Tag Archives: stomach condition

7 Tips To Help Ease IBS Symptoms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common and troublesome gastrointestinal condition afflicting between 25 and 45 million Americans. IBS can cause a whole host of frustrating digestive symptoms such as chronic constipation, diarrhea, gas, distension or cramping. Even though it isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t increase your risk of more serious stomach problems, IBS can negatively impact quality of life. So, what can be done? Aside from working with your doctor to find medical treatment that works for you, there are a few things you can do to help ease those symptoms:

  1. Keep a food diary – By keeping track of everything you’re eating you will likely be able to identify triggers that you didn’t realize you had before, as well as foods that seem to help ease your symptoms.
  2. Avoid triggers – Stress is a big trigger for many IBS sufferers, so try your best to control your stress and anxiety levels. Examples of common IBS food triggers include: caffeine, alcohol, onions, red peppers, spicy foods, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, wheat and milk products.
  3. Hydrate! It can be hard to ensure you reach the recommended daily water quota, but it is especially important if you have IBS, as water promotes easier digestion and helps your body filter toxins.
  4. Check your fiber – While fiber is essential for healthy digestion, too much fiber can be a problem for some IBS sufferers, causing unwanted gas and bloating. Alternately, many IBS sufferers find extra fiber helpful to help ease constipation. How much fiber you should take in depends on your own personal bowel situation.
  5. Try some peppermint – Certain studies have proven peppermint to help symptoms of IBS better than a placebo, so it may help to try drinking some peppermint to see if it improves your symptoms. Be aware that if you suffer from GERD or heartburn, peppermint can sorely exacerbate those symptoms.
  6. Yoga for your belly The gentle movements of yoga and Tai chi have proven beneficial for easing symptoms of IBS (and other conditions) by reducing pain, easing stress and promoting healthier digestion.
  7. Practice caution with medication – Even some anti-diarrheal medications may cause unwanted effects on someone with IBS such as constipation, similarly, anti-constipation medications may cause dependency so, be sure to discuss any medications with your doctor first.

Check out some more helpful IBS tips in our post: IBS Symptoms, Triggers and Management!

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis is an intestinal condition whereby diverticula (small pouches) form in weak spots lining the wall of the large intestine. Diverticulitis is a potentially serious complication of diverticulosis that occurs when these pouches become inflamed or infected.

  • Diverticulosis pouches are usually only a few millimetres big.
  • Most diverticulitis infections occur when partially digested food particles become trapped in a diverticulum.
  • The pouches commonly form in the sigmoid colon (in the lower section).
  • Most cases of diverticulosis do not cause symptoms, but when symptoms such as infection or inflammation do occur, the condition is called diverticulitis or diverticular disease.
  • Symptoms of diverticulitis include: stomach pain, perforation of the colon, infection or changes in bowel movements.
  • Bleeding can occur if a blood vessel located in the diverticular pouches burst.
  • Another complication of diverticulitis is the formation of an abscess, a painful infected sore that forms outside the intestinal wall that can cause severe pain and stomach sickness.
  • In rare cases, abnormal passages between the colon and bladder may develop. These are called fistulas.
  • Diverticulosis is common in older adults. Approximately 58% of adults older than 60 have the condition (the majority of these cases are asymptomatic).
  • According to the National Institute of Health, only around 5% of people with diverticulosis will go on to develop the problematic sub-condition diverticulitis.
  • About 200,000 Americans are hospitalized annually for complications of diverticular disease (such as intestinal bleeding).
  • Too much fiber may be problematic for some diverticulosis sufferers. If you have the condition, it is important to discuss fiber intake with your doctor.
  • Some contributing factors to diverticulosis include: advanced aged, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and genetics.
  • Treatment for diverticulitis usually includes antibiotics, pain relievers and a liquid diet. Sometimes a low fiber diet is suggested long-term.
  • Only about 6% of diverticulitis sufferers require surgery.


That concludes our look at diverticulosis and diverticulitis! Thanks for visiting DocChat. Remember, if you have any health concerns, our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365.

What Is the Difference Between Crohn’s and Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are both serious inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD – not to be confused with IBS, which is irritable bowel syndrome). Both diseases result from the immune system mistakenly identifying any food or bacteria in the digestive tract as a foreign allergen and attacking itself, causing inflammation. Although they are similar but separate conditions, they are often mistakenly interchanged or thought of as one and the same. So what are the similarities and differences between Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (UC)?

Similarities Between The Two Diseases

Because they are both inflammatory bowel diseases, both conditions share many similarities. Some of which include:

  • Inflammation of the digestive tract
  • Genetics and environmental factors appear to contribute to both
  • Immune system dysfunction causes both conditions
  • Many of the symptoms overlap
  • Mild to severe flare-ups are followed by asymptomatic periods
  • Can be exacerbated or caused by certain medications such as NSAIDs or certain acne treatments
  • Both conditions are often treated with similar medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications or steroids

Key Differentiating Features

While colitis causes uniform inflammation and affects the large intestine only, Crohn’s disease causes intermittent and random patches of inflammation and can strike anywhere in the digestive tract between the mouth and anus. UC appears to be slightly more prevalent among men while Crohn’s seems to affect more woman than men. Crohn’s is also less affected by diet than UC is.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms

Crohn’s disease:

  • Stomach pain and cramping
  • Night sweats
  • Potential loss of period (amenorrhea)
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth sores
  • fissures
  • Bloody stool
  • Perianal symptoms

Ulcerative Colitis:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Fever and night sweats lasting days
  • Amenorrhea
  • Blood or pus present in stool
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal pain
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Failure to grow (children)
  • Incontinence
  • Urgency accompanied by inability to defecate

Potential Complications of Crohn’s and Colitis

Some of the potential complications of Crohn’s include: obstructions or narrowing of the bowel, fistulas, colorectal cancer, increased risk of osteoporosis, gallbladder or liver disease or anemia. Potential complications of ulcerative colitis include: dehydration from chronic diarrhea, liver disease, internal bleeding, kidney complications, gastrointestinal infections, inflammation of the spine, skin, or eyes. Severe cases of colitis can even lead a serious operation called an proctocolectomy, the surgical removal of part of the bowel, rectum and anus, where the bowel is redirected to a hole the surgeon makes in the stomach for waste to be excreted.

When to Seek Treatment

If you struggle with many of the above listed symptoms, it is important to visit your doctor (or talk to one of ours!) as soon as possible to start the testing process to see if you are suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease like the Crohn’s or Colitis, or if your symptoms are due to another intestinal condition such as diverticulitis or irritable bowel syndrome. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll return again soon.