IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or a spastic colon can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing for the sufferer. The most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain or discomfort, often reported as cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and/or constipation. IBS affects the colon or large bowel, which is the part of the digestive tract that stores stools. IBS is not a disease. It’s a functional disorder, meaning that the bowel doesn’t work, or function, correctly. Doctors are not sure what causes IBS. The nerves and muscles in the bowel appear to be extra sensitive in people with IBS. Some people find it leaves them feeling drained and tired or even depressed. Your social and work life can be affected, by making you late for work due to constant trips to the toilet, or avoiding going out and eating a meal as you know you'll feel uncomfortable. You may make several trips to the loo before you go out anywhere and immediately check where the nearest toilet is when you get to a new place. It’s quite common for people to restrict their food intake the day/morning before going out; this is known as ‘desire for control’ behaviour. You may find your symptoms get worse if you're anxious or stressed and this then becomes a vicious circle as you worry about it even more.
However, IBS does not lead to other health problems. IBS has no medical cure but change your eating habits by making sure you eat three or four healthy meals a day, starting with breakfast that will slowly release energy throughout the morning and keep you feeling awake. Start your day with some light exercise; it could be anything from a brisk walk, a swim, a visit to the gym or even some exercises at home. In fact, it will give you that extra kickstart of energy you need to carry you through the day. You should also try and avoid certain food and sugary drinks that may cause or worsen symptoms including fatty foods like chips, and milk products like cheese or ice cream, chocolate, alcohol, caffeinated and carbonated drinks.