IBS and constipation (IBS-C)

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a digestive condition that affects the large intestine. It can cause uncomfortable symptoms that can affect quality of life such as abdominal cramping and bloating. Not to mention that it can cause changes in bowel movements such as constipation and/or diarrhea. There are several forms of IBS, one of which is irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Let’s learn more about this type of IBS and how you can manage symptoms.

About IBS-C

IBS-C is a type of IBS that can be diagnosed if your bowel movements consist of more than one-fourth of hard and pellet-like stool and less than one-fourth consists of loose and watery stool. This type of IBS is not like functional constipation. This is because those with IBS-C would experience more intermittent constipation and would more likely have abdominal pain and cramping as part of their symptoms. Other symptoms of IBS would include:

  • Bloating
  • Excess gas
  • Bouts of diarrhea in between episodes of constipation
  • Mucus in the stool

Causes of IBS-C

IBS-C can be caused by a variety of reasons that may make bowel movements difficult. Such reasons include:

  • Weakened muscle contractions in the intestines
  • Poorly communication between the brain and intestines
  • Inflammation in the intestines that may cause a dysfunctioning immune system
  • A surplus of bacteria the intestine
  • The result of a virus or infection like gastroenteritis

Since IBS-C can be caused by so many different factors, it can be hard to diagnose. However, if you think you may have the condition, you should visit a gastroenterologist to have testing done so you can rule out other more serious digestive conditions like Crohn’s, colitis, colon polyps, or celiac disease that can cause serious symptoms like:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea at night
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Iron deficiency anemia

IBS-C treatment options

If you are diagnosed with IBS-C, then certain things can trigger symptoms. Stress, certain foods, and hormones comprise the majority of such triggers. A recent research report suggests that the primary medication to help treat those with moderate to severe IBS-C is linaclotide, which is also known as Linzess or Allergan. This medicine works by helping to accelerate colonic transit so that people taking the medication can more easily have a bowel movement. Other medicines those with IBS-C may be given include fiber supplements like psyllium with fluids or laxatives like milk of magnesia or miralax.

Research also shows that many people with IBS find relief of symptoms from following a low FODMAP diet. You can read below and then visit the Casa de Sante website to learn more about how to get started on such an eating regimen.

How to eat with IBS-C

Some foods that may trigger IBS-C symptoms include those that are high in FODMAPs. This includes:

  • Wheat, barley, and rye
  • Certain vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, garlic, Brussels sprouts, celery, leek, button mushrooms, or onions
  • Cow’s milk and related milk products
  • High fructose fruits like apples, cherries, mangoes, pears, or peaches
  • Products containing sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, or xylitol
  • Products containing high amounts of high fructose corn syrup

To learn more about foods that are low FODMAP, download this printable low FODMAP shopping list created by Casa de Sante.

Take home message

IBS-C can be a painful condition that can make mealtime stressful and in turn negatively affect quality of life. If you think you might have IBS-C, then you should visit a specialist to see if you have the condition or some other digestive issue. Then, if you are diagnosed with IBS-C, you can start a treatment plan that may include diet changes, medicine, and/or stress management techniques to help you manage symptoms. For more information on gut health as well as low FODMAP product resources, be sure to visit the Casa de Sante website today.

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