Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The Symptoms and How You Can Control Them

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that has a major effect on the large intestine (colon). IBS commonly caIrritable Bowel Syndrome: The Symptoms and How You Can Control Themuses cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.

It is estimated that around 10-20% of the UK’s population will be affected by IBS during their lifetime. The condition is most common in those aged between 20-30, but it can affect people of any age. IBS is a chronic illness and therefore requires long-term management.

Types of IBS

IBS can be split up into four different categories, based on the make-up of one’s stool. Each type of IBS requires a specific treatment that focuses on the most pressing symptoms.
These four categories are:

  • Constipation: Stool is frequently hard
  • Diarrhea: Stool is loose and watery
  • Mixed: Stool is consistently hard or loose
  • Unsubtyped: Stool is periodically at either end of the spectrum

 

Symptoms of IBS

The signs and symptoms of IBS differ from person to person and can sometimes resemble those of other diseases.
These can range from mild to extremely painful and debilitating symptoms that interfere with the sufferer’s day-to-day life.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Mucus in one’s stool

 

What Causes IBS?

Young man having stomach pain
The causes of IBS are not known. However, research shows that a number of factors play a significant role and that triggers vary from person to person.

Common triggers include:

  • Diet – Many people have severe symptoms when they eat certain foods. The list is vast – chocolate, spices, fats, fruits, beans, milk, carbonated drinks and alcohol to name but a few.
  • Stress – Those with IBS find that their symptoms are worse or more frequent when they are under a great deal of pressure or stress.
  • Hormones – Women are twice as likely to have IBS and as such researchers believe that hormonal changes play a role in this condition. Many women find that their symptoms are worse during their menstrual period.
  • Other illness – Some illnesses (e.g. gastroenteritis), or too much bacteria in the intestine can trigger IBS.

 

Diagnosing IBS

There isn’t a specific medical test for IBS as yet. Most patients presenting the symptoms of IBS are placed onto an exclusion diet by their doctor. They will normally rule out other bowel and stomach complaints such as coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease before giving a diagnosis of IBS.

Some patients may be given a colonoscopy, where a small camera is inserted into the large intestine to look for abnormalities.

It is imperative that patients do not try to self-diagnose IBS. Without medical training it is very difficult to recognise the difference between symptoms caused by IBS and those caused by other disorders.

Additional Ways To Control IBS

You should always seek medical advice if you feel that you may have IBS. Here are some useful tips to help control IBS once you have been diagnosed.

  • Assess your diet – Eating a well-balanced diet on a daily basis can work wonders. When you overeat your digestive system is put under a great amount of strain. Try eating smaller portions more often to avoid your stomach becoming too full to process the foods properly.
  • Change your eating habits – To avoid flare-ups, try not to eat on the go. Instead opt to sit down and relax as you eat your meal.
  • Alter your lifestyle – Anxiety, stress and depression often trigger IBS symptoms. Essentially if you feel happy and calm, so will your gut. Make time to exercise regularly and allocate pockets of time to relax; this will help reduce your stress levels.
  • Ask your GP about medication – Anti-spasmodic medicines can reduce abdominal pain by relieving the pressure on the muscles in your gut. There are other medications on offer, so if that doesn’t work talk to you GP about the alternatives.
  • Try probiotics – These live bacteria and yeasts are good for your health, and more importantly your digestive system. There are a whole range of products on offer, though some are more effective than others.

 

How Symprove Can HelpSymprove 2

At Antiaging Nutrition, we have just launched a brand new revolutionary priobotic. Unlike other probiotics, Symprove contains active cultures. It maintains a healthy bacterial culture in the gut as it has been designed to arrive, survive and thrive in your intestine.

The water-based, multi-strain priobotic supplement contains 4 unique strains of live activated bacteria: L. rhamnosus, E. faecium, L. acidophilus, and L. plantarum. A healthy gut ordinarily contains samples of each of these, but a deficiency or imbalance can leave you feeling bloated, nauseous or in pain.

Unlike its counterparts, Symprove doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth and is gluten and dairy free.
Clinical trials have shown that Symprove can reduce IBS symptoms in just 12 weeks, meaning that it is more effective than tablet and dairy probiotics.

Supported By Studies

A study by King’s College London found that Symprove improved the symptoms of patients with IBS using a validated symptom severity score.

UCL results

The severity of the symptoms of IBS are normally plotted on a scale up to 500. Before taking part in the study, the average scores for the participants was about 300. At the end of the study, the scores of those taking the placebo went down to 270. However, the average score for those taking the active drink dropped far more, to 240.

Research by University College London (UCL) found that the vast majority of UK consumers are wasting millions on bacteria that just die in the stomach. In fact, most popular priobotics products do not deliver what they promise as they are simply not robust enough for the human GI tract.

UCL concluded that live bacteria, including Symprove, offer new hope for long-term sufferers because they outperform all other probiotic drinks and supplements that they tested.

Find Out More

If your symptoms persist, we would strongly recommend that you seek the guidance of a medical professional.
For more great products like Symprove, click here; or for more information, leave a comment in the section below.

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Flawed studies lead to flawed opinions on the benefits of multivitamins

Unbalanced information for buyers of multivitamins.

It’s rare these days to pick up a paper without reading an alarming article about how what you’re eating, drinking, and breathing is harming your body. But what’s even more alarming, is that the studies these reports are based on are often critically flawed. Eggs, butter, and even milk have all been unfairly maligned by misinterpreted results and misled journalism, only to be redeemed years later.

Now, following the publication of a review by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), multivitamins have fallen into the line of fire. The USPSTF’s findings, that vitamin and mineral supplements have no preventative benefit for cardiovascular disease or cancer, have been widely taken up with the media and led to a slew of articles arguing against nutritional aids.

While doubtless worrying many — more than half of Americans take a multivitamin of some sort — these broad pronouncements are rarely what they seem, and indeed, that is the case here.

A track record for misleading advice

Until recently the USPSTF was a relatively low-profile organisation, only occasionally lifting its head above the ramparts. They first courted major controversy in 2009 by recommending that men 75 or older do not undergo Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests to detect prostate cancer, later revising that recommendation to include men of all age groups. At the time, the USPSTF argued that the PSA test was relatively ineffective and possibly harmful. Were they right?

Perhaps not. Dr. Timothy E. Schultheiss, professor and director of radiation physics at City of Hope in Duarte, California, and author of a new study on prostate cancer prevalence in America, argues that under the USPSTF’s recommendations, prostate cancer rates have actually grown. Schultheiss’s research found a notable increase in higher-risk cases between 2011 and 2013, a trend that could produce an additional 1400 prostate cancer deaths annually.

The USPSTF has also been attacked for its stance on mammograms as a preventative measure for breast cancer. Their new guidelines, that women aged 50 to 74 have a mammogram every two years, and women aged 40 to 49 should make their own decision in consultation with doctors, have drawn widespread ire from various individuals and groups, including breast cancer survivor and U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The frustration with the USPSTF stems in part from its lack of transparency. In response to PSA recommendations, Drs. Deepak A. Kapoor, MD and Davod M. Albala, MD wrote in the Medical Society of the State of New York’s News of New York:


We cannot even ask how the USPSTF managed to be so wrong. The USPSTF is exempted from both the Federal Advisory Committee and Administrative Procedures Acts; consequently, it is not required to hold meetings in public; consider public comments; or disclose its methodology. There is no recourse for those harmed by its decisions and these powers are expanded under the Affordable Care Act. The decision on prostate cancer screening, which overrules experts in the field and cherry-picks data to arrive at a pre-determined outcome, illustrates how dangerous such unaccountable power can be.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are a number of equally worrying problems with the USPSTF’s pronouncement on multivitamins.

Is there methodology to the madness?

One of the major problems with the USPSTF’s review was their definition of multivitamins themselves. By including studies which involved only three nutrients in their analysis, the organisation belies the physiological complexity of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Both of these conditions are tremendously multifaceted in their causes, and involve irregularities in a wide range of bodily processes and functions. Indeed, the whole premise that multivitamin supplementation is founded on — that proper nutrition is rarely a case of magic-bullet cures — tells us that intake of only a few compounds will not produce the same robust health benefits as a more holistic regime.

Another issue is that the USPSTF’s analysis itself is inherently biased against establishing benefits for multivitamin supplementation. By design, their tests are meant to assess pharmacological drugs with explicit actions and areas of activity, not nutritional compounds formulated to support a whole range of bodily mechanisms. Equally, it is significantly harder to account for the already present, and significantly varying, intake of various nutrients in participant groups, an non-issue with synthetic drugs that could not be found naturally in individuals.

This flawed methodology also bled over into the USPSTF’s data selection. Of the 154 clinical trials in which the words “multivitamin” or “multivitamins” appear on PubMed alone, only two were considered appropriate for inclusion; their analysis of 16 nutrients encompassed the results of only 26 studies; and of all the studies analysed, only one included women. The USPSTF itself admitted they included “no data on a ‘true’ multivitamin in women”. Similarly, the USPSTF was quick to exclude a whole range of data it deemed statistically insignificant, particularly those that showed benefits for supplementation.

Critics have also pointed out the relatively short duration of the trials included in the review, with only two of moderate duration (11.2 and 7.5 years). Sadly, it was precisely these two studies which actually presented a reduction in cancer risk among men taking multivitamins. Both cancer and cardiovascular disease are conditions that take years to develop and eventually manifest, and are influenced by a lifetime of nutrition and lifestyle. Expecting short-term results from limited supplementation flies completely against nutritional science which recommends a comprehensive and continuous intake of essential compounds.
While the USPSTF seems to have set standards for its review that intentionally exclude evidence of the benefits of multivitamin supplementation, they were remarkably less rigorous about studies that supported its apparently foregone conclusion. The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) apparently proved that neither compound had protective impacts for prostate cancer, despite the fact that the specific vitamin E compound used, all-racemic alpha-tocopherol acetate, is widely considered one of the least effective formulations of this essential nutrient.

So should I take a multivitamin?

While these questionable studies are all too common, it’s important to remember that you should always consider the full facts, your own health, and do your own research. Everyone is different, with their own unique physiology, diet, and lifestyle, and wide-ranging pronouncements based on incomplete data should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Folic acid, only recently blamed in the media for potentially promoting colorectal tumours, is now once again being championed by a study from the Harvard School of Public health. While the participants, as a whole, did not seem to benefit from folic acid supplementation, those participants who had started with the lowest folic acid intake actually experienced a distinct reduced risk of tumour recurrence. The importance of this finding cannot be understated.

Multivitamin support may not be for everyone: if you have a wide and varying diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, you may be nutritionally complete; but if you are one of the many whose lifestyles could do with some balance, multivitamins offer a potent opportunity to top up on essentials.

Sadly, and ironically, it is generally the healthiest of us who take multivitamins, and scare-tactic news headlines, spurred on by flawed and misleading research, only serve to frighten away those who have the most to gain.