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'Mindfulness' May Ease Irritable Bowel Symptoms'Mindfulness' May Ease Irritable Bowel Symptoms
 
People with IBS have repeated bouts of abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrheaThe exact cause of IBS is unknown, but anxiety and stress are thought to make IBS worse for many people.
 
The typical treatment includes diet changes, as well as anti-diarrhea medication and, for constipation, laxatives or fiber supplements. There's also some evidence that regular, moderate exercise helps reduce symptoms. A small clinical trial suggests therapy that combines mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga may help soothe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome as well.
 
The new study conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, looked at a different approach to managing the "brain-gut" connection -- known as mindfulness-based stress reduction. With mindfulness training, the goal is to help people become aware of what they are feeling, but then "let it go" instead of ruminating, and potentially making the physical symptoms worse. 
 
The researchers randomly assigned 75 women with IBS to either undergo the mindfulness training or attend an IBS support group once a week for eight weeks. The training included lessons on meditation, gentle yoga postures and "body scanning," in which people focus their attention on one body area at a time to detect muscle tension and other sensations. The research team found that three months after the therapy ended, women who'd undergone mindfulness training had a significant improvement in their symptoms. This suggests that the mindfulness technique and meditation should be an option for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
 
Source : www.reuters.com
 
 
 
Dr. Iverson's Comment
 
I couldn’t be more agreeable to this article from what I have experienced in the clinic. Many times a patient will come to us thinking that their digestive symptoms are caused by the foods they are eating. Yes, often digestive symptoms can be associated with subtle food allergies, however often there are other factors disposing one to the condition that they may not have considered.
 
We take a detailed history of the patient’s symptoms and see if there is a correlation between the timing of the symptoms and when certain stressors occur. Because of the
“fight or flight response” the physiological reaction to a stressor is for the blood to leave the stomach and be redirected to the large muscles so you can fight “the bear” or run away from “the bear.” In turn, less blood in the intestines means less digestive strength and that commonly results in digestive distress symptoms. 
 
If you currently have IBS or other digestive symptoms, consider a full evaluation to determine if there are any number of multiple possible causes, from emotional to nutritional to structural, that could be hindering your ability to feel well again.
 
 Be Well~
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