Integrative approaches to reduce IBS symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a gastrointestinal condition that involves abdominal pain and altered bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, or both), affects over 10% of Americans. Though some find the condition merely a nuisance, for many individuals it can be quite bothersome and disruptive. While medications can sometimes offer relief, some individuals do not respond to medications or find the side effects intolerable. Fortunately, there are several well-studied, nondrug, integrative approaches that can help to reduce IBS-related symptoms and restore a sense of control over one’s life. Stress reduction IBS is well known to be aggravated by stress. Moreover, the symptoms and the disruption they cause can themselves become a source of stress, creating a vicious cycle of stress and discomfort. How does stress affect the gastrointestinal system? It turns out that the largest concentration of neurons outside of the brain and spinal cord is in the gastrointestinal tract, making it particularly susceptible to stress and creating a strong brain-gut connection. Stress hormones can alter movement through the gastrointestinal tract (speeding it up or slowing it down) and cause the muscles in the intestines to spasm and cause pain. Thus, for people who experience a lot of stress in their lives, learning stress-reduction techniques can be instrumental in reducing the frequency and severity of IBS-related symptoms. Several clinical trials have demonstrated that two stress-reductio...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Digestive Disorders Health Mind body medicine Stress Source Type: blogs

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