Scripture: Matthew 15:17New King James Version (NKJV) 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?


What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is best understood as a long-term or recurrent disorder of gastrointestinal (GI) functioning. It usually involves the large intestine (colon) and small intestine with disturbances of intestinal/bowel (gut) motor function (motility) and sensation. Irritable means that the nerve endings in the bowel wall, which control muscle function and affect sensation of the gut, are unusually sensitive  (produce symptoms of abdominal pain or discomfortbloating or a sense of gaseousness, and a change in bowel habits (diarrhea and/or constipation).

IBS Treatments

Treating IBS starts with obtaining education about IBS, and implementing lifestyle changes associated with symptoms (makes things worse).  Making lifestyle changes refers to things in your life you have control over; evaluate any dietary or stress-related factors that may be related to symptoms and discuss these with a health care provider and if certain foods set off or worsen symptoms, reduce or avoid them. If the abdominal discomfort or pain occurs after eating, try to eat smaller and more frequent meals. Increased stress may result in the onset or worsening of IBS therefore, rest and exercise can help reduce stress levels and positively influence IBS.

Some people suffering with IBS require medications. The following medications may help:

Antispasmodics: relieve abdominal pain or discomfort, particularly if the symptoms occur soon after eating.

Anti-diarrheal agents: can prevent and/or relieve symptoms of diarrhea but may not be as helpful for the pain.

Laxatives:  can help treat symptoms of constipation but not necessarily the pain (should only be used under the supervision of a physician).

Anti-anxiety: can be help with psychological distress.

Individuals with more mild-moderate symptoms will only require medications now and then. There is some evidence that certain probiotics may help improve IBS symptoms.

Psychological and behavioral therapies may be effective in certain individuals. Examples include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): teaches personal coping skills as well as mental techniques to better manage the symptoms

Hypnosis: reduces painful discomfort

Relaxation training: teaches general body relaxation

Interpersonal psychotherapy: addresses stressful responses to interactions with others.