Can IBS be prevented?
Digestive issues can and often are experienced by those who have anxiety or depression, as well as stress. However, those with IBS who are also under a large amount of stress, tend to experience more severe cases of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation. It is advised that you find avenues in which to deal with your stress and possibly ease your symptoms of IBS.
These are listed accordingly:
- Counselling – Psychiatrists or psychologists are able to equip you with coping techniques and teach you how to respond to certain events that cause stress (stressors) and how you can change your reaction to them.
- Relaxation techniques and exercises – In these progressive techniques, you begin by tightening your muscles one at a time. Starting at your feet, you tighten their muscles, concentrating on the muscles and then slowly releasing them and the tension stored in the tense muscles. Then move up to your calves, hamstrings, and continue moving up the body, taking on one muscles group at a time and then slowly releasing the tension and you release the muscle. By doing this daily, even when sitting at your desk, your body will start to relax more and more in stressful situations.
- Biofeedback – This a technique that helps reduce the tension in the muscles and slow down your heart rate through the help and feedback of a specialised machine. After which, you will be taught how to create these positive changes on your own. The technique basically teaches you how to control the reactions of your body through monitoring involuntary reactions of your body and training you to control them. The idea here is to help you to enter into a relaxed state of mind in order to deal with stress more effectively.
- Deep breathing techniques – Breathing from your diaphragm can help invoke a sense of calmness and bring more oxygen into your lungs. The majority of people tend to breathe from the chest, but breathing from your diaphragm is most beneficial, resulting in the separation of the muscles of your chest from the abdomen. This means that when inhaling, you must expand your belly and when you exhale, your belly will automatically contract. This aids in relaxing the muscles in your abdomen which can result in your bowel activity normalising.
- Mindfulness – This is a technique which often involves meditation and enables you to focus on being present in the moment and helps you to let go of distractions or worries.
- Other stress-releasing techniques – Try setting aside at least 20 minutes a day to yourself. Whether you spend it going for a walk, lying in a bath or just lying down, try to focus your energy on yourself, your goals and relaxing.
What is the outlook for IBS?
IBS is known to be a very painful condition and does not have a cure as yet due to the exact cause being unknown. It is best to immediately consult with your doctor if you have rectal bleeding, progressive abdominal pain or drastic weight loss due to IBS.
If you are able to understand what IBS is and the subtype you may have, this will greatly help you and your doctor to find a reliable and effective plan of treatment in order to relieve and manage your IBS symptoms.