Did you know that more than 20 percent of adults suffer from some sort of digestive disorder? Many people are too embarrassed to admit they have it. One stomach problem that many people have is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People with IBS can experience abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating so severly they can’t even leave the house. This holds them back from working and traveling.

Symptoms of IBS can vary. Some people experience frequent and loose bowel movements, while others are constipated. It can get worse, and some people alternate between both. People who alternate don’t know what they are going to experience when they go out to dinner. Will they be hunched over in pain or running to the bathroom every five minutes?

Reasearchers haven’t found a cause for IBS, but are studying a theory that those with IBS have colons that is sensitive to certain foods and stress. The movement of the colon will be either too fast or too slow, which can spark the colon to either absorb too much fluid which results in constipation or will allow too much fluid into the stool which will become loose and frequent movements.

Symptoms are caused by “trigger foods” and stressful events. Foods that can trigger stomach attacks are caffeine, chocolate, fried foods, milk products, alcohol and eating large meals. For some, this list can be longer. Doctors say diet changes and learning how to cope better with stress and anxiety can help, but there it is impossible to stop future attacks.

There are a few, unproven remedies, such as a cup of of peppermint or chamomile tea after dinner. Peppermint is an old remedy that contains menthol, which will stimulate digestion and help relieve muscle spasms. According to lab studies, spices and herbs like cumin, fennel, garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, and thyme can all assist the digestive process. Drinking green tea can calm your stomach during anxiety invoking situations.

Also, to soothe your stomach try rubbing calming oils like lavendar in circles around the pain. When anxiety and pressure start to take over begin breathing exercises or tai chi to relax.

To prevent IBS stomach flareups, start a food diary to figure out what types of food bother you. Learn how to manage stress and take up an activity that will help rest your mind.

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