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8 IBS Symptoms You Need To Know About

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Do certain foods give you embarrassing digestive trouble?

Do you race to the toilet multiple times a day, or go days without a bowel movement?

This article examines the most common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and what to do next.

What is IBS?

What is IBSIBS is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by recurrent digestive stress.

Those affected may have difficulty eating certain short-chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs.

IBS is not life-threatening but can cause stress and anxiety in everyday life if unmanaged.

It’s a problem for up to 20% of the population in the US and UK, 13% in Australia and 11% worldwide. In particular, women, those over 50, and people with previous gastrointestinal tract infections are more likely to have it (1, 2, 3).

Most people fall into 4 different IBS subtypes:

  • Constipation (IBS-C)
  • Diarrhea (IBS-D)
  • Mixed constipation and diarrhea (IBS-M)
  • Neither constipation or diarrhea occurring often (IBS-U)

Problem is that IBS is difficult to diagnose because it has no blood markers. Currently the best way for doctors to diagnose IBS is via the recurrent symptoms listed below.

Summary: IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by a variety of recurrent digestive symptoms. Your doctor will use these symptoms to help diagnose IBS.

1. Recurrent Bloating

Recurrent BloatingDo you suffer from bloating on a regular basis?

Stomach bloating is one of the most common IBS symptoms.

In fact, up to 96% of people with IBS experience bloating because they tend to have an over-sensitive gut lining (4).

One study of 198 IBS patients found bloating to be more common among those with intermittent symptoms and diarrhea.

However , another study of 195 IBS patients found bloating was strongly linked with constipation, abdominal pain, and gas (5, 6).

Summary: It seems bloating is common in both of the main IBS types, IBS-C and IBS-D.

2. Recurrent Diarrhea Is One of the Most Common IBS Symptoms

Recurrent DiarrheaOne of the most common subtypes of IBS is IBS-D.

This is usually diagnosed when diarrhea affects you every day. At least much more so than regular bowel movements or constipation.

So you may be experiencing recurrent loose or watery bowel movements, typically with increased frequency and/or urgency. And this does not just go on for day, but for weeks or months.

Approximately 40% of people with IBS have IBS-D (7).

Summary: IBS-D is a common form of IBS characterized by chronic diarrhea.

3. Long-Term Constipation

Young woman in pain sitting on bed, on white backgroundIn contrast to diarrhea, long-term constipation can also be a sign of IBS.

This is known as IBS-C.

Constipation is defined as having to strain to pass bowel movements, having the sensation of incomplete evacuation, and/or struggling to pass a bowel movement regularly (8).

Roughly 35% of IBS sufferers identify with the subtype IBS-C (7).

Summary: Long-term constipation is one symptom associated with IBS.

4. Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

Having both diarrhea and constipation is also common in IBS.

It’s called IBS-M (M is for mixed).

This is a useful chart for identifying which classification you may fall into.

IBS ratings

See your doctor to determine what subtype you may have.

Summary: Alternating between constipation and diarrhea is common with IBS and called IBS-M.

5. Abdominal Pain, Cramping and Excessive Gas

Abdominal Pain Cramping and Excessive GasIntestinal gas is one of the most frequent IBS symptoms.

Study participants have said they experience at least some gas 74% of the time, and excessive gas for the remainder (9).

Gas regularly accompanies abdominal pain and cramping in IBS.

The pain is often described as crampy, sharp, dull, gas-like, or a generalized ache with periods of cramps. This usually subsides after a bowel movement or passing gas.

Summary: Chronic gas accompanied with abdominal pain, cramping, and sometimes nausea, is very common with IBS and tends to ease after a bowel movement.

6. Mucus in Your Stools

Mucus in your stoolMucus in Your Stools is a notable symptom of IBS.

It will typically be clear or white in color.

Several other more serious digestive disorders are associated with mucus in the stool, including:

It’s very important that your doctor rules out any other conditions before dismissing this symptom.

Summary: Mucus in your stool can indicate other more serious issues. Alert your doctor if you have this symptom to rule out other conditions.

7. Garlic and Onion Cause You Grief

Garlic and Onion Cause You GriefDigestive troubles after eating garlic and onion is common, especially in people with IBS.

This is because they’re very high in FODMAPs, particularly fructans. In fact, many of the symptoms in this article are often referred to as FODMAP symptoms.

Unfortunately it’s hard to avoid garlic and onion as they’re used in so many dishes and food products.

In fact, it’s likely garlic or onion powder is an ingredient in something you eat on a regular basis.

Summary: Fructans in garlic and onion can cause digestive distress for those with IBS.

8. Lethargy and Daytime Fatigue

Lethargy and Daytime FatigueUnexpected signs of IBS include sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue.

Sleep disturbances are a common occurrence, with one study revealing 62% of IBS sufferers had poor sleep quality (9).

The most common manifestations include:

  • Sleeping less
  • Waking up during sleep
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • And non-restorative sleep (10).

All of these can result in daytime fatigue, which occur irrespective of other sleep-affecting conditions such as anxiety or depression (11).

Summary: Many people with IBS experience sleep disturbances and daytime fatigue.

What To Do If You Have IBS or FODMAP symptoms

What To Do If You Have IBS symptomsIf you have any of the symptoms above, go to your doctor for a check-up.

While IBS is not life-threatening, the symptoms can relate to other more serious conditions.

Once IBS is diagnosed, a dietitian can guide you on diet and lifestyle changes that will help get rid of symptoms.

A Low FODMAP Diet Can Help

The best known strategy for treating IBS is a Low-FODMAP diet (13).

FODMAPs are a short-chain carbohydrates that ferment in the large intestine if not properly digested.

A high-quality Australian study reported that 70% of participants with IBS felt better after only one week on a low-FODMAP diet, compared with a typical diet (12).

For details on how to get started, click here.

This article (8 IBS Symptoms You Need To Know About) was originally created and published by DietvsDisease.org and is republished here with permission as a contribution by the Author.

Environment

Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

Elias Marat

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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Health

Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact

Elijah Cohen

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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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Health

California Bill Backed by PTSD War Veterans Groups Would Legalize Psychedelics Statewide

Elias Marat

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California could soon decriminalize psychedelics statewide if one legislator’s new bill is passed, marking another step by the Golden State to do away with laws seen by critics as antiquated vestiges of the failed U.S. war on drugs.

On Thursday, Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco introduced Bill 519, which would comprehensively decriminalize the use of and possession of psychedelics, following the lead of such places as Oakland, Santa Cruz, the District of Columbia, and Oregon, which have all decriminalized the drugs to varying degrees.

Under the proposed law, a range of psychedelic drugs including psilocybin – the hallucinogen in “magic” mushrooms – psilocyn, 3,4-MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy), LSD, ketamine, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline would all be decriminalized. Like a previous law passed in 2018 that expunged cannabis-related convictions from the records of Californians, Bill 519 would also wipe clean prior convictions for the use or possession of drugs.

While the comprehensive decriminalization measure would open the door to any sort of use of the drugs, not limited to medical, it would also be tied to measures that endorse the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of psychedelics which have gained increased recognition from health experts and researchers in recent years.

Given the severity of our mental health crisis, we shouldn’t be criminalizing people for using drugs that have shown significant promise in treating mental health conditions,” Wiener said in a statement. “People should be able to seek alternative treatment for diseases like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and we need to make science-based treatments available to those in need.”

The bill has also been heavily supported by two groups, the Heroic Hearts Project and VETS (Vets Exploring Treatment Solutions), both nonprofit organizations that assist veterans in addressing mental health challenges stemming from trauma, such as PTSD.

The strategy tout the medical benefits of the drugs is one that has been used with success in past efforts by drug policy reform advocates.

“That’s how it worked with cannabis,” Oregonian drug policy reform advocate Anthony Johnson told the Guardian. Johnson helped lead efforts in his state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of basically all illicit drugs through Measure 110, which voters overwhelmingly approved in November.

“It’s definitely a way to help people that need it first and foremost, but also then to educate the public about these substances of how the drug war has been a failed policy and how there is a better approach,” Johnson added.

In the case of Oregon’s Measure 109, which cleared the way for the all-out legalization of psilocybin mushrooms, petitioners highlighted the need to end the prohibition of the substance as a means toward treating mental health challenges through alternative methods.

“Healthcare professionals, veterans, mothers, people struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction and end of life distress, community organizations, and so many others answered to call for a new option to help so many who are suffering,” a coalition of Oregon advocates said in a statement last November following voters’ overwhelming approval of the legal psilocybin therapy bill.

As has been the case in other states, however, the largest obstacle to decriminalization has been law enforcement, who cite concerns over public safety, and the private prison industry which enjoys generous profits from state contracts to incarcerate drug users. However, state Senator Wiener hopes that the testimony of veterans will help convince opponents of the need to shed their preconceptions and biases toward users of psychedelic drugs.

“There’s a stereotype of who’s using psychedelics, but it’s much broader than that and when you have veterans coming into the Capitol talking about how psychedelics help them with PTSD and help them get their lives back, that’s incredibly powerful for legislators,” Wiener explained.

Among those veterans is 38-year-old veteran Juliana Mercer, who spent 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including 10 years of active duty service over the course of one tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

As a four-year member of the wounded warriors unit, Mercer saw unspeakable horrors that left an indelible impression on her psyche – ultimately resulting in long-term trauma that she was largely unable to address.

“I lost quite a few friends and just saw a lot of a lot of damage and destruction along the way,” Mercer said. “I put all of that stuff away and kind of forgot about it for a while, and once I slowed down it was all just sitting there and I didn’t know what to do with it.”

While her first experience with psychedelics was recreational, she eventually gained a sense of connectedness that had been absent for years. She eventually reached out to the Heroic Hearts Project a year and a half ago to undergo ayahuasca therapy, which she said had completely exceeded expectations in allowing her to release “years of grief.”

“I kept hearing that when you do some of these plant medicines, you’ll be able to do 10 years worth of work in one session,” Mercer explained. “Just one of my sessions really brought out all of that pain and the grief that I didn’t even know was in there and allowed me to just completely release it and expel it, things that I had no idea were there.”

For licensed clinical social worker Lauren Taus, therapies involving plants such as ayahuasca and psilocybin are simply strong tools rather than cure-alls for mental health challenges. However, with the ongoing pandemic compounding a mental health crisis that has long been felt across the United States, Taus is adamant that such potent tools must be decriminalized.

“The causes of trauma are multiplying way faster than the solutions,” Taus said. “Current treatment is generally not very effective.”

“Psychedelic medicine has been engaged with globally for eons,” she added. “This stuff works and we deserve to have access to solutions that will be sustainable.”

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