Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS?

IBS is common, affecting one in five Australians at some point in time3. IBS belongs to the so-called functional gastrointestinal disorders, and can be quite uncomfortable as patients may suffer from symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea or constipation. Some people can experience multiple symptoms which can vary in frequency and severity and can greatly impact their quality of life.

IBS has no organic cause, it is a collection of functional symptoms that can include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fullness

'Functional' means the bowel looks normal but does not function properly. There are several risk factors that may increase your chance of being diagnosed with IBS, including being a woman, being over 50 years of age and having a family history of IBS.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be quite different for everyone. Some people will suffer different symptoms than others, and the characteristics and intensity of symptoms may change over time. There are 4 types of IBS:

  • IBS-D (Diarrhoea dominant): The predominant symptom of these IBS patients is diarrhoea.
  • IBS-C (Constipation dominant): The predominant symptom of these IBS patients is constipation.
  • IBS-M (Mixed): IBS patients show alternating diarrhoea and constipation.
  • IBS-U (Unspecified): This type of irritable bowel does not meet the criteria for either IBS-C, IBS-D or IBS-M but still patients present with common IBS symptoms.
Man in a red shirt, suffering from irritable bowel syndrome talking to doctor.

What causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Gender, age, genetics, hormonal changes, medications, gastrointestinal infections, allergies and certain foods have been linked to the development of IBS. Doctors and researchers also believe that psychological reasons like stress play a large part, however the exact cause of IBS isn’t yet known.

Certain factors can trigger symptoms such as:

  • Stress: Strong emotions, such as anxiety or stress, can affect the nerves of the bowel in people with IBS, triggering symptoms.
  • General diet: Low fibre diets can make constipation worse in some people with IBS.
  • Food intolerance as co-morbidity: people with IBS may experience impaired absorption of lactose (a sugar found in dairy and many processed foods), fructose or sorbitol (an artificial sweetener), triggering IBS symptoms.

As the causes can be unknown, if you think you may have IBS it is a good idea to be diagnosed by a healthcare professional quickly so as to start correctly treating your symptoms.

Two girls laughing together

Can diet help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

If you have been diagnosed with IBS, it is important to review your diet and lifestyle. What will work for one person may not work for another. However there are some diets that you may want to discuss with your healthcare professional.

  • Gluten-free diet
  • High-fibre diet
  • Low-fibre diet
  • Low-fat diet
  • Low FODMAP diet

Tips to relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

  • Avoid stress: Of course it is impossible to avoid all stressful situations. Nevertheless, you should try to integrate relaxed moments into your daily routine. This can be a lavender herbal bath in the evening, a long walk during lunch or a cosy meeting with friends over the weekend.
  • Move more: Sports and exercises can promote your general well-being. Light jogging, swimming or cycling can also stimulate digestion.
  • Eat right: There is no special diet for IBS sufferers. Nevertheless, avoid nutrition triggers you are aware of and should certain ingredients produce an IBS related reaction, it is advisable to remove them completely from your diet. Some specialised diets such as FODMAP diets have proven useful in IBS. However, it is recommended you speak with your healthcare professional for advice before starting a specialised diet.
Iberogast classic pack

How can Iberogast® help?

Whilst there are effective treatment options to relieve the symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS, like Iberogast, unfortunately there’s currently no cure for IBS. Treatments tend to focus on easing or relieving the digestive symptoms associated with the syndrome.

IBS can be quite different for everyone. Some people will suffer different symptoms than others, and the characteristics and intensity of symptoms may change over time. While there are a huge range of products to target the differing individual symptoms of IBS, for those suffering multiple symptoms having one solution to treat for their symptoms is handy to have.

A multi-targeted action like Iberogast® harnesses the power of medicinal herbal extracts. It is clinically proven, fast-acting and effective to relieve the multiple symptoms of IBS1,2.

Iberogast classic and advance pack

Iberogast®

Fast-acting effective relief from IBS symptoms. Herbal power that works.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.