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Irritable Bowel Syndome:
Whispering An Unpleasant Subject
by Melinda Kempenich

What is IBS — Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome has a variety of names such as: Mucus colitis, Nervous Colitis, Spastic colon, Nervous colon, Irritated colon, Unstable colon. It is actually one of the most common intestinal problems and often responsible for work absenteeism.

Unfortunately, many women deal with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome months before they seek help. Many are just too embarrassed to seek help.

IBS is prevalent in the US and affects one in five adults, three times as many women as men. In a recently conducted poll, 58 percent of health care practitioners said IBS was easy to diagnose...

Yet the 3,000 women sampled in the survey said it took more than three years and trips to three different doctors to finally get an IBS diagnosis.

While the exact cause of IBS is unknown. In people with this problem, the nerves lining the colon are thought to be more sensitive than normal to bowel contractions and the passage of gas and fluid, causing pain and cramping. The nerves that control the muscles in the gut may overreact to stimuli like gas or the passage of food following a meal.

This may cause painful spasms and contractions that speed or slow the passage of stool through the colon, resulting in diarrhea or constipation. Together, these actions create a painful cycle. Symptoms are often numerous and vague. In some women, having a bowel movement will often relieve the pain.

It is very important that pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome does not wake you up at night. If it does, contact your health care provider to rule out other more serious conditions. Also there is no association between IBS and weight loss and/or bleeding. If you have either of these symptoms, again, contact your health care provider immediately.

So how does one diagnose IBS?

Unlike other medical conditions, there are no good screening tools or tests for IBS. But once diagnosed, there are several options for treatment.

It's important to understand that there is no cure for irritable bowl syndrome. The goal of treatment is to lessen the symptoms. Depending on your symptoms, your health care provider may include one or a combination of different approaches. These may include diet therapy, especially if food triggers can be identified. Fiber supplements, drugs, psychological counseling, behavior therapy, and hypnosis may also be suggested.

Some scientists believe a virus or bacterium may play a role as well as stress and diet.

One resource to look at would be "friendly bacteria" as they play a vital role in our overall health. There are billions of bacteria residing in the gastro-intestinal tract. Some of them are "friendly bacteria" while others are harmful with the potential to cause disease.

Friendly bacteria fight against harmful micro-organisms by altering the acidity of the region they inhabit making it inhospitable for unfriendly bacteria. They produce specific antibiotic substances, and they deprive unfriendly bacteria of their nutrients. The overuse of antibiotics, antacids, or laxatives, can often disturb the bacterial microflora of the bowel.

Probiotics is a term used to describe organisms that benefit life by inhabiting the intestinal tract. Acidophilus benefits the small intestine. Bifidus benefits the large intestine. They replenish the "friendly bacteria", and are needed for digestion and for the manufacture of the B vitamins.

Another important resource is blue-green algae which contains vitamin K, needed to build intestinal flora for proper digestion, and chlorophyll for healing and cleansing of the bloodstream. Freeze dried blue-green algae is enzymatically active to aid in digestion and assimilation of nutrients among a host of other benefits to our overall health.

Irritable bowl syndrome is painful, but not serious, and most people who have it can lead active, productive lives if they change their diets, get regular exercise, and replace needed nutrients. So rather than to suffer in silence, please know that you are not alone and do seek help from a health care provider if you cannot find comfort or have unanswered questions or concerns.

Optimal health is attainable by making sure your body has the three basic biological requirements, enzymes, friendly bacteria, and minerals.

Sources: AWHONN (Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses), Cell Tech, Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

About the author: Melinda Kempenich is the mother of three children and the wife of a state representative from the great state of North Dakota. If you would like to receive a free brochure on Enzymes, Probiotics, or Super Blue Green Algae, send a written request to Melinda Kempenich, 9005 151st Ave SW, Bowman, ND 58623-8857.



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