Irritable bowel syndrome: A diary can correct many ailments

Diary helps identify irritable bowel syndrome triggers
Many people in Germany suffer from indigestion in the form of irritable bowel syndrome (RDS). "Abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea are typical symptoms," reports the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). In order to get to the bottom of the individual triggers of the complaints, keeping a diary can be helpful.

Irritable bowel syndrome is not particularly dangerous for those affected, but they are often stressed in their everyday life by the pain and the sometimes sudden urge to stool. For some people, the complaints are so severe that they significantly restrict daily life and become a mental burden, reports the IQWiG. By keeping a diary, possible negative as well as positive influencing factors can be determined. There are also various ways to alleviate the symptoms, such as psyllium, peppermint oil, certain antispasmodics or hypnosis, explains the IQWiG.

Triggers of the syndrome vary individually
The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is still unknown, but various factors have been identified that could be the cause. Stress in particular is a frequently cited risk factor here, but nutrition is also not uncommon. The symptoms vary widely from person to person and the treatment to alleviate the symptoms must therefore be specifically adapted for the individual concerned.

Diary helps to recognize patterns
First of all, it is necessary to determine possible individual triggers of the complaints. "For example, if you have the feeling that certain foods exacerbate the symptoms, you can test whether it helps to avoid them," explains IQWiG. To find out whether certain measures such as avoiding food or exercising have an impact, the experts recommend keeping a diary. In this "it is recorded over a longer period what you ate, when you were physically active, whether you felt stressed and how severe the symptoms were." Over time, certain patterns often become recognizable.

Wide range of treatment options
Ultimately, there are a large number of recommendations for what can help against irritable bowel syndrome, although most of these recommendations have not yet been examined in meaningful studies, reports the IQWiG. There are also numerous home remedies available at, which do not help all those affected equally in view of the individually different complaints. "At least for some funds and measures, studies provide evidence that they can help," says the IQWiG. For example, psyllium, peppermint oil, probiotics and psychological processes such as coping with stress and hypnosis are worth mentioning. Anticonvulsants, diarrhea or constipation medicines and medicines such as antibiotics or antidepressants are also sometimes used in the treatment, but IQWiG advises in view of the impending side effects to carefully weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: IBS-D: Therapeutic Advances and the Impact of the Gut Microbiome (September 2021).