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A Gassy Situation

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 9:21 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
BloatingFor a person with severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), going to work brings more than the daily nine-to-five stress – it brings eight hours of attempting to hide regular flatulence, bloating and discomfort. And often, it’s a failed attempt. Coworkers notice the gassy aroma that lingers by your chair, and they, unable to resist, offer malicious comments, cruel jokes and painful jabs. For one woman, the mockery was so severe that she filed a harassment claim, alleging that her fellow employees were mercilessly taunting her. But the claim was dismissed, leaving her with no comfort unless she could find a way to soothe her IBS.

Unfortunately, that’s not an easy thing to do. There is only one medication specifically designed to treat IBS, and it, along with the antidepressants and other options, offer far too little help with far too many side effects. There is hope on the horizon, as researchers are continually assessing alternative methods of treatment. They are finding that counseling, journal writing and hypnosis ease symptoms, as well as several herbal remedies. A combination of bitter candytuft, chamomile, peppermint, caraway and licorice is showing promise in the early stages of testing. So, it may not be long before IBS patients have a few more choices that don’t put the rest of their bodies in danger, but what should be done until then?

The only thing that can be done is to find the lifestyle that produces the least gas, the least bloating and the least diarrhea/constipation. That begins by experimenting with fiber. Soluble fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables, oats, barley and legumes, will keep your system running smoothly. However, you don’t want to overdo it. You have to play around a little bit, testing out how much is enough, how much is too much and how much is too little. It may be that you can find no relief with foods and must turn to fiber supplements. Whatever the case, once you’ve figured out fiber, you can move on to the rest of your diet, being careful of dairy, avoiding problem food s and consuming an adequate amount of liquids. You also want to exercise regularly and control your stress. You may find that talking with someone eases both physical and emotional discomfort. Once you’ve discovered the least flatulent lifestyle, you can move on with your life. And when a coworker next comments on an odor, you won’t have to worry that it’s you.

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