10 Simple Steps to Living Better with IBS
Why Another Book on IBS?
According to Dr Alvin Newman, author of The Essential IBS Book, "A quick spin through any large bookstore or a visit to Amazon.com/ca will quickly reveal that there are many books on the topic of irritable bowel syndrome. After all, this is a very common illness, affecting almost 20% of the population — many of whom struggle to enjoy the basic pleasures in life. These books are written by alternative health practitioners and medical doctors who share the perspective that IBS is curable if only the reader will follow the specific advice and purchase the specific treatments offered in the book. In a way, these books are the products of latter-day mountebanks holding out the false hope of eternal cure. What they are preaching is unproven and untested, more likely to aggravate than to relieve symptoms.
The truth is that there are many factors and causes involved in functional gastrointestinal diseases such as IBS, and a one-size-fits-all approach is never going to work. Patients are all slightly different, and plugging them all into the same formula would be a foolish gesture. I will admit right here, at the very start of this book, that I cannot cure IBS. But I believe that I can improve the quality of life of IBS sufferers without forcing them to submit to exotic tests from distant laboratories or to purchase overpriced dietary supplements from health-food stores, and I can do this without scaring them with the assertion that their digestive system has too little acid or too many yeast organisms.
I want to reassure these sufferers that IBS will not turn into Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or colon cancer. Most important, I hope that readers of this book will be less frightened by their symptoms and much less likely to agree to surgery and repeated invasive investigations. IBS is not a catastrophe, and it should never be frightening."
Ten Steps to an Improved Quality of Life with IBS and FD
Although we may not yet know the cause of or the cure for irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia, there are strategies to reduce the pain and discomfort of symptoms and to improve your quality of life.
1. Take control of your own case.
2. Become an un-patient.
3. Eliminate, reduce, or avoid aggravating foods as recommended by a dietitian.
4. Take tranquilizers and antidepressants as prescribed by your doctor.
5. Reduce stress in your life — at home and at work.
6. Try not to somatize your symptoms into something more serious.
7. Refuse narcotics.
8. Avoid untested herbal remedies.
9. Beware of excessive testing and screening procedures.
10. Be positive.