Anxiety has been a problem in IBS patients. How to get help: Shots

Millions of Americans suffer from irritable bowel disease and the severity of the past two years has exacerbated the risk of stomach problems. There are ways to help, including meditation and mindfulness training.

Alvaro Tejero / EyeEm / Photography


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Alvaro Tejero / EyeEm / Photography


Millions of Americans suffer from irritable bowel disease and the severity of the past two years has exacerbated the risk of stomach problems. There are ways to help, including meditation and mindfulness training.

Alvaro Tejero / EyeEm / Photography

If you’re one of the 25 million people in the U.S. with irritable bowel syndrome, there’s a good chance your symptoms will increase at some point in the last couple of years. Or you may have developed symptoms for the first time.

“We’ve had reports of increased constipation, constipation and stomach pain,” said Kendra Kamp, a researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He looked at IBS patients without worrying or worrying about what they had experienced before the disease. More than 90% reported an increase in depression and 81% reported an increase in anxiety. Another study supported by a medical association found that half of IBS patients said their symptoms were more difficult to manage, and many reported an early onset. of IBS among chronic illness.

“The disease has created a sense of uncertainty, isolation and limited access to support resources that people rely on for well -being,” said Suzanne Smith, a nurse at the University. UCLA’s Integrative Digestive Health and Wellness program. The center integrates food pathways and stress management, and Smith helps patients understand the brain-gut relationship in IBS.

IBS is thought to be a problem of the stomach, but psychiatrists have found that the way the stomach, brain and stomach change in IBS symptoms, such as stomach pain, gas, bloating and movement of the stomach. “There’s always a response gap between the brain and the stomach,” Smith explains. Information flows through the vagus nerve, which connects the brain with the stomach, so what is going on in the brain is related to the gastrointestinal system.

Looking for beginners

Severity is one reason why symptoms can be exacerbated or difficult to control. Food, sleep, exercise and human relationships are important. “All of these things play a role in digestive health,” Smith says.

Doctors are looking at pathogens such as disease or the amount of bacterial infection that requires antibiotics, but the goal, Smith said, is to keep everything in place. ala holistic medicine.

Smith taught a mindfulness program that can help patients reduce anxiety about their symptoms. By 2020, a study of patients who participated in an 8-week course, called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, found that 71% of patients had significantly improved their GI symptoms. “The quality of life and overall well -being has been greatly improved,” Smith said. Participants were instructed in activities that stimulate current awareness, limit anticipatory anxiety, and maintain a tight loop that can increase negative and related feelings. in IBS symptoms.

“It was life -changing for me,” said Vicki Mayer, 52, a participant in the study. She had experienced stomach problems before and later returned to college, but in recent years her symptoms have become more severe. “Every time I go out for lunch or dinner or coffee, I’m overwhelmed with anxiety and fear,” he recalled, thinking that she might have to find a bathroom right away or leave the restaurant. He started to avoid going outside.

When her doctor spoke to the panel, she was confused. “I was probably the most skeptical in the room,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘Yeah, I have to lie down for an hour. I can’t really relax my mind.'”

But, after the course started, she was involved. “We practice different types of meditation, whether it’s physical observation, three minutes of breathing exercises, or walking meditation,” Mayer said, adding that each activity is stimulated. a sense of calm and a new way to listen. his body.

The focus did not change his symptoms overnight, but he began to feel the power of his thoughts. He knew that much of his anxiety was due to thinking of the worst situation, such as waiting for an embarrassing restaurant event. But if he stayed now, things would not be so bad. Instead of allowing his mind to weave a story about what was to come, he learned to rearrange his thoughts.

“I’m fine, there’s a bathroom all the time,” she told herself if she went out to dinner, realizing it wouldn’t hurt to leave herself off the table. “When I changed my mind, my level of anxiety was much lower, and I was able to go to the diet with less problems.”

Studies show that it can improve thinking and emotional regulation. “If you have a better power to correct your focus, then you can shift your focus to something more helpful,” Smith said, as Mayer taught. .

Mayer said he felt better now. “It’s great to know how to change your mindset and see the physical effects of it in a positive way,” he says. And, he maintains mindfulness training: “You can take a minute or two to breathe while you’re standing in line at the store.”

The power of proper nutrition

Changing what is on the menu is an important tool for people who manage IBS. “We’ve developed dietary plans that can work best,” said William Chey, a gastroenterologist at the University of Michigan who documented the benefits of integrative care.

Michigan has had a dedicated GI diet program since 2007. “When I first started talking about diet as an important part of treating patients with IBS at the time, it was a real laugh. those to me, ”Chey said. “But now almost every gastroenterologist admits that food is an important part of the outcome.”

Over the past 15 years, many studies have shown that dietary supplements can help prevent symptoms.

The FODMAP diet has received a lot of attention from researchers. Studies show that between 52% and 86% of participants report a significant improvement in their symptoms after eating, with a reduction in gas and bloating. The FODMAP diet should eliminate or reduce certain foods, such as gluten, lactose, extra fructose (found in some fruits and corn syrup) and certain fruits, beans and vegetables. starchy. Researchers at the University of Monash in Australia explained that the FODMAP diet is related by recognizing that certain compounds in our food cannot be digested and digested, so they can be digested in the stomach. much of which is infested with bacteria. This leads to gas and bloating.

“I saw immediate benefits in the first week,” said Karen Beningo of Northville, Mich., Who holds at the University of Michigan. She started the FODMAP diet last October and noticed a significant improvement in her energy levels. “The distension and bloating went away quickly,” he said. After carefully following the food, he added more foods to his diet. She knew gluten was a starter, so she wouldn’t live on gluten.

“I saw other things, and most of them I doubted,” he said. He knew that onions, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, as well as some nuts, would turn him into gas. “And by pausing my system and then re -installing [them] I’m pretty sure, yes, I have a problem with those, ”he explains. (This Monash University FODMAP app can help people follow the diet, explaining the diets, a lot. the better the food, and who needs it?

Where to get help

Beningo is fortunate to live close to the university center. The University of Michigan has enrolled dieters in their GI program that can support patients through dietary changes, which can be irritating and confusing to follow. But what can people do if they don’t engage in this type of integrative care?

Most gastroenterology practitioners do not have a registered dietitian, psychologist or critical care professional to staff. “Most doctors don’t have the tools or training to be able to effectively carry out the science as it comes out of their practice,” Chey said.

To fill the gaps, there is a move to virtual support to help people get involved in nursing, weight management tools and food planning. “The digital developers coming online will help these integrated projects move up an archipelago,” Chey said. He cites three examples. Mahana is an FDA -approved Cognitive Behavioral Therapy educational program that allows physicians to instruct IBS patients to manage stress. Zemedy is a digital program about CBT. There’s also Nerva, a phone app that offers hypnotherapy designed to help manage symptoms.

“All three of them are evidence -based, which means they’ve all done a little bit of looking at clinical trials to show efficacy,” Chey said. More digital products are in development, he said, adding that he has worked with some of the companies as a researcher. Chey said major medical trials have been planned with some of the manufacturers to better understand how to use them properly. “This is a very fast growing area,” he said.

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