Like many medical conditions, there are many misunderstandings and misconceptions about what Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) does to a person’s body. It can be of the utmost value to you to try to manage your own symptoms. Gandhi once said, “It is health that is a real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” I truly believe that to be an accurate way of describing how we should take care of our own health. It’s worth our time and energy to pursue a healthy lifestyle and disregard things that aren’t going to help you live it.
Toss out any notions that are hindering your ability to tackle your illness. Here are 5 commonly accepted myths about IBS that need to be cleared up.
There are so many varying degrees of IBS that it’s hard to pinpoint one set of symptoms for everyone. As a general description, the disease consists of bouts of constipation combined with loose stools (diarrhea) and terrible stomach pain with cramps. However, the severity of each aspect of the disease is different for each sufferer.
For this reason, I encourage you to chart your symptoms. This will help you be able to convey the unique experience you are going through each month when you meet with your doctor. Armed with this information, he or she will best be able to devise a unique plan to help alleviate the worst of the disorder for your individual illness.
Myth #2: It’s Mainly A Woman’s Disease
It’s true that the statistics on IBS say the illness affects three times more women than men, but don’t let that lead you to believe that men aren’t frequently and severely burdened by it; a large number of men get and battle with the disease.
In fact, the numbers may be slightly skewed due to common differences in the way women and men deal with IBS. While The National Institute of Health reports has verified the high instances of men suffering from IBS, it has also been found that many are less likely to seek out treatment than women are.
On top of their reluctance to communicate their struggle with IBS to their medical professionals, women seem to be more open with their family and friends about discussing serious health issues across the board, while men tend to keep quiet.
Thus, the decreased number of documented instances may contribute to the higher number of women counted with the diagnosis.
I implore you to not let gender play a role in the way you address your symptoms; it’s vital for anyone with IBS symptoms to get treated for their digestive problems, especially when it’s affecting your quality of life.
Myth #3: IBS Is Caused By a Poor Diet
Although the food you put in your body can certainly impact the symptoms you’re experiencing, a poor diet is not the cause of IBS.
Although medical research has not yet pinpointed the exact cause of IBS, some theories from many doctors attribute the cause of IBS to things like:
- the result of abnormalities in the gastrointestinal system
- the incorrect behavior of colonic muscle contractions when moving food through your system
Keep in mind that–although certain foods can trigger symptoms, and it is most definitely worth considering the impact of your diet on your experience with the illness–IBS it isn’t caused by your dietary choices.
Myth #4: Stress Creates IBS
Just as your diet isn’t to blame for your illness, stress is also not the cause of IBS. While it can certainly make symptoms worse, the strong head-and-gut connection does not create IBS in your body.
It should go without saying that it is always helpful to manage your stress, but don’t function under the belief that a stress-free life would eliminate symptoms that are truly caused by IBS. Rather, your illness will need to be managed by a combination of medication and nutritional adjustments.
Myth #5: It’s All In Your Head
Let me clear up a notion I’ve encountered much too often: IBS is not all in your head.
As a physician, it’s my job to listen carefully to my patients in order to diagnose their illnesses. The belief that IBS may be a mentally induced condition is a myth that needs to be debunked right away. People who live with this disorder know full well how painful the physical ramifications of the disease are to live with.
Please, if you find that your doctor isn’t taking your symptoms seriously, or if he or she insinuates that your condition may not be “real” and it may be better managed by seeing a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, don’t hesitate to find another doctor immediately.
I hope that you take these 5 myths into consideration as you deal with your IBS. In fact, I have written an ebook with more advice on how to naturally manage IBS along with great IBS-friendly recipes. Follow this link to download this guide for free.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
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