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Soothing solutions for irritable bowel syndrome

August 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It can affect those as young as 4, as well as teens, adults and the elderly. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is tricky to diagnose and treat as the symptoms vary greatly. Two experts have some soothing solutions for those who are suffering.

"I think the biggest thing is that people are looking for one cure, one size fits all, for treating irritable bowel, and that just doesn't exist," says Dr. Pejman Katiraei, LifeSpan Medicine Center.

More than 25 million Americans are diagnosed with IBS.

"Irritable bowel syndrome means that your digestive track is irritated," said IBS author and registered dietitian Ashley Koff. "It is essentially the body screaming at you, saying 'I don't like what is going on in here.' And that presents itself in a number of different ways: constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, sometimes the whole bundle."

Dr. Katiraei and Koff are two experts who treat this condition using probiotics, enzymes, magnesium (a natural relaxant) and eliminating various foods.

From children to adults, the cause and symptoms aren't always the same.

Even if you are eating well, getting enough fiber, fluids, even exercise, stress seems to be one of the biggest road blocks into putting IBS into remission.

"There is a fascinating program, program called MBSR, mindfulness-based stress reduction, it has been tested time and time again and is so powerful in helping people overcome stress," said Katiraei.

He also likes a program called "Art of Living" that teaches breath from yoga done in a very particular way, which he says helps reset the central nervous system.

"The difference was I changed my diet completely and changing the way I think about stress and all that, because stress is 50 percent of it," said West Hills resident Ben Baral.

Katiraei's patient, Ben Baral works out to calm his body and has seen good results in just three months.

"Sixty percent cured, I just have to get the mental part of it down and I'm done," said Baral.

Koff's dietary suggestions emphasize choosing omega-3 fats and eating food in its most natural state, the less processed the better, along with stress reduction.

"So we need to put focus on our sleep, we would do great to do breathing exercises, we would do great to do yoga, but at the end of the day these things are going to be part and parcel of what we do for our overall treatment," said Koff.

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