April is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Awareness Month


It’s National IBS month! Not commonly something associated with excitement, I know. But as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects almost all of us with autoimmune related illness (as a comorbid syndrome), it is important that we know as much about it as we can, as well as how to make ourselves comfortable.

Technically, IBS is still considered a diagnosis of exclusion. Basically, you have all the symptoms – bloating, constant change in bowel habits, cramping, general abdominal discomfort and my favorite: abdominal distension (I often look 5 months pregnant!) – and yet all of your scopes have come back without any concrete information. I have both Celiac Disease and Gastroparesis (illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract), and my IBS is both separate and just as much of a hassle.

The best options for increasing health and comfort are:

· Change in diet (particularly in favor of increased fiber intake!). It is recommended to not eat and drink caffeinated beverages as they stimulate the intestines. Also, eating smaller meals is important for many gastrointestinal problems.

· Medications – ranging from magnesium supplements, laxatives, antispasmodics, and antidepressants.

· Psychotherapy, herbal remedies, acupuncture and yoga are also considered to be effective.

· Minimize stress (not that I have ever managed to have life not throw me a curveball…)

· BE PREPARED. When you go on outings make sure you know where the bathrooms are in case of emergencies.

My personal favorite is the heating pad strapped to the stomach approach.

I hope that some of this information is helpful to you! If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, what are your best methods to ease the discomfort?! I would love to know.


Article written by staff writer, Annie Martin

Annie is a young Canadian woman struggling with Fibromyalgia, CFS, and autoimmune issues. She blogs daily at www.fragileannie.com and monthly for The Fight Like Club in the hopes of raising awareness of central sensitization disorders (and hopefully subsequent research)!

  • Cherries 1985

    Protransitus lp. Its a prebiotic from Spain. I came across it on a holiday. I was seriously ill for 2.5 years and this helped. Also a tens machine on the highest setting was the only way to deal with the pain. I know I will never be better. Or be able to do everything. But knowing your own limitations is the only true wayi found to deal with this. 4 years later my sick record is much better but my life is very much on a back burner.

    Thank you for sharing I hope anyone who reads these will understand just a little more.

  • nice post, very helpful information. thanks

  • gators

    What helps here: (easy) homemade Bulgarian yogurt w/sev. live cultures, obtained from http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/p/164-Yogurt-Bulgarian-1-packet.html.

    If you tolerate psyllium, mix a cup-full with frozen fruit and viola–instant dessert. For a change, layer yogurt w/frozen fruit. OR, mix all three together in a larger bowl or glass. If IBS makes us miserable these are ways to bring joy. HTH

  • Although you mentioned most of them here are some of my tips and tricks:
    – Try to eliminate stress (meditation, music, exercise, yoga, etc…)
    – Limit carbonated, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks
    – Use chamomile tea for some reduction in cramps (easy to keep in your purse, car, desk, etc…)
    – Wait 15 minutes after you’ve finished eating before leaving a restaurant. This allows your body some time to respond and can save you from running around a city looking for a restroom.

    Align’s specific strain of probiotic was shown in research to improve IBS symptoms, so I’m trying that out. I’ve been on it almost 3 weeks now and only had cramps 1 day, so it seems like it is helping me.