is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a problem
that affects mainly the bowel, which is also called the large intestine. The
bowel is the part of the digestive system that makes and stores stool. The
word syndrome means a group of symptoms. IBS is a syndrome because it can
cause several symptoms. For example, IBS causes cramping, bloating, gas,
diarrhea, and constipation.
What causes irritable bowel
Most people with irritable bowel syndrome
seem to have perfectly healthy digestive systems. Most likely, your doctor
could order a slew of tests and exams and still find nothing wrong with your
colon. But that doesn't mean the problem is "all in your head." While stress
can make your symptoms worse and may contribute to the condition, something
else probably set the problem in motion.
Unfortunately, nobody's sure what that
"something else" may be. Experts speculate that people with the syndrome may
have a glitch in their nervous systems that makes the lining of the
intestines extra sensitive to the presence of certain foods or to swelling
and distention. Others believe that in some people, inflammation may leave
the lining of the intestines more sensitive. People affected by IBS also
produce certain brain chemicals called neurohormones in higher quantities
than people who don't have the malady, and some researchers think that there
may be a communication breakdown between the nerves and the muscles in the
What are the symptoms of irritable
Lined with muscles and nerves, the colon is
an active organ that contracts and relaxes to push along digested material.
When it's running smoothly, it's easy to ignore -- just the way everyone
would prefer it.
In some people, however, the colon can
become extremely sensitive, leading to the collection of symptoms known as
irritable bowel syndrome. Small contractions or gas can cause cramps and
pain in the lower abdomen. The pain often appears after a meal and goes away
after a bowel movement. The colon may go into spasms, causing diarrhea
during the daytime (people with IBS rarely suffer from diarrhea during the
night). Conversely, the spasms may hamper the normal movement of waste,
causing constipation. Some patients experience mostly diarrhea and others
mostly constipation; many alternate between the two extremes.
Other common symptoms include bloating,
mucus in the stool, urgent bowel movements, straining during bowel
movements, or a feeling of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement. All
the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome tend to come and go, but often
flare up in times of stress.
Up to one in five adults in the United
States experiences irritable bowel syndrome at some point in their lives.
Two-thirds of all people who seek medical help for the syndrome are women.
The majority of people with IBS continue to experience the symptoms off and
on, but up to 30 percent get rid of it entirely.
What can aggravate my symptoms?
In many people, symptoms can flare up or
worsen during times of emotional stress, which can cause spasms of the
colon. Many things in your diet can also contribute to the condition,
including alcohol, dairy products, caffeine, fatty foods, and -- in some
people -- gas-producing foods (such as beans, cabbage, nuts, and broccoli),
the artificial sweetener sorbitol, and chocolate. Nicotine is another common
How is irritable bowel syndrome
There's no single treatment for coping with
irritable bowel syndrome. You'll need to work with your doctor to find an
individual approach that works best for your symptoms.
If you suffer from diarrhea, constipation,
or both, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter fiber supplement such
as Metamucil, which contains a vegetable powder called psyllium. These fiber
supplements absorb water, and so make stools bulkier (helping with your
diarrhea) and softer (helping with constipation by making the stools easier
to pass). The package labels often describes the supplements as "fiber
laxatives," but they're actually not laxatives. (Just be sure to take them
with one, and preferably two, 8-ounce glasses of water, or they may actually
cause constipation.) Some people have found that mixing the fiber powder
with fruit juice and ice makes it much more palatable.
Your doctor may also recommend a change in
diet. Many people feel better after cutting back on fat, alcohol, and
caffeine. Some people with chronic IBS may also need to stop eating salads
and raw vegetables, according to Gary Gitnick, chief of the division of
digestive diseases at University of California at Los Angeles. Among other
things, raw vegetables can cause gas and diarrhea in people with sensitive
Dietary supplement for treating
Spirulina been scientifically proven
to provide the following benefits:
Animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina
increases production of antibodies, cytokines (infection
fighting proteins), and other cells that improve immunity
and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses such as
Amino acids make up 62% of spirulina.
Because it is a rich source of protein and other nutrients,
spirulina has been used traditionally as a nutritional
supplement by people who cannot obtain sufficient calories
or protein through diet alone and by those whose nutritional
requirements are higher than normal, such as athletes.
Intestinal effects, relieves irregular menstruation,
diuretic and intestinal effects, digestion promotion,
Animal studies suggest that spirulina promotes hematopoiesis
(formation and development of red blood cells). This is
thought to be due to the high levels of iron present in this
Animal and test tube studies suggest that
spirulina may protect against allergic reactions by
preventing the release of histamines (substances that
contribute to allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, watery
eyes, hives, and soft-tissue swelling). Whether these
preliminary studies will translate into benefit for people
with allergies is not known.
destroy unwanted organisms in the body, they may also kill
"good" bacteria called probiotics (such as Lactobacillus
acidophilus) which sometimes results in diarrhea. In test
tubes, spirulina has promoted the growth of L. acidophilus
and other probiotics. Whether this positive laboratory
finding will translate into protection from
antibiotic-related diarrhea is not clear at this time.
Test tube studies suggest that spirulina has activity
against herpes, influenza, cytomeglovirus, and human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Whether this laboratory
finding will prove beneficial for people in treating these
infections is not clear.
In one study, 87 people who chewed tobacco and had a
precancerous lesion known as leukoplakia were randomly
assigned to receive Spirulina fusiformis or placebo. Lesions
were significantly more likely to disappear in the spirulina
group than in the placebo group. More research in this area
will be very helpful.
There is some preliminary evidence that
spirulina may help protect against liver damage and
cirrhosis (liver failure) in those with chronic hepatitis.
More research is needed in this area.
Spirulina is also contained in some skin care products due
to its moisturizing and tightening properties, and
components derived from spirulina may have properties to
help reduce inflammation in, for example, arthritis. More
research is needed in this latter area.
is a highly nutritious dietary supplement rich in protein and
anti-stress B Vitamins. It can help stimulate the body's metabolism, energy
and stamina levels and assist in the management of cholesterol.
This supplement has been taken for a host of ailments. In
addition to its use as a general health tonic, people take royal jelly
Prevent arthritis and multiple
Slow the signs of aging
Stimulate hair growth
Improve sexual performance
Reduce symptoms of menopause
Accelerating the healing and consolidation of fractured bones
Alleviate cardiovascular ailments
Remedy liver disease,
pancreatitis, insomnia, fatigue, ulcers, and digestive and skin
Reduce tiredness and overwork,
asthenia, anxiety states, insomnia and anorexia.
Bee Propolis acts as a natural
antibiotic which raises the body's resistance to disease by
internally stimulating the immune system. This helps the body
fight infection, colds, flu and sore throats.
Propolis may help improve skin
condition. Applied externally, propolis is good for abrasions
and bruises because of it's antibacterial effects. It may also
help lower blood lipid and cholesterol levels as well as lower
blood pressure. Some suggest that propolis improves energy and
endurance in athletes.