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Help yourself

Simple lifestyle and dietary changes can help battle various gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 19, 2010 00:53 IST
Chetna Joshi Bambroo

Thanks to the stressful and unhealthy lifestyle, many youngsters are suffering from a problem called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is a disorder where one’s bowel movements are unregulated and causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea or alternately the combination of any of the two.

Root of the problem
“IBS is an unbalanced movement of the gut in the intestine. It is not infectious and medically no reason has been attributed
(bacterial, fungal or any other reason) for the problem,” says Dr Monica Mahajan, internal medicine, MAX Healthcare. Dr Sanjay Khanna, gastroenterologist at BL Kapur Hospital, calls it altered bowel mobility.

“People with stressful lifestyle, over-ambitious personalities, improper eating habits and erratic working hours are usually more susceptible towards developingsymptoms of this disorder. Poor lifestyle is the major reason why youngsters are affected by this (IBS) disorder.”

Persistent cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea.

What to do
Diet should include lots of roughage. A fruit a day would not put too much pressure on the digestive system either!

Keep a food diary to determine the role of food in relation to your symptoms. If you identify a particular food as being a possible culprit, remove that from your meal for a period of about three months to see if this has any effect on the symptoms. Common offenders are gas-producing vegetables, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and alcohol.

Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

For constipation, try to have a filling breakfast, as this may be the best time to encourage intestinal contractions and the urge to defecate.

One needs to live a stress free life, develop punctual eating habits and exercise regularly. Yoga can also help in relieving the problem and easing out
of muscles of the digestive tract.