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If you’re regularly experiencing abdominal pain, cramping, discomfort, bloating and wind, you could be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We take a look at IBS, its causes and range of symptoms, as well as how you can reduce its impact on your daily life.
Irritable bowel syndrome – you are not alone
It’s estimated as many as 1 in 5 people suffer from some level of IBS meaning it is one of the most commonly diagnosed complaints, especially amongst women.
Generally, you are not born with IBS. Instead mild symptoms can start in your late teens and early 20’s until a really uncomfortable and distressing attack forces you to seek medical help.
What actually is IBS?
As the name indicates, irritable bowel syndrome is known as a disorder of the bowels but the symptoms can occur in many parts of your digestive tract.
Essentially, IBS is a functional disorder in that your digestive tract is not functioning as it should. Your intestinal muscles move food from your stomach through to your rectum but IBS sufferers may suffer from spasms in those muscles. This can cause pain and disrupt the regular movement of food through the intestine. In addition, IBS sufferers tend to have over-sensitive nerve endings in their digestive tracts and this can all lead to swelling and bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, or diarrhoea.1
Depression and anxiety are sometimes associated with IBS and while the cause of the link is unknown, researchers are confident there is one.2
The cause of IBS
Frustratingly the cause of IBS is not known and there are lots of reasons that you may suffer from this functional problem in your over-sensitive digestive system, including food intolerance, infection, general diet, emotional stress, medication, imminent menstrual cycle3 and genetics. Or just bad luck.
Everyone’s experience of IBS is different and it can be a period of trial and error to find out what works to relieve your symptoms. Things you can consider are avoiding some foods, regular exercise, and reduction of stress.
Other non-medical options include acupuncture, hypnosis, and probiotics.
If despite your best efforts symptoms still do occur, constipation and diarrhoea can be treated with things like laxatives or anti-diarrhoea medication, and antispasmodic medication is useful to help relieve abdominal discomfort. Always consult your doctor or a medical professional before beginning any course of treatment.
Nature’s relief for IBS
Mintec Peppermint IBS Relief is an enteric-coated capsule containing medicinal peppermint oil, a natural antispasmodic agent, and is regarded as a ‘First Line Therapy’ listed in Australia’s Therapeutic Guidelines to manage abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, cramping and spasms due to medically diagnosed IBS.
Peppermint oil is a natural antispasmodic that encourages the bowel muscles to relax and can relieve the discomfort and pain associated with medically diagnosed IBS. Mintec capsules contain medicinal grade peppermint oil and are enteric-coated to ensure they pass through the stomach intact, so they can deliver the peppermint oil to the bowel, where it is most needed.
Mintec Peppermint IBS Relief is FODMAP Friendly approved.
Take one or two Mintec Peppermint IBS Relief capsules up to three times a day 30 minutes before meals. Swallow the capsules whole with some water to help wash them down. Do not take Mintec immediately after a meal or with a hot drink.
Mintec contains Peppermint Oil 180mg per capsule. Medicines have benefits and some may have some risks. Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see your health care professional. Mintec is not recommended for children or for use in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Mintec Peppermint IBS Relief is available for purchase in leading pharmacies and supermarkets, including Chemist Warehouse & Countdown.
When to seek medical advice
Usually, IBS is not a condition that causes damage to your bowel or digestive system. However, if you suspect you have irritable bowel syndrome, it is important to seek medical advice to ensure it is not another condition such as Crohn’s Disease, coeliac disease, or gastroparesis which can cause damage and other illnesses.
Just because it isn’t causing you physical damage doesn’t mean that it is not distressing and impacting negatively on your daily life. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, have a chat with your GP or other trusted health professional. Also seek medical advice if you are suffering from extended bouts of constipation or diarrhoea, bleeding from the bowel, reflux, vomiting, uncomfortable haemorrhoids, or you are generally struggling with unpleasant symptoms.
Written by Robyn
Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments.
Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”