The disorder, which interferes with the normal functions of the large intestine (colon), is characterised by a group of symptoms - crampy abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. These symptoms can be aggravated by large meals, bloating from gas in the colon, medications or eating/drinking certain products such as wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk, caffeinated drinks or alcohol. Stress, which may be more difficult to manage, can also be a trigger. The American National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) suggests these methods to manage stress:
- Use relaxation therapies, such as meditation.
- Seek private counselling or support groups.
- Get regular exercise, such as walking or yoga.
- Change a stressful situation in your life.
- Get adequate sleep.