Irritable Bowel Syndrome: When the gut-brain axis is disrupted

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: When the gut-brain axis is disrupted

Anyone who experiences nonspecific abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea more than once a week for more than three months should have these symptoms cleared by a doctor and other intestinal diseases to be ruled out. If irritable bowel syndrome is diagnosed in a gastroenterology practice, the first step in treatment is to keep a food diary. In this way, possible food intolerances can be identified, which the affected person should then stop eating.

In many cases, a reduced FODMAP diet helps, too. FODMAP is the English acronym for “Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (fermentable). They are a group of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are difficult for the small intestine to process. The patient should only eat sweets, wheat bread, dairy products, kernel fruits, cabbage, and industrially produced foods in moderation. This diet is best formed as part of a treatment plan by a doctor and should not be tried alone.

Gastrointestinal axis disorder

In the long term, irritable bowel syndrome can be well relieved with the use of probiotics such as lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. The basic form of proper nutrition for patients with intestinal problems should be clarified in a consultation at the pharmacy or with a doctor. Botanical gastric drops can also have a positive effect on the intestines. However, some stomach drops contain small amounts of alcohol and are not suitable for everyone. Moreover, relaxation exercises such as yoga can contribute to a healthy gut.

If a change in diet does not work, a doctor can clarify the psychological relationship between the gut and the brain. The enteric nervous system is also called the “gut brain” because it consists of a network of nerve cells in the intestinal wall that independently control the digestive process. The brainstem communicates with the brain via nerve fibers, immune cells, and transmitters. If this exchange of information is disturbed, one speaks of a disorder of the gut axis. This then leads to permanent intestinal problems, but also stomach problems, discomfort, turmoil and, in the worst cases, withdrawal from social life.

How can your local pharmacy help with irritable bowel syndrome?

The pharmacy team will first determine if gastroenterological or psychiatric examinations have been performed. In addition, he is asked about the symptoms present in order to choose the appropriate treatment from the various treatments. Peppermint tea and peppermint oil, which have an antispasmodic effect, help treat mild symptoms. The oil is available in capsules that pass through the stomach and pass into the intestines where it works. Moreover, herbal remedies based on fennel, caraway or anise, which also have a relaxing or bloating effect, help.


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