Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a diagnosis based on signs and symptoms, not anatomical or physiological markers. The key signs and symptoms of IBS are:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Constipation and diarrhea, either alternating between both or one
- Bloating and excess gas.
- Mucus in stools.
Since there is no medical test for IBS, the diagnosis is based on if the patient is experiencing the key signs and symptoms. for 12 consecutive weeks with in a 12 month period and at least two of the following are true:
- The pain is relieved by having a bowel movement.
- The pain is connected to a change in how often you have a bowel movement.
- The pain is connected to a change in the appearance or consistency of your stool.
The causes of IBS can be:
- Motility: the signaling is off, resulting in either rapid or slowed transit time in the gut
- Visceral perception: tests show either high (diarrhea) or low (constipation) sensitivity to pressure in the upper and lower intestines
- Stress: frequency of life stress and/or poor ability to process stress
- Malabsorption: reduced ability to absorb certain sugars, acids from fatty foods, and food allergies.
Suggested dietary recommendations include avoiding caffeine, alcohol, gums and candies with the sugar sorbitol, citrus fruit if fructose intolerant and reducing consumption of gas-producing foods such as beans and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower cabbage, etc), while increasing fiber in the diet. Additionally, stress management is strongly emphasized, which includes regular exercise.
If the patient is willing to change make changes in their eating habits, acupuncture can relieve the IBS symptoms and pain. Schedule your appointment today – (206-455-4172) or schedule online. And acupuncture is also a good stress-buster.