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What is IBS?

What is IBS?

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome – a digestive condition nearly 1 in 5 suffer with. 

What is IBS? You may have heard of IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you may have it, or know others who have been diagnosed with the condition, but what actually is it?

In the short video clip below, Registered Dietitian Laura Tilt, explains what IBS is.

Laura then answers the questions ‘Why have I got IBS?’ and ‘How is IBS treated’ in the following videos.

IBS explained…

IBS is a really common digestive condition, which affects how the gut moves and functions, causing symptoms like tummy pain, bloating and a change in bowel habits – typically diarrhoea, constipation or a mixture of both.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects about 1 in 7 people (now thought to be more like 1 in 5) across the globe and is more common in women than men.

Why have I got IBS?

It’s likely there is no single cause, instead researchers believe that there is a combination of factors which can increase the risk of someone going on to develop IBS. 

So for example, we know that lots of people with IBS have extra-sensitive nerve endings in their gut and this means that they are more susceptible to feeling pain as a result of normal gas production in the large intestine. 

Other factors which are thought to play a role include genetics, stress, previous gut infections, the use of antibiotics and changes in the balance of bacteria in the gut, as well as other lifestyle factors.  

How is IBS treated?

Broadly speaking there are three different approaches. The first is changes to your diet and lifestyle – so about 9 in 10 people with IBS report that food seems to trigger their symptoms. We know that certain foods and drinks, like caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods and spicy foods can be symptom triggers for many people.

Other approaches within diet & lifestyle include taking gentle exercise and working to reduce your stress levels, as both these can be really helpful. 

The second approach is taking medications. So some medications will target symptoms, such as constipation or tummy pain. If you are interested in using this as an approach, you can talk to your GP or doctor.

The third approach to managing IBS is psychological support. This can include councelling or something called ‘cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talking therapy, which looks at how our thoughts and feelings affect our behaviour. Studies also show that relaxations and gut-directed hypnotherapy can be effective in helping to manage symptoms too.

Written by Registered Dietician Laura Tilt @nutritilty, on behalf of Bay’s Kitchen.

Copyright Bay’s Kitchen. Please do not reprint without permission. 


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