Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Lifestyle or Medication
Shonna Renae Jacobson
March 30, 2012
HCA/240 Health and Diseases
Margaret McGannon

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that can cause an individual to have severe abdominal pain and cramping, changes in bowel movements, and other painful symptoms such as diahrrea. About 1 in 6 people in the U.S. have symptoms of IBS and it is the most common intestinal problem that causes patients to be referred to a bowel specialist, also known as a gastroenterologist (PubMed Health 2011). Lifestyle changes that an individual can implement to help control this disease are regular exercise and to reduce anxiety such as improved sleep habits. Also, dietary changes can be helpful to control the symptoms of IBS. Try to stay away from foods and drinks that may stimulate the intestines such as caffeine, tea, and colas. Stick with eating smaller meals or portions of foods. Also, increase fiber in the diet. In addition to dietary changes, there are some healthy habits that may also help reduce IBS symptoms such as avoiding smoking and even stress management (emedicine health 2010). One factor that might make these lifestyle changes difficult to accomplish is having a demanding job where an individual is always on the go. This can lead to eating out a lot and drinking whatever is on hand. One strategy that can help overcome this factor is to bring in your own lunch to work. Bringing in a salad or maybe even a yogurt to work for lunch not only will help control symptoms of IBS, but it will also save on your pocketbook. If I was diagnosed with IBS and I could choose between treating my symptoms with lifestyle changes or prescription medication, I would try the lifestyle changes first. Though everyone is different so the changes might not always work for everyone, they are worth trying. Taking medications always have risk factors of their own and can become expensive. Plus, you usually have to take a variety of medications to treat...
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