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Don't just change your diet: psychological help for irritable bowel syndrome
Around twelve million Germans suffer from the so-called irritable bowel. Since food is often the trigger, an individual diet can help. However, stress and anxiety also promote the development of irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, psychosomatic counseling should also be considered.
Millions of Germans suffer from irritable bowel syndrome
According to estimates by the German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS), around twelve million Germans suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.
Symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea - sometimes constipation - and cramp-like pain in the intestine develop in those affected. Symptoms such as stomach pain, heartburn, nausea and vomiting can also occur.
In many cases, food is the trigger for the symptoms. A change in diet often brings relief quickly. However, other causes can also be considered.
Stress and anxiety contribute to the development of the disease
As a study by a German-American research group shows, stress and anxiety disorders also promote the development of irritable bowel syndrome. The German Society for Psychosomatic Medicine and Medical Psychotherapy (DGPM) participating in the study therefore advises that psychosomatic counseling should always be taken into account in irritable bowel syndrome. Almost 2,000 long-distance travelers were interviewed as part of the study.
"The aim of the study was to examine the individual impact of psychological and demographic factors such as age and gender, physical symptoms, as well as gastric and intestinal infections on the development of irritable bowel syndrome," explained study leader Professor Bernd Löwe, chief physician at the University Clinic for Psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf and at the Schön Klinik Hamburg Eilbek.
Women are affected much more often
It was shown that gender, as well as the susceptibility to diarrhea, but also stress and mental stress such as excessive anxiety play a role in the development of irritable bowel syndrome.
An acute infection of the gastrointestinal tract often triggers the onset of irritable bowel syndrome. The interaction of these factors also increases the risk of illness. Women were affected much more often than men. Irritable bowel syndrome was also more common in people who were prone to diarrhea under stress and suffered from anxiety disorders.
Consider mental causes
"The study shows once again that the psyche and physical complaints are closely related," said Professor Harald Gündel, Medical Director of the Department of Psychosomatics at the Ulm University Hospital and media spokesman for the DGPM. “For those affected, irritable bowel syndrome is associated with a high level of suffering.
In order to be able to guarantee fast, holistic and sustainable help, it is important that those affected take physical as well as mental causes into consideration and seek psychological advice at an early stage, ”says Gündel.
What helps with irritable bowel
When it comes to alleviating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, in most cases it is recommended to avoid certain food components, such as fructose in fruits or honey, lactose in milk products and galactose in beans, lentils and soybeans.
In addition to changing the diet, there are also various naturopathic remedies for irritable bowel syndrome. A study by researchers at the Charité University Clinic showed that healing earth relieves irritable bowel syndrome.
Research from the United States has also shown that yoga relieves the symptoms. Peppermint oil and psyllium also help with irritable bowel syndrome. According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), the latter could be confirmed in scientific studies. (ad)