil has antispasmodic properties and may therefore improve some symptoms of IBS, such as cramps and bloating . Its use is recognized by the World Health Organization. Indeed, it facilitates digestion , relaxes the muscles of the intestine and colon, calms pain in the digestive tract and facilitates intestinal transit .
Relieve your intestines with naturopathy
Constipation, bloating, abdominal cramps, etc. all these digestive disorders linked to IBS can be painful and embarrassing. Thanks to the combination of digestive enzymes, fennel, calcium, zinc and vitamins, the Digestive Comfort treatment acts on the entire digestive system and thus allows you to regain soothed digestion and good transit . Indeed, the active ingredients contained in these two small chlorophyll capsules are known to optimize the digestion of a wide variety of foods (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, milk, fiber, etc.), gently stimulate intestinal transit a little. lazy , and finally fight against bloating , abdominal pain and flatulence in a natural way.
Opt for a specific diet
The vast majority of people affected by IBS make a connection between their digestive symptoms and their diet. It is therefore often advisable to analyze your diet and identify the foods that trigger or accentuate your pain , bloating or flatulence. You can remove them from your diet to restore balance to your intestine and gradually reintroduce them after 4 to 6 weeks. Following this diet for a few weeks is generally enough to increase tolerance to certain foods.
Certain recommendations have shown interesting effectiveness in irritable bowel syndrome:
- Eat soluble fiber in normal quantities (oats, barley, rye) to guarantee good transit without laxatives, while avoiding excesses and insoluble fiber (whole wheat, spelled, peas, cabbage, dried fruits) which increase bloating.
- Reduce the consumption of fermentable foods (broccoli, cabbage, dried beans, peas) which, due to their fermentation, produce gas and make digestion even more painful.
- Avoid raw vegetables , which are very irritating to the intestine, and prefer cooked vegetables.
- Reduce the consumption of fatty foods because fats require much more digestion than other nutrients and often cause abdominal pain.
- Reduce the consumption of foods rich in fermentable sugars, called FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols), because their fermentation in the colon causes bloating, flatulence, pain, etc. Concretely, we must reduce lactose (milk, yogurts), fructose (honey, wheat, barley, apples, pears), or even sweeteners such as sorbitol (chewing gum, industrial dishes).
Do not combine several diets or opt for a diet that is too restrictive as you could trigger nutritional deficiencies. We advise you to be supervised by a dietitian/nutritionist or to seek the advice of your doctor if you have the slightest doubt.
INSERM. Anger in the stomach: What is irritable bowel syndrome? Inserm, science for health. 09/14/2021. [online]. In: https://www.inserm.fr/c-est-quoi/la-rage-au-ventre-cest-quoi-le-syndrome-de-lintestin-irritable/
AMELI. Recognize irritable bowel syndrome. Ameli, health insurance. January 31, 2020. [online]. In: https://www.ameli.fr/assure/sante/themes/syndrome-intestin-irritable/reconnaitre-syndrome-intestin-irritable