How to Gain Control When Nothing Else Seems to Work - Prevention and What to Do When Its To Late">

IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Severe Irritable Bowel Attacks

How to Gain Control When Nothing Else Seems to Work
Prevention and What to Do When It’s “To Late”

Composed by Theresa M. Kelly

Clinical Definition:

IBS is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. A diagnosis of IBS has been reported by 10 to 20% of adults in the United States, and symptoms of IBS are responsible for over 3 million yearly visits to physicians. Research suggests that IBS is one of the most common functional GI disorders. IBS exhibits predominance in women, with females representing over 70% of IBS sufferers.

Physical Medical Symptoms:

The diagnostic criteria of Irritable Bowel Syndrome always presumes the absence of a structural or biochemical explanation for the symptoms and is made only by your health care professional after gathering a careful medical history and giving a thorough physical exam. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be diagnosed based on at least 12 weeks, which need not be consecutive, in the preceding 12 months of abdominal discomfort or pain that has two out of three features:

1. Relieved with defecation; and/or
2. Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool; and/or
3. Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.

Symptoms that Cumulatively Support the Diagnosis of IBS:
• Abnormal stool frequency (may be defined as greater than 3 bowel movements per day and less than 3 bowel movements per week);
• Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool);
• Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation);
• Passage of mucus;
• Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension.
• Abdominal pain and feeling of stretching in the abdominal region.


IBS Attacks:

The majority of people with moderate IBS attacks have 1 to 3 hour attacks and the pain is very discomforting. Discomfort can lead to vomiting, headaches and a good amount of moaning. These attacks slowly progress and slowly leave they rarely spike in pressure and pain.


Severe IBS Attacks:

Those with severe IBS attacks vary in intense symptoms. Those who experience this great deal of pain start out moaning and soon after spike in pain and can barely breathe. Other spikes can build on top of each other causing the victim of the attack to inflict bruises on their fists due to pounding on walls and nearby fixtures as a reaction to the pain. In continual spikes others have been known to cause slight lacerations on their stomach region, legs and arms due to digging into themselves with their nails. Absolute spikes can lead to temporary blindness described as “everything went completely white for thirty seconds.” All of the above are “ok” reactions to these levels of pain, but if you are having these symptoms you need to asses the condition and work on lessening the effects and preventing them from even forming. Severe attacks can run in conjunction with chronic pain as such in spinal muscular pain conditions. Treatment of these conditions can lessen the chance of attacks.

“I was screaming so loud, I couldn’t help it, I thought the neighbors would call the police on me.”

” The pain was worse then having my first child and I was induced.”


Prevention of Irritable Bowel Attacks (Before it's Too Late):

Watch What You Eat – Gaseous and Acidic
Grains Vegetables Beans Fruits Dairy
Breakfast cereals
Rice bran
Sorghum, grain
Whole wheat flour
Whole grain breads Beets
Brussels sprouts
Peppers, sweet Black-eyed peas
Bog beans
Broad beans
Lima beans
Mung beans
Peanuts and peanut butter
Pinto Beans
Red kidney beans
Seed flour (sesame,sunflour)
Soybeans and soy milk Any excess of fruits. Any excess or intake of dairy products can cause curdling expressing a high level of gas in the stomach when exposed to stress or heat.

Tip: Stay away from greasy and spicy foods.


Watch What You Drink –

Any Dairy related beverages such as milk and milkshakes even lactose free.
Fruit juices such as cranberry and orange can be very gaseous. Others have many of the same reactions when introduced to stomach acids.
Carbonated drinks can be a severe hazard to your health and a large inducer of high levels of gas production.

Be Aware of Your Environment –

When in the situation of medium temperatures such as 75 degrees any activity can raise body temperature and induce and attack. Temperatures over 75 degrees can spark an attack in less then 4 hours and the hotter the you are the more pain you will have to cope with. Be aware of how hot or warm you become especially your abdomen region. Wear light clothing and don’t over do it on hot days. Drink plenty of cold water. Heat induces gaseous expansion and results in a great level of pain.


Once it’s “To Late”: (Decrease the Pressure, Decrease the Pain):

Regardless of the triggers almost all attacks can be treated in the same manner. Proper application of proper techniques can reduce the intensity of attacks by 60% and the duration of the attack up to 85%. The following comfort techniques can all be used in the “too late” period and are simple and require little to absolutely no effort at all.

Quick Tip: Gas builds in the entire digestive track including the stomach. So if the gas won’t come out one way, try the other. There’s nothing wrong with a few dozen burps at a desperate time. You will find this very effective in the reduction of the gas expansion.

Expansion and Contraction Simple Comfort – After certain foods, libations or environmental triggers have been implemented the gaseous pressure will begin to intensify. The increased pressure will cause stress on your abdominal regions raising you body temperature especially locally to your abdomen. This raised heat index will in turn cause more gas and thus more expansion and more pain. (Imagine a pot of water on the stove. As you heat the water much of it is vaporized or turned into gas. Heating liquids, fluids and acids in your digestive track end in the same result expanding your digestive organs far beyond their intended size causing a great level of pain.) Many turn to antacids like Tums and OTC’s like Beano to reduce the gas once its “too late” and for the many this will have little to no effect. The far most practical method is to cool the abdomen thus contracting and decreasing the amount of gas in the digestive track. (A child has a balloon in a heated building in the middle of winter. The balloon retains its shape and amount of air within the building, 100%, until the child steps outside into the cold. Once the child exposes the balloon to the colder air the balloons air is decreased suddenly and the balloon appears to have 50% or less of its original amount air. ) As the temperature cools the amount of gas will decrease thus decreasing the level of pain and the duration of the attack. The duration of the attack is influenced by the constant raise in temperature brought on by the initial stress and gaseous expansion. Here are a couple of ways to reduce the gas expansion:

  • A Battery Operated Clip Fan or Plug-in Box Fan – Go out to your nearest Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart or Home Depot and purchase a fan best suited to fit your needs, your size and your bathroom. For smaller people who have less gaseous expansion issues a medium sized clip fan centered on the wall across from your toilet will suffice. Place this fan at level to your abdomen when seated on the toilet. For those with greater expansion issues and who are over 150 to 200+ pounds you may want to consider a normal sized box fan. Make sure the fan is nearby and easy to plug in at a moments notice and aim it towards your abdomen. Many who have severe issues with expansion find it easier to remove as much clothing as possible as to let the fan do its job. Tip: Try not to cover your abdomen with your arms, I know the pain hurts, but if you grab at your stomach when in pain the fan will have a harder time cooling you down. Instead try to keep your hands on your legs and sit as straight up as possible. If you need to grab then do so, but progress back to this position as soon as you can.
  • An Ice Pack with Belt System – This can be the most effective for all severities and all body types. This is a simple device you can find at most Medical Supplies stores. It’s a simple as an elongated ice pack with a strap to go around you. Just place this ice pack in your freezer, or for those more sensitive to pain just place it on the top rear shelf of your refrigerator, and grab it on your way to the bathroom when its become “too late.” This device will reduce the heat where its starting cutting down attack intensity and duration by nearly 85%. What once was a 2 to 5 hour long back and forth attack can now be over in less then 30 minutes and it will be much easier on you pain wise as well.
  • Muscle Relaxation Comfort – We all know sitting on the average toilet is not the worlds most comfortable thing and to sit on it on and off for a long duration can be very discomforting even painful. As we sit our lower muscles become tightened, soar and stressed and ass the body is stressed our body temperature magnifies. To resolve this just head out to your local Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart or Home Depot and purchase one of those delightful foam toilet seats, the fluffier the better. This can be a great help in the long run.
  • Breathing Comfort – From Lamaze to Yoga breathing techniques are fundamental to relaxation and reducing severe pain. Slow breathing techniques can be found all over the internet and my two favorites would be ( Hooo- Hooo- Hooo- Heee and Hooo- Hooo – Hooo). In the end slow breathing, as slow as possible without getting critical on your air supply will ultimately bring you’re the most comfort.


After-the-Fact Sleeping Tips:

Once finished many lay down to rest or sleep after an attack, but they tend to build up allot of gas in doing so and in no time their back in the bathroom. My advice is to try the following:
1. Place a box fan tilted and aimed at your abdomen while laying on your side on the bed or couch. Prop the upper half of your body, head to lower spine, up on pillows as high as you can. If you still have problems try to rest propped up into a comfortable upright position (sitting up). The fan will keep you cool, the acids will be still and lowered and your recovery time will be much shorter. If you feel gas building make sure your abdomen is entirely exposed to the fan and try burping to reduce the gas in your stomach. Wear light clothing, no blankets and have nothing covering your abdomen or mid to lower back.


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