Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition where your gut wall is sensitive and affects most people without them knowing. When food is broken down and absorbed into the body for energy, the walls of the bowels are squeezed together. This contraction helps push the food through the system. But when intestinal walls behave erratically, rapid contractions result in diarrhoea and sluggish movements cause constipation. “This disease is rarely understood and there are a lot of misconceptions around it,” says Dr Vibhor Pareek, Consultant, Gastroenterology, Max Hospital, Gurgaon.
Myth: Lactose intolerance and dairy products cause IBS
Reality: Only one in four people may not feel good after consuming dairy products. Usually the symptoms are diarrhoea, bloating and cramping in the abdomen. So, dairy products do not cause IBS but might worsen your current situation.
Myth: Stress causes IBS
Reality: Stress is just one lifestyle marker and cannot be blamed in isolation. The frenetic pace of work, lack of sleep, unhealthy eating and lack of exercise are all triggers for IBS.
Myth: IBS can only be diagnosed with some fancy test
Reality: Not at all. IBS is detected through an elimination of symptoms. There is a Rome IV criteria for IBS patients. These criteria are recurrent abdominal pain for about three months, changes related to defecation, to changes in frequency of stool, to a change in form (appearance) of stool.
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If you match the above criteria, we correlate blood reports and ultrasound reports. Then we arrive at a diagnosis of IBS. Sometimes antibiotics play a major role in causing all of the above symptoms and needs to be clarified.
Myth: IBS is curable
Reality: There is no cure but you can improve symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes and manage your condition. Also peace of mind works wonders. From playing guitar, drawing, swimming, jogging, meeting friends, listening to music, any relaxation exercise that’s not deadline-driven works.
Myth: All types of exercise help IBS
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Reality: You can only do low to moderate type exercises. Go for yoga, walking and swimming. Avoid HIIT workouts.
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