treating ibs with constipation - Cybill Shepherd and the Irritable Bowel
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Cybill Shepherd and the Irritable Bowel

Cybill Shepherd has revealed that she suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The star of Moonlighting and Taxi Driver says that she has struggled with her symptoms for many years, and is now hoping to raise awareness of IBS and encourage sufferers to talk more openly with their doctors.

There are still many people with bowel problems who are too ashamed or embarrassed to go to the doctor, and just soldier on through their lives when they could be receiving treatment. And there's always the risk, of course, that their symptoms could actually be the result of something other than IBS that may get progressively worse if it is left alone.

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 What Cybill Shepherd has done, though, is more than just draw attention to the fact that IBS sufferers need more help. Just by revealing that she is an IBS sufferer she has shown that IBS can affect anyone. Here is a glamorous, successful actress, someone who has kissed Bruce Willis and won three Golden Globes, saying that she has trouble with her bowels.

If you constantly hear about diabetes sufferers and asthma sufferers but never hear a word about bowels then you begin to learn that your illness is far less important than these other worthy causes.

Symptoms Abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort are the main symptoms of IBS. However, symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people have constipation, which means hard, difficult-to-pass, or infrequent bowel movements. Often these people report straining and cramping when trying to have a bowel movement but cannot eliminate any stool, or they are able to eliminate only a small amount.

And I can't thing of a more untouchable issue than IBS, something that no-one in the public eye would readily admit to. Can you imagine Julia Roberts standing up and saying 'Diarrhea is the blight of my life and hemorrhoids have driven me to drink'? No, of course not, because anything remotely digestive is considered highly embarrassing and distinctly unglamorous.

Medics also refer to the irratable bowel syndrome as spastic colon, spastic colitis, nervous diarrhea, nervous colon or nervous bowel. However this condition should be distinguished among other gastro intestinal disease called "colitis, such as ulcerative colitis (colitis describes the inflammation of the colon, whereas the colon is not inflamed in people suffering from irratable bowel syndrome).

The exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are unknown, but patients can often determine what triggers the symptoms by keeping a foods and symptoms journal; noting what foods or beverages were consumed before the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome began. Products containing caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages may trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, though these products do not cause the condition. Food sensitivities often trigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Some people are sensitive to wheat products; others are sensitive to milk products. And still others find that fructose, a simple sugar found in fruit and fruit juices triggers symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. This is why a food and symptoms diary is helpful. By avoiding certain foods, some people are able to keep the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome under control.

Other symptoms include burping, bad breath caused by an abnormal digestive activity, gas production, nausea and headache. It is important to go the doctor if you witness any of the above syndromes in order to have the proper medication prescribed. Wayne Pickstone is an Irritable Bowel Treatment Expert; he personally oversees the treatment of hundreds of clients. It is not uncommon for him to be booked out months in advance for his advice and treatment at his store in Sunny Hervey Bay, Australia. Wayne would like to invite you to join his free Irritable bowel treatment Newsletter at that explains how to get rid of your symptoms fast. (A $97 Value)

And things can change. Just think about breast cancer, which is now regularly discussed on TV and radio, but 20 years ago was stuck behind a wall of silence where breasts were not to be mentioned, cancerous or not.

Treatment for IBS, as for any physiological condition, works best when it successfully addresses the cause of the condition. The various conditions that can cause IBS, outlined in the Diagnosis and Etiology sections above, require specific treatments. High rates of success in resolving IBS symptoms have been reported when treatment is specifically tailored to the underlying causes revealed through proper testing for the range of known causes of IBS symptoms.

The movement of the digested food and fecal material through the intestines and the colon is dictated by a series of rhythmical muscular contractions (the medical term for these actions is peristalsis). When a person is suffering from the irratable bowel syndrome, the peristalsis is more frequent, thus leading to a noisier and abnormal bowel activity. That is what causes the discomfort of the IBS and what may determine people to be embarrassed with these symptoms.

If we can just get a few more Cybill Shepherds to speak out for IBS then the celebrities of this world might start wearing ribbons for you and me, and leave the gay whales to fight for themselves.

There are two basic types of irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating and frequent, loose or watery stools. To define frequent, you must look at what is normal for the individual. The number of bowel movements that a person has varies greatly. Some people have three movements per day, while others may have only three per week. A change in the frequency of bowel movements that is accompanied by abdominal pain often leads physicians to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome.

There are several symptoms depending on the person and the actual cause, but the main ones are abdominal pain and occasional diarrhea, often alternating with constipation. The person suffering from IBS may feel bloated, full, as the digested food travels at an abnormal rate through the intestines. Sometimes the person may witness abdominal swelling or tenderness. Anxiety can be another symptom associated with the condition, as the person is aware of the gastro intestinal problem and he gets annoyed.

And yes, the issue may sometimes be whatever cause is most fashionable at the time - 'Gay whales against racism' as one satirist put it ' or the one which helps the star more than the people (or whales) who are suffering. But sometimes there is no doubt that the celeb has really stuck their neck out to help others who are dealing with an issue that is considered untouchable.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are more likely to show up in people between the ages of 13 and 40, than in those over 50. Women are more likely to have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome than are men. This may indicate that irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are related to monthly changes in hormonal levels, but this is not certain. It seems that many people who suffer from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome also are suffering from stress or other emotional difficulties and because of this stress management or behavior therapies are sometimes recommended. In addition, a recent study showed that hypnotic therapy was effective in controlling irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

About the author:
Sophie Lee has had IBS for 15 years and runs the Irritable Bowel
Syndrome Treatment website at where you can read about
all kinds of different IBS treatments.

'My doctor used to tell me it was all emotional and psychological. So I got a new doctor. And a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. It was a huge relief to find out that my IBS with constipation was not all in my head and that it was a treatable medical condition. My doctor prescribed Zelnorm and it has provided me with relief for all my symptoms. In a lot of ways, I feel like my old self again.'

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Some people with IBS find that careful eating helps reduce or eliminate IBS symptoms. You might try avoiding very large meals, drinks with caffeine, spicy or fatty foods, chocolate, some dairy products, and foods that contain gluten. Some people find that adding fiber ??? eating more fruits and vegetables, for instance ??? and drinking more water can help eliminate IBS symptoms, too.

People between 20 and 30 years old are more affected by this disorder and studies have shown that women present these symptoms twice as often as men do. There are four main types of manifestation of the condition: abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea and diarrheic episodes alternating with constipation. Between 10% and 20% of all the people in the U.S. suffer from the irratable bowel syndrome. However, specialist believe that the incidence rate is actually higher that the official numbers, as many people try to self-medicate or believe that they suffer from other affections and do not consult a medic.

The causes and triggers of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms vary greatly among individuals. Treatment plans vary as well. Some prescription medications and herbal remedies may be helpful over the short term, but dietary and lifestyle changes are typically necessary to keep the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome under control for extended periods of time.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation also include abdominal pain, discomfort and/or bloating, but the stools are hard or difficult to pass and movements are less frequent than what is normal for the individual. In a few cases, people with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms experience constipation at times and diarrhea at other times. Abdominal pain can be a symptom of a number of other medical conditions and should be evaluated by a physician. If a bowel movement relieves the pain, then the physician may determine that the abdominal pain is associated with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

For more information about irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems, visit

Cybill Shepherd's admission, therefore, is to be applauded. Dare not speak its name Before Cybill Shepherd 'came out', the only famous person I knew of who had IBS was Kelsey Grammar's wife (Kelsey Grammar used to play Frasier in the eponymous sitcom and Cheers).

Don't suffer in silence But it's not just about how other people perceive us, and how we perceive ourselves. It's also about making sure that anyone who has bowel symptoms seeks help, and at the moment that just doesn't happen.

The power of celebrity In these celebrity-soaked times it can be easy to forget that famous people sometimes achieve genuinely selfless and compassionate things just by using their fame. The greatest power that they have is the ability to shine the light of their stardom on an issue which would otherwise have been ignored.

Treatment The best way to handle IBS is to eat a healthy diet, avoid foods that seem to make you feel worse and find ways to handle your stress.

Causes The cause is not clear. It may have something to do with overactivity of parts of the gut. The gut is a long muscular tube that goes from the mouth to the anus. The small and large bowel (also called the small and large intestine) are parts of the gut inside the abdomen. Food is passed along by regular contractions (squeezes) of the muscles in the wall of the gut.

We need more people in the public eye standing up and saying 'Me too', so that everyone can start to realise just how widespread a problem this is.

And good for her! I think that many IBS sufferers will identify with what she says: from embarrassing, unmentionable symptoms to doctors who insist that our bowel problems are really in our heads.

Antispasmodic drugs, which may ease cramping - examples include mebeverine, belladonna, hyoscine and peppermint oil capsules Read more on Arthritis. Check out for diseases and herbal remedies.

IBS often goes undiagnosed for years, and even when we pluck up the courage to visit the doctor we can be so tongue-tied that we don't properly describe our symptoms. If we could leave our embarrassment in the waiting room it would be so much better for our health.

Whoever you are, whatever your gender or problems or pain, it is vital that you find someone with whom you can identify. If you watch TV and never see a reflection of yourself, if you are a black man and only ever see white faces on screen, then you will start to feel alienated ' and the same goes for people who are ill.

We may identify less with her relief from one drug alone (although the new drugs Zelnorm and Lotronex have had a good success rate in America), but we could all benefit from talking more openly with our doctors and looking for more solutions rather than accepting that IBS will rule our lives.

Cybill Shepherd says: 'My goal is to urge all women to get over their embarrassment, to stop suffering in silence the way I did, and to talk to their doctors. Although it may be uncomfortable, it is very important for you to be open and honest with your doctor about all your symptoms'.

She says: 'For years I have been battling recurring constipation, abdominal pain and bloating. Go ahead and laugh. We laugh because we're embarrassed. In order for us to get relief, we have to talk about our symptoms and stop suffering in silence. 'I have tried nearly everything: changing my diet and watching what I ate. I exercised regularly. I even tried taking fiber supplements and over-the-counter laxatives, but nothing helped with all of my symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common problem with the intestines. Functional disorder means there is a problem with the function of a part of the body, but there is no abnormality in the structure. This disorder most commonly affects people between the ages of 20 and 30 and is twice as common in women as in men. The syndrome can be divided into four types depending on which is the main symptom - abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation or diarrhoea alternating with constipation.

Abdominal pain is another frequent symptom and it appears mostly in the lower left corner of the abdomen. Going to the toilet can relieve pain associated with this condition. Also, there may be traces of white mucus in the sufferer's stool sample.

Suffering from the irratable bowel syndrome can be very annoying. The IBS is a gastro intestinal condition that manifests through episodes of diarrhea and/or constipation, associated with acute abdominal pain. Medics find it quite difficult to set up a diagnosis as there is no apparent cause and the symptoms can be associated with a series of other gastro intestinal conditions.

Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience as a healthcare professional and currently writes informational articles for the Digestive Disorders Guide. Read more at


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