elimination diet for ibs - Digestive Disorders: Facts & Figures
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Digestive Disorders: Facts & Figures

Most people suffer from some sort of digestive disorders during their lifetime. It might be the common and less serious digestive system disorders like constipation, diarrhea, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome or something more serious like acid reflux (GERD), ulcerative colitis and Chron's disease. Digestive disorders and diseases affected 60 to 70 million Americans in 1996 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2002, 234,000 deaths were attributed to digestive system disorders and diseases. While more than 27,000 of these were due to liver disease or cirrhosis, there were 121 deaths that were caused by constipation, which is typically not one of the serious or life threatening digestive disorders.


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It is not a commonly understood condition, with the medical community unable to clarify the exact cause. IBS appears to occur due to the body's inability to regulate the bowel functions correctly. This leads to a number of unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, excessive wind and irregular bowel movements including constipation and/or diarrhoea. However, there are treatments available to allow sufferers to manage their symptoms.

If you start to notice irregular bowel movements or suffer prolonged abdominal discomfort you could be suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Keeping a diary to monitor food intake, exercise and stress levels is a good idea to track anything that may exacerbate your symptoms. When diagnosing IBS your medical practitioner will ask you for a general history of your bowel movements so keeping records will come in handy.

Figures are available for the number of prescriptions written for some of the digestive system disorders and diseases. 2.2 million Prescriptions were written for irritable bowel syndrome in 1985. And this is somewhat surprising, because currently the only prescription medication available for irritable bowel syndrome has only been proven effective for treating women. A million prescriptions were written in 1985 for constipation relief. Chronic constipation is sometimes a symptom of other digestive system disorders. For example, constipation or diarrhea may be present in irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastro-intestinal (GI) condition with no known cause or cure. It causes the GI tract to move too quickly (hypermotility) or too slowly (hypomotility) and the resulting symptoms include any one or a combination of the following: diarrhea, constipation, cramping, gas, pain or bloating. Symptoms usually run in cycles lasting for days, months or years. IBS can be disabling making sufferers feel like prisoners in their own home. IBS affects 35 million Americans, 4 of 5 are women, and it is more prevalent than asthma, diabetes, acid reflux and depression combined. There are likely millions who never pursue treatment due to embarrassment. 10% of all primary care physician visits are IBS related. It is the 2nd leading cause for employee absenteeism and costs the US 8 billion dollars/year. Diagnosing IBS is a process of exclusion which means a physician needs to rule out conditions such as lactose intolerance, Chron's disease, bacterial infections, parasites, dumping syndrome, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac and gallbladder disease before a diagnosis of IBS can be determined. The onset of symptoms ranges between the ages of 20-29 in adults and 9-11 in children. Onset of symptoms can sometimes be traced back to a traumatic event, illness, injury or accident. Some clients just begin having symptoms early in life for no apparent reason at all. IBS is also known to be familial. Many IBS sufferers go through life with no idea of what normal gastro-intestinal function is like. IBS symptoms can be aggravated by stress, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, foods high in animal or vegetable fat, beverages containing dyes, artificial sweeteners, food or medication sensitivities or hormone fluctuation but none are the cause. Some research indicates that IBS sufferers may have an abundance of specialized cells in the intestinal tract making them more reactive and sensitive. Irregular GI motility is responsible for the discomfort and inconsistent bowel movements. If the GI tract moves too quickly the body doesn't get enough time to absorb what it needs resulting in diarrhea. If it moves too slowly the body absorbs too much resulting in constipation. This erratic pattern can dramatically affects how nutrients are absorbed and how effective the colon absorbs waste out of the blood stream. (1) Traditional medical intervention includes high fiber diets, antispasmodics to relieve cramping and spasms; antidepressants to relieve the emotional burden and antidiarrhea medication. Research indicates that this approach offers symptom relief to only 25%. Because IBS is not life threatening, is not a precursor to acute illness and is undetectable with diagnostic equipment, sufferers are usually told they have to live with it. Hypnosis is the process of accessing subconscious thought which is the control center. The reason hypnosis is so effective for weight loss and smoking cessation is because the subconscious is where all of our habits, patterns, values and beliefs reside. Clients can be empowered to reframe their view of nutrition, exercise and to release unhealthy patterns in favor more positive ones. The subconscious mind also regulates our body's inner network of complicated mechanisms. It regulates our heart and respiratory rate, co-ordinates every step we take and controls the thousands of metabolic functions everyday of our lives. With unique access to this immensely powerful place hypnosis can positively redirect specific areas of GI function. Hypnosis as a treatment for IBS has been researched for 20 years and although it does not offer a cure it stands alone as the most significant long term symptom relief solution. The success rate of hypnosis relieving IBS symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation is consistently high ranging from 70-95%. Symptom relief usually lasts at least two years. Clients who do not respond as well to hypnosis treatment for IBS relief are those over 50 years of age, who are less open to process of hypnosis, those with psychiatric disorders, and one study indicates males with diarrhea as their major symptom. (2) For decades hypnosis has been one of the most misunderstood and overlooked holistic sciences but that is changing quickly. The best way to gain acceptance by the mainstream medical community is with the empirical evidence from scientific research. For 20 years researchers like Olafur S. Palsson, Peter Whorwell, William Gonsalkorale and L.A. Houghton have been studying the benefits of hypnosis for symptoms of IBS. The following are brief descriptions of some of their findings. One study compared 25 severe IBS clients treated with hypnosis to 25 patients with similar symptom severity treated with other methods. The hypnosis group showed that in addition to significant IBS symptom improvement they had fewer MD visits, lost less work time and rated an improved quality of life. Hypnosis clients unable to work before treatment went back to work afterwards. The study shows the economic benefits and improved health-related quality of life. (3) Another study which is the largest to date followed 250 IBS clients who were treated with 12 hypnosis sessions over a 3-month period and they also listened to recorded sessions at home. The conclusions showed dramatic improvement in all IBS symptoms. The average reduction in symptoms was more than 50% as well as increased quality of life and relief from anxiety and depression. (4) Lastly, the longest study to date treated and followed 204 IBS clients for up to 6 years. 71% showed immediate improvement, and 81% of this group was still improved years later. Quality of life scores were also still significantly improved at follow-up. Patients had less MD visits and required less medication long-term after hypnotherapy. Results indicate that most hypnosis clients benefit for at least five years. (5) (1) Melissa J. Roth C.Ht., Ph.D.; Hypnosis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (2) Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D. Hypnosis Treatment of IBS, Participate, fall 2002 (3) Houghton LA; Heyman DJ; Whorwell PJ.Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 1996 Feb. (4) Gonsalkorale WM, Houghton LA, Whorwell PJ. Am J Gastroenterol 2002 (5) Gonsalkorale WM, Miller V, Afzal A, Whorwell PJ. Gut. 2003 Nov.

 
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In 1990, 20% of the U.S. population suffered from acid reflux symptoms at least twice a week. Next to simple occasional heartburn, this may be the most common of all the digestive disorders. A recent study showed that 25% of all Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month. In 2002, 710,000 people were hospitalized due to acid reflux and other related esophageal disorders. There are no figures available on the number of dollars that Americans spend per year treating the digestive system disorders acid reflux and heartburn. This is due largely to the fact that many people treat these digestive disorders with over the counter antacids or other non-prescription medications and some people do not seek treatment at all.

Some foods can conversely be helpful in easing the symptoms of IBS, namely foods high in fiber. For example, bran, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Try introducing these foods into your diet, in small quantities first to allow your digestive system time to adjust. They will be particularly helpful if you suffer from constipation as they make stools soft and bulky and easier to pass.

Although not the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, stress can be a contributing factor to its symptoms. Try to introduce some relaxation techniques into your day such as meditation, yoga, exercise or any activity that you enjoy.

A problem with fecal matter is that it can become backed up in the colon, so keeping the colon cleansed is a major part of keeping it healthy, and gaining the benefits of a healthy colon for the rest of the body. Imagine if you will the walls of the colon lined with aging and deteriorating fecal matter. Not a pleasant thought, but a necessary one. This fecal matter contains bacteria which multiply. They in turn release toxins into the body. These toxins are poisons that can make you sick. This results in a condition called spastic colon, or irritable bowel syndrome. This irritable bowel syndrome can result in constipation, diarrhea, headache, body ache, water retention, bloating, cramping and abdominal pain and discomfort. These symptoms can be alleviated through proper cleansing of the colon. Proper colon cleansing is done through a healthy diet, high in fiber, low in fact, containing healthy foods like whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, green leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce, and legumes, like black beans, pinto beans, green beans and even peanuts.

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition effecting up to 20% of the population and the numbers are rising. There are more women sufferers than men and the age that it commonly starts is at around twenty. It is classed as a 'functional' disorder as it alters the way the body works and therefore is not diagnosable using traditional means such as examination or blood test.

Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience as a healthcare professional and currently writes informational articles for the Digestive Disorders Guide. Read more at http://www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

If you believe that you suffer from one of the digestive system disorders or diseases, it is important to seek help. If you know that you suffer from one of the digestive disorders, it is important to get treatment. Most of the common digestive system disorders can be controlled and treated. If left untreated some of the fairly common digestive disorders can lead to more serious health problems. For more information about specific digestive system disorders and disease, visit www.digestive-disorders-guide.com.

Certain foods are also recognized as triggers for IBS, such as fatty foods, caffeine and dairy products. Keeping a food diary will help you identify if eating these foods cause your symptoms to flare up and you can eliminate them in line with advice from your doctor.

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are many, but the most common, according to many experts, is a build up of fecal matter and the resulting gas and bacteria that comes from it in the colon. The bacteria grows rapidly and spreads toxins throughout the body. The body reacts in a multitude of ways. This can be manifested in constipation, diarrhea, headache, water retention, or abdominal pain and cramping. No one likes having irritable bowel syndrome. It is painful, uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Eating little and often has also been proven to relieve symptoms in some IBS sufferers. Try spreading your food intake over 5 meals a day. Eating too much in one sitting can bring on cramping and diarrhea for people at risk from IBS.

Over 1700 deaths were attributed to GERD, which is one of the digestive system disorders that can be effectively treated and controlled with medication, or herbal supplements, dietary and/or lifestyle changes. 825 deaths were due to ulcerative colitis and Chron's, which are digestive disorders called inflammatory bowel diseases and 22 were attributed to irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome is another one of the digestive system disorders that can be treated and controlled by using dietary supplements and making dietary and lifestyle changes, including stress management.

About the author:
Paul Gustafson RN, BSN, CH runs HealthyHypnosis.com of
Burlington, Massachusetts. His 11 years of acute cardiac and
hospice experience offer a solid foundation supporting his
clinical approach to hypnotherapy. Visit HealthyHypnosis.com or
call toll free at 888-290-3972.

There are medications available that play a role in relieving the symptoms. Fiber supplements or laxatives are sometimes prescribed for constipation, there are also drugs available to reduce diarrhea and control colon muscle spasms. Antidepressants may also be prescribed. Your doctor will talk through the most appropriate approach for you to take, determined by the symptoms that you suffer from.

Thousands of Americans suffer from ibs - irritable bowel syndrome. It affects young, old and middle aged. Men and women are both affected by this ailment. Many thousands of man hours are lost in the working world due to absence or when a person comes in to work, from being less productive simply because they don’t feel well. Irritable bowel syndrome is blight upon American culture and on the American economy, and it is treatable and doesn’t have to be that way.

About the author:
Kirsten Whittaker has an interest in IBS. You can find further
articles at HREF=http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ibs-articles/ target="_blank">ht
tp://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ibs-articles/ and
additional IBS information at HREF=http://www.irritablebowelsyndromeguide.info/ target="_blank">http://www.irri
tablebowelsyndromeguide.info/


 
 
     
 
 





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