In a previous article, I discussed the importance of the vagus nerve and its connection to digestive health and its potential role in the pathophysiology of IBS. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) counterbalances the stress response of the sympathetic nervous system, normalizes heart rate, and promotes healthy digestion and relaxation. It also has an antidepressant effect and helps keep inflammation in check. Increased vagal health (known as vagal tone) is linked with greater intimacy and social bonding, whereas diminished vagal health is associated with negative moods, loneliness, and social isolation.
There are many myths surrounding IBS, and most of these do more harm than good. Sadly, even the medical establishment and physicians who should know better continue to embrace and promote these outdated fallacies, placing a terrible burden on patients trying to obtain a proper diagnosis and seek treatment.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by altered bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or both, accompanied by abdominal pain or discomfort. Visceral (gut) hypersensitivity is believed to be a key factor in the cause of IBS pain and may also contribute to symptoms such as stool urgency and bloating. The cause of visceral hypersensitivity, however, is currently unknown.
Triclosan is a chemical that was developed in the 1960s that was designed to kill bacteria. Because it is so effective at this, it became ubiquitous in hand and body washes, antimicrobial soaps, foot and body sprays, personal care products (including face and body lotions), shaving products, makeup, and toothpaste.
When you have an IBS flare-up, are in pain, or are experiencing a variety of difficult symptoms, exercise might the last thing you're inclined to do. Nevertheless, certain types of exercise can be extremely beneficial for IBS sufferers, even (or especially) during a flare-up.
Sleep and IBS make for strange bedfellows. If you suffer from IBS, you no doubt know that a good night's sleep can make a world of difference in how well your digestive system functions the following day. A poor night's sleep, however, can have the complete opposite effect. And, of course, an overactive, underactive, or painful gut can disrupt sleep and make matters even worse.
The human digestive tract contains both friendly (aka "good") and not-so-friendly (aka "bad") bacteria. Good bacteria improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and help increase the absorption of nutrients. Bad bacteria are commonly defined as pathogens, which means they may cause infection, make us sick, or even be deadly.
When people talk about a vegan low-FODMAP diet, or really any low-FODMAP diet, the dialogue tends to revolve around which foods are off-limits. This can lead to the erroneous and flawed belief that avoiding high-FODMAP foods means permanently excluding many nutrient-dense and delicious ones and enduring a lifetime of misery, deprivation, and nutritional deficiencies. But how closely does that assumption align with reality?
The beginning of a new year is when many people commit to making positive changes for the next twelve months. Sadly, those lofty promises often fizzle out in just a few weeks. Despite our noble intentions, our objectives may simply be unrealistic or out of our reach. Instead, if we focus on taking small steps toward our ultimate goal -- steps we can truly achieve -- it's possible we'll actually get to the finish line, or at least be a whole lot closer to it.
Certain times of the year are more challenging than others when you're vegan and have a chronic digestive disorder. Holidays in particular can be difficult because not only do we typically have high hopes and expectations (often followed by disappointment), but we also may be surrounded by an abundance of food that doesn't meet our dietary needs. Most people want to please their hosts, friends, family, and coworkers and avoid disagreements, especially at holiday gatherings and celebrations, but vegans with IBS face more hurdles than others in accomplishing this.
I'm not sure why we as a culture like jokes about, well, I might as well just blurt it out . . .
One of the most common myths about irritable bowel syndrome is that it's caused by stress. Let's set the record straight once and for all: stress doesn't cause irritable bowel syndrome or any other chronic functional digestive disorder. However, stress can affect almost anyone's mental and physical well-being, and it can certainly exacerbate ongoing IBS symptoms or trigger a flare-up. But in today's modern world, stress is a constant companion. Is there anything we can do to control or minimize it?
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It's a fact: everybody poops. Although the subject isn't usually considered an appropriate topic of conversation, if you're having a poop problem, it's important to be able to talk about it.
Do vegans ever tire of this age-old question? Why, yes, in fact, we do. That's because protein abounds on plant-based diets, despite persistent myths that perpetuate the opposite.