Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Functional Dyspepsia (FD)
Functional Digestive Disorders like IBS and FD can be extremely uncomfortable because they are characterized by a range of unpleasant GI symptoms occurring together. They can also severely impact your quality of life. “Functional” means the bowel looks normal (i.e. no inflammation or lesions can be seen that might explain the symptoms) but does not function properly.
If you think you might be suffering from a Functional Digestive Disorder, make sure you visit your doctor.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common functional digestive disorders. IBS isn’t dangerous but it can be a major burden to sufferers, keeping them from enjoying their day to day routine.
Symptoms of IBS include recurrent abdominal pain and cramps, bloating, flatulence, feelings of pressure, diarrhoea, passing stools irregularly, and feeling like you still need to “go” once you’ve passed a stool. Constipation is also possible, it can be the most frequent symptom or alternate with diarrhea.
How is IBS diagnosed?
Patients with IBS often experience a range of symptoms, so diagnosis isn’t always easy. It’s usually based on ruling out other diseases. An irritable bowel is likely if indigestion issues are particularly present in the intestine, but aren’t triggered by inflammation, infection, intolerance to sugars, or any other causes. There’s a lot of overlap between IBS and Functional Dyspepsia (FD), so it can be difficult to clearly separate the two diseases when it comes to diagnosis.
To be diagnosed with IBS, you must have experienced abdominal pain or discomfort at least three days a month, for the last three months. You must also experience two or more of the following:
- Feeling better after passing a stool
- An onset of symptoms when the frequency with which you pass stools changes
- An onset of symptoms when the appearance of your stools changes, without evidence of damage due to a disease
If you think you might be suffering from IBS, make sure you visit your doctor.
What causes IBS?
The exact cause of IBS isn’t yet known. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome tend to have organs (e.g. the colon) that are more sensitive to pain. Gender, age, genetics, hormonal changes, medications, gastrointestinal infections, allergies and certain foods have all been linked to the development of IBS. Doctors and researchers also believe that psychological reasons like stress play a large part.
Is there a cure?
Unfortunately there’s currently no cure for IBS. Treatments tend to focus on easing or stopping the digestive symptoms associated with the syndrome. Try Iberogast for fast, effective, safe relief you can rely on. Changing your routine can make a big difference too. Patients can begin to learn when their symptoms tend to occur, such as when they eat certain foods like cabbages and onions, when they don’t take enough exercise, or when they’re under a lot of stress. They can then adapt their routine to avoid triggering their IBS.
Tips for managing IBS
- Eat slowly and don’t eat when stressed
- Chew and swallow carefully
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Avoid foods that trigger constipation and bloating e.g. oats, linseed
- Eat plenty of fruit, salad and vegetables
- Use relaxation techniques
- Exercise regularly
- Add digestive spices to your meals e.g. caraway
- Take Iberogast
Along with IBS, Functional Dyspepsia (FD) is one of the most common functional digestive disorders. FD sums up digestive symptoms including cramps, pain, epigastric burning, feelings of fullness, nausea, vomiting and bloating.
People who suffer from FD tend to react to excitement and stress in the upper abdomen, and often experience eating as a burden. They have what’s sometimes called a “nervous stomach”.
How is FD diagnosed?
There’s a lot of overlap between IBS and Functional Dyspepsia (FD), so it can be difficult for a diagnosis to clearly separate the two diseases. Patients with FD are often bothered by acid reflux, feelings of pressure, nausea, and severe abdominal pain. These symptoms can often not be traced back to particular foods or behaviours. To be diagnosed with FD, you must show no evidence of damage or other visible changes of the digestive system.
When it comes to diagnosing FD, long-term monitoring is very important. To be diagnosed with the syndrome, you must have experienced one or more of the following for the last 3 months:
- Uncomfortable feelings of fullness after eating
- Feeling full early on
- Pain immediately below the ribs, in the upper abdomen
- A burning sensation immediately below the ribs, in the upper abdomen
Your symptoms must also have started at least 6 months before diagnosis. So if you suspect you may have a digestive syndrome, consider keeping a diary to record and track your symptoms over time and share with your doctor.
What causes FD?
The exact cause of FD isn’t yet known. The symptoms are very varied, and so are the reasons behind them. Eating too quickly and swallowing too much air can contribute to a nervous stomach, as can greasy food, spices, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes and too much sugar. Stomach muscles that work too slowly are a suspected cause of FD. This slowness means that food can’t be transported quickly enough. An over-active gastric motor function can also be to blame; strong muscular movements can lead to severe abdominal pain. For some people, FD is triggered by an irritable stomach or aggravated by infection with Helicobacter pylori. Psychological factors such as stress and emotional upset are also thought to play a big role.
Is there a cure?
Scientists and clinicians have not yet found a cure for FD, but there are things you can do to stop or limit the digestive symptoms associated with the disease. Try Iberogast for fast, effective, safe relief. Keeping a journal of your mood, meals, and symptoms can help you to identify and avoid triggers. Breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and even psychotherapy are also handy ways to manage FD, especially for those who struggle to cope with stress.
Tips for managing FD
- Avoid fatty foods and hot spices
- Avoid alcohol, coffee and cigarettes
- Don’t eat foods that trigger flatulence
e.g. cabbage, legumes and onions
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Eat little and often
- Keep active and exercise regularly
- Enjoy a healthy, varied diet
- Do relaxation exercises e.g. yoga and meditation
- Don’t season food to heavily
- Take Iberogast
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables