TV Doctor Wimmer explains what you can do about it

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Von: Judith Braun

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One in two people with gastrointestinal disorders have irritable bowel syndrome. Popular TV doctor Dr. Johannes Wimmer explains what can be done.

Munich – “Irritable bowel syndrome is such a widespread diagnosis that even an experienced doctor can only help with ‘trial and error'”, says Dr. Johannes Wimmer (39). The doctor and well-known television doctor therefore wants to shed some light on his YouTube channel in collaboration with the “NDR”. After all, enough people are faced with digestive problems, bloating, diarrhea and cramps. 10 to 20 in 100 people are likely to have IBS, with women affected twice as much as men. The doctor not only explains the symptoms and tests, but also has some tips up his sleeve that can be used to counteract the intestinal disorder.

Irritable bowel: The TV doctor explains how to recognize the disease

Typical symptoms of an irritable bowel include abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.  However, a diagnosis is often premature.
Typical symptoms of an irritable bowel include abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. However, a diagnosis is often premature. (Iconic image) © DC_2 / IMAGO

The so-called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder between the autonomic nervous system and the intestinal muscles. Although the disease is not dangerous, it can be quite painful due to its typical symptoms such as abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea or constipation. According to experts, the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is often made prematurely. Wimmer sees this in a similar way and therefore explains: “It is important that many tests and examinations are performed first to rule out other possible causes.”

Because the symptoms could also be caused, for example, by a food allergy, chronic inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or tumors in the intestines or on the ovaries. According to Wimmer, the doctor should perform the following tests in order to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Gastroscopy and colonoscopy
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • blood test
  • stool examination
  • Breath test to detect or rule out possible intolerances to certain types of sugar

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Irritable bowel: not only physical symptoms, but also psychologically stressful

According to Wimmer, irritable bowel syndrome is a widespread diagnosis where you have to try different treatment options to find out what really helps. Symptoms are also varied and range from physical ailments to psychological stress.

  • Abdominal Pain: If someone experiences abdominal pain often and regardless of meals, this could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome. “The mucous membrane of patients with irritable bowel is excessively sensitive to the messenger substances histamine and serotonin. Therefore it constantly sends nerve stimuli to the brain so that the inflammatory process is maintained, through this feedback, “says the television doctor.
  • Diarrhea or constipation: According to Wimmer, both can be symptoms that occur with irritable bowel syndrome. There are also likely cases of irritable bowel syndrome in which patients alternate between diarrhea and constipation.
  • Flatulence: Sometimes it can be so bad that not only does the intestine rumbling constantly, but you can also see flatulence on the stomach. After a few bites of pizza, for example, the stomach swells like a balloon about to burst and consequently swells outward into a bloated stomach.
  • Swelling: IBS patients often experience a severe feeling of fullness. You feel full to the brim even if you haven’t eaten much.
  • Mental Symptoms: Wellness is directly related to gut health, according to Wimmer. “The abdominal brain is a network of millions of nerve cells that controls digestion.” The abdominal brain and the part of the brain responsible for feelings are constantly exchanging information with each other. Your well-being has a great influence on the digestive system.

Talking about your bowel movements is still embarrassing for many people. But the TV doctor assures that it is part of daily life for doctors to talk about it or take a stool sample. It’s nothing more than coming to them with a cough or a shoulder pain, “they know it,” says Wimmer. Incidentally, according to experts, action is needed if complaints last more than three months within a year.

“If the bowel movement changes and there are constant pinching and twitching in the stomach, then it’s time to see your trusted internist,” recommends the 39-year-old. Another important indication of IBS is that you are symptom-free at night. Furthermore, patients do not lose weight due to IBS.

Tips for irritable bowel syndrome:

If the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is made, the doctor usually recommends treatment or therapy, for example in the form of drugs. For Wimmer, however, two things are critical to the healing of the irritable bowel: a change in diet and a reduction in stress. He also finds the following suggestions useful:

  • Elimination Diet (FODMAP): With this diet you do without nutrients, which is why it should only be done after consulting your doctor or nutritionist so that no deficiencies occur. Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols are avoided for six to eight weeks. These are fast-fermenting carbohydrates found in pastries, breads, dairy products, stone fruits, and cabbage. Polyols are sugar alcohols found mainly in processed foods. After the diet, they are reintroduced into the diet individually and one after another. With the help of a food diary, the patient analyzes which foods he tolerates well.
  • No raw foods in the evening: “Salads and raw vegetables can easily overwhelm the gut,” says the doctor. He therefore recommends eating during the day and in small quantities.
  • Chew well and a lot: it aids digestion and relieves the intestines.
  • Exercise: Here the doctor recommends, for example, a walk around the block, yoga or walks. Sport sets the intestine in motion and stimulates its activity.
  • Reduce Stress: For example, meditation, relaxation exercises, or yoga could help people with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Drink a lot: two to three liters of plain water a day are good for your health and also for the intestine. Patients should avoid caffeine at least for a while.

“Irritable bowel syndrome is not easy, it can be very difficult and it cannot be cured,” concludes the television doctor. Medically, however, an irritable bowel is not alarming, but harmless.

This article contains only general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or therapy. In no way does it replace a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not authorized to answer individual clinical picture questions.

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