If you have IBS WITH CONSTIPATION, you really want to know the treatment that will sort out your symptoms. Diet, lifestyle, laxatives all play a role.
Often referred to as IBS-C, the condition means you can't poo or open your bowels.
It can also mean difficulty in opening your bowels due to straining or trying to pass a hard stool.
The condition can be associated with other symptoms including tiredness, wind, bloating, nausea, urine frequency and abdominal pain, features that I am sure you are familiar with!
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This form of IBS isn't difficult to DIAGNOSE, although can be confused with chronic constipation.
The criteria for diagnosis is called the IBS Rome III Criteria.
Symptoms have to be present for at least 3 months or present during those three months and associated with abdominal pain to make the diagnosis.
Stool frequency (or how often you go to the toilet) has to be reduced to 3 or less bowel movements a week, with a change in consistency or form of your poo or feces (such as rabbit pellet stool type).
You may also have noticed mucus (saliva substance from your bottom) which is often associated with bloating and wind.
RELIEVING your symptoms requires a lot of different approaches, but the best IBS-C treatments actually don’t involve drugs.
There are many options available including lifestyle changes, diet, laxatives, a review of any drugs you're taking by your doctor, bowel cleansers and colonic irrigation.
We all know people don't EXERCISE enough, often have a poor fluid intake and a poor diet to name a few.
Maybe you recognize this in yourself?
How much fluid do you drink? In constipation, it needs to be around 3 litres a day.
Poor fluid intake or inappropriate fluid intake is common in IBS-C.
I challenge you to physically measure the volume of fluid, rather than relying on judgement, as you'll be surprised how little you drink - I know this for a fact as I've tried it myself!
You can drink water or juices, it doesn't really matter, but try to avoid tea as this is astringent and can make your symptoms worse.
DIET is the single most important treatment in my opinion and a very important factor in the relief of your IBS.
There are two main options available to you. If you have pure symptoms of constipation without much wind and bloating, you should have a high fibre diet.
If this makes your symptoms worse, or you have a lot of wind and bloating, you should have a low fibre diet and use laxatives if necessary.
The product Benefiber is a soluble fibre that you can be addto your food. Another option is the use of a natural soluble option called Acacia
Linseed is a natural soluble fiber that can help with constipation and bloating.
A bowel cleanse is a popular way of TREATING symptoms.
They have been around for centuries in the form of oral treatments (teas, laxatives and enzymes), enemas and colonic irrigation.
'Clearing toxins from your colon' they promote a sense of well being, reduce fatigue and headache and produce more energy - well that's the theory behind their use although there is no science to prove this.
The use of colonic irrigation is favoured by some. This involves the the the passage of a tube into your rectum, through which warmed gravity fed irrigation fluid is infused into your colon.
Irrigations should be avoided in bowel conditions such as IBD, diverticulitis, bowel cancer and other pathological bowel conditions where you can cause more harm than good.
If you are taking prescribed MEDICATIONS, they may be increasing your risk of constipation symptoms.You should ask your doctor about them and whether they could be causing your symptoms.
Under no circumstances should you stop medicines without your doctor knowing.
Stopping certain drugs, such as steroids, can be life threatening and you need to be supervised properly.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES provide fibre and nutrients. Good natural laxative options are grapes, figs and raisins. Spinach, Lettuce and cabbage are also important.
Cutting out foods that bind, in particular eggs, can help as well as reducing complex carbohydrates and refined sugars. This will be particularly beneficial to if you suffer a lot of wind.
Nuts are good, but can be an issue with some sufferers, so its trial and error.
Castor Oil or Corn oil with water is a natural remedy too.
LAXATIVES should be thought of as your last resort in IBS-C and there are various types that can be tried including Fybogel, Sterculia, lactulose, methylcellulose and docusate to name but a few.
If you have refractory IBS with constipation (i.e not responding to the usual treatments), there are newer drugs available including:
Magnesium has long been used in RELIEVING CONSTIPATION. It is available as Magnesium Hydroxide and Magnesium citrate.
It can help regulate the bowels in sufferers of IBS with constipation and is available in various forms including powder, liquid and as a tablet too.