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How Irritable Bowel Syndrome Leads to Anxiety? An Inside Look

How Irritable Bowel Syndrome Leads to Anxiety? An Inside Look

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disease characterized by a series of symptoms and signs in adults and children, including cramps, abdominal pain, flatulence, changes in bowel habits, food intolerance, and flatulence (bloating). The term refers to changes in the function of the digestive system, which ultimately leads to a variety of symptoms. It is more of a movement problem rather than damage to the tissues of the digestive system. Notably, the symptoms of IBS are constipation, diarrhoea, recurring abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. Although IBS symptoms are similar to ulcerative colitis, IBS is considered a functional disorder.

Later, it was researched that an unhealthy stomach or IBS can lead to physical problems along with mental health concerns. The mental health issues due to IBS can cause stress which can lead to depression, anxiety and similar problems. In a study at Stanford University, it was stated that even short-term digestive issues can later give rise to certain mental health concerns. It was also noted that an unhealthy stomach of a person can influence the mind directly. In this method, a signal is sent to the brain that further causes permanent damage. This ultimately leads to anxiety and depression in the person who is suffering from IBS.

IBS Symptoms

According to the US Office of Women’s Health, IBS is considered to be a combination of symptoms that can last for three months in a person at the least. The common IBS symptoms are stomach ache or cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating and constipation. According to David Clarke, a professor of gastroenterology, there might be other conditions that are the same as IBS symptoms. Therefore, it is important to get a medical checkup done if none of the above IBS symptoms are available.

Medicines for IBS

IBS is often diagnosed by a process of elimination of symptoms in a person suffering from it. There are various IBS medications that can be helpful in the treatment. And, some of them are:

  • Prebiotics - These are to feed to probiotics that are good bacteria. It helps in maintaining a healthy gut in a person.
  • Probiotics - They increase the good bacteria in the gut of a person. It can also alleviate the mood of a person.
  • Antibiotics - They can kill bad bacteria inside the gut of a person. Supplementing the antibiotic with probiotics can help in reducing gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating. For instance, Xifaxan is a commonly used antibiotic as one of the primary medicines for IBS.
  • Antidepressants - These can be an off-label prescription in the IBS medication. The antidepressants used here are of the tricyclic family. It can help with a mood disorder.

The therapies can be also helpful along with the IBS medication to manage stress and reduce anxiety. And, they include psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), and meeting support groups.

IBS Diet Plan 

The IBS diet plan can be a step towards the prevention of the condition and unhealthy stomach. Some of the best foods for IBS include plenty of fruits and vegetables; lots of carbohydrates such as bread, rice, and pasta; and milk and dairy products. Protein-rich food such as fish, eggs, meat, and alternatives like beans and pulses, should be included in the IBS diet plan too. Fluid intake is also helpful with IBS treatment. 

According to a study in the U.K., artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Highly processed foods that are high in saturated fats, sugar, and salt should be eliminated from the diet. Daily exercising and avoiding smoking can also be beneficial in keeping the good bacteria in the stomach.

Irritable bowel syndrome can severely impact a person's mental health, leading to anxiety, and in severe cases, depression. In this case, you must see a doctor and receive appropriate treatment. Following a strict IBS diet plan has proven helpful to many individuals, as it helps in the growth of good bacteria in the stomach and gut. 

By: 1Tab Desk | on 2021-08-02

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