Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be challenging and disruptive to your daily life. While there is no cure for IBS, there are strategies and treatments available to manage and alleviate its symptoms. In this blog post, we will explore what IBS is, its causes, and how pelvic floor physiotherapy can help manage IBS symptoms.
IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by recurring symptoms of abdominal pain or discomfort, along with changes in bowel habits. These changes can include constipation, diarrhea, or alternating between the two. The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but several factors contribute to its development. These factors may include abnormal gastrointestinal motility, increased sensitivity to pain in the digestive system, inflammation, and imbalances in gut bacteria.
Causes of IBS
While the exact causes of IBS remain unclear, several triggers and contributing factors have been identified. These include:
- Diet: Certain foods and beverages, such as spicy foods, fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks, can trigger or worsen IBS symptoms.
- Stress and Emotional Factors: Stress, anxiety, and emotional disturbances can influence the functioning of the digestive system and exacerbate IBS symptoms.
- Gut-Brain Axis Dysfunction: There is a complex relationship between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis. Dysfunction in this communication system may contribute to the development and exacerbation of IBS symptoms.
- Altered Gut Motility: In some individuals with IBS, the muscles in the digestive tract may contract more intensely or more slowly than usual, leading to changes in bowel habits.
How Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Can Help
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a specialized form of therapy that focuses on assessing and treating conditions related to the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles play a vital role in bowel function and control. Here's how pelvic floor physiotherapy can assist with IBS symptoms:
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Assessment: A pelvic floor physiotherapist will assess the strength, coordination, and relaxation of your pelvic floor muscles. This evaluation helps identify any muscle imbalances or dysfunctions that may contribute to IBS symptoms.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Rehabilitation: Based on the assessment findings, a personalized treatment plan will be created. Pelvic floor exercises, relaxation techniques, and biofeedback may be utilized to restore proper muscle function and coordination.
- Bowel Retraining: Pelvic floor physiotherapy can incorporate bowel retraining techniques to establish regular and healthy bowel habits. This may involve creating a consistent bathroom routine, optimizing posture during bowel movements, and improving abdominal muscle coordination.
- Education and Lifestyle Modifications: A pelvic floor physiotherapist can provide guidance on dietary modifications, stress management techniques, and lifestyle adjustments to help manage IBS symptoms effectively.
- Pain Management: Pelvic floor physiotherapy can also address any associated pelvic pain that may accompany IBS. Techniques such as manual therapy, trigger point release, and relaxation exercises can help alleviate pain and discomfort.
It's important to note that pelvic floor physiotherapy should be part of a comprehensive treatment approach for IBS. Other interventions may include dietary changes, stress management strategies, and medical interventions prescribed by your healthcare provider.
How can our team at Manotick PhysioWorks help?
IBS can significantly impact your quality of life, but there are effective ways to manage its symptoms. Our pelvic floor physiotherapists can work with you to alleviate your IBS symptoms and allow you to return to your daily life!