According to statistics, 22% of the population suffers or has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, with women being the most affected. Its cause has not been scientifically proven, but it has been deduced that it is related to periods of stress and emotions. We will explain its symptoms, for women especially.
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
The exact name is “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” (IBS) and it includes a series of circumstances that a person experiences, specifically abdominal pain and very significant changes in the intestinal rhythm. There are no infections or physical changes involved, and it is not due to any kind of colitis or spastic colon. A doctor will diagnose you after various tests, but in general, it tends to occur in women who are younger than 35.
What Causes It?
As we stated above, the mechanisms that cause it are still unknown. It is often due to a chronic disease –episodes that repeat every month. There are digestive problems, changes in intestinal movement… Experts say that in some way, the colon acts almost like a second brain. This is where your nerves and anxieties are located. Any worry can cause a change in the digestion process, as small as it may be.
But IBS can also be influenced by certain foods that you react badly to, as well as hormonal changes and genetic factors. For example, if your mother suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, it is common for you to suffer from it too.
What Are the Symptoms?
1. Abdominal Pain
This is definitely the main symptom. It tends to appear especially in the lower part of the abdomen and towards both or one side. It is a kind of very characteristic burning that can sometimes range from the lumbar area and even to the legs.
The pain tends to come at moments as pricks and burning. It is very uncomfortable and incapacitating.
2. Painful Menstruation
According to statistics, it is more common for women who have especially painful periods to experience irritable bowel syndrome. It is what is known as dysmenorrhea, and tends to happen when certain hormones cause greater contractions in uterine muscles.
That is why the hormonal factor determines if you are in the greater percentage of women who experience this disease. In general, it tends to be passed from mothers to daughter. You should keep it in mind.
3. Periods of Constipation and Periods of Diarrhea
This is also very common. Sometimes you could spend days without going to the bathroom. In turn, other times you could suffer from uncomfortable diarrhea. Bowel movements also tend to be painful. You don’t know what to eat to solve it, because you feel full and you tend to lose your appetite. You can also experience bothersome gas.
4. Your Emotional State
Irritable bowel syndrome and your emotions are intimately related. You have surely noticed that when you suffer from periods of stress and anxiety, that is when your intestine suffers the most and when you feel the worst. However, when you are calmer, the situation gets better and relaxes. You should therefore be attentive to those periods when you feel bad emotionally and when you have problems.
If you are a person who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, you know that its occurrence will make itself known. You have to see it almost as a headache. You don’t need to have an organic problem to suffer from its pain – sometimes fatigue, poor diet, worries, or anxiety can make you suffer from it. The same thing happens with irritable bowel syndrome.
As a result, it is fundamental to start to manage your emotions, stress, and anxiety properly.
How to Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
When you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, we recommend that you follow these steps:
- Avoid acidic foods, like coffee, caffeinated beverages like Coke…
- Avoid sweets and all those foods with refined flour.
- Various studies say that in these cases, you should reduce your consumption of gluten, because it tends to make it worse.
- Avoid animal proteins as well: red meat, fish…
- Eat a little bit a few times a day. In other words, it’s better to eat small amounts 6 times a day. Remember to chew well.
- Drink plenty of water. Beet juice with carrot is great.
- Increase your consumption of probiotics. These care for and strengthen your intestine: fermented milks, yogurts, miso…
- Citrus fruits are great: peaches, strawberries, kiwis, apples, papayas.
- Mint oil acts as a good protector.
- In regards to infusions and herbal teas, the best kinds are fennel seeds, mint infusions, and melissa infusions.
Above all, remember to manage your emotions properly and stress so that it doesn’t overcome you. Establish priorities in your life and recognize what is most important. Protect your self-esteem and try to get time to yourself to do your own things every day, resting and doing whatever makes you happy.