There are a growing number of books addressing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) these days, suggesting that the condition is becoming more prevalent. And there are a variety of approaches for healing, or at least controlling, intestinal distress and discomfort.
For example, in “Overcoming IBS,” by Dr. Jonathan Berkowitz, the BRAT diet is presented. Easy enough to remember, it stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast. These fiber rich foods have been shown in studies to help those who suffer with chronic diarrhea common in IBS.
In “Digestive Wellness” by Dr. Elizabeth Lipski, which deals with a variety of intestinal maladies, several herbs are presented to stem the cramping and gas that many IBS sufferers experience. Ginger, Fennel and Anise, taken as tablets or brewed into teas are suggested, as well as Chlorophyll tablets or Charcoal capsules to ease or absorb the gas.
Author Heather Van Vorous also has a popular website (helpforibs.com) for those who suffer from the intestinal anguish of IBS. In fact, Van Vorous states on her website that as many as 38% of people who have IBS have considered suicide due to its debilitating effects.
In addition to her website, Van Vorous has written “The First Year: IBS,” offering key strategies for controlling IBS, as well as an extensive cookbook, “Eating for IBS,” in which she provides assorted recipes that contain soluble fiber, a key player in controlling IBS. Van Vorous strongly recommends avoiding insoluble fibers, like whole grains, for example, because they can exacerbate your symptoms.
Visiting with a gastroenterologist might yield the suggestion to eat more fiber, too. Also, one might have to undergo a number of tests to see if there is something more gravely wrong than simple IBS, like Ulcerative Colitis or, the worst case scenario, colon cancer. Often a test for Celiac Disease will be ordered as well. If everything comes back negative (good), a form of stress relief help might be prescribed, as too much stress can also lead to tummy issues.
Could Gluten Sensitivity be the Real Culprit?
Dr. Shari Lieberman, author of “The Gluten Connection,” says absolutely yes! It’s an intolerance that’s long been recognized to wreak havoc in the gut. Very often it is sensitivity to wheat and other gluten containing foods that is sabotaging a person’s health.
In her book she states that blood tests for Celiac Disease do not reveal gluten-intolerance or gluten-sensitivity, and so it simply goes undiagnosed. Furthermore, as much as 20% of the population is given a diagnosis of IBS, or functional bowel disorder—characterized by bloating, cramping, gas and diarrhea—and then they are stuck with that diagnosis and no real direction.
In “The Gluten Connection,” Dr. Lieberman indicates that reaction to gluten can mimic intestinal disorders from IBS to Inflammatory Bowel Disease to Gastroesophageal Reflux, also known as GERD.
She offers an explanation, information on how to get blood tests that reveal gluten sensitivity/intolerance, along with a list of foods to avoid when going gluten free shopping. And she guarantees that after 14 days on her program a person can reduce, even reverse symptoms. Certainly a possibility worth exploring for the legions of people whose bowels are in an uproar!
By Raena M.
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