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October 4, 2005

This week - What exactly is IBS?

Hello to everyone -

This week we have a new, briefer email format for the IBS Newsletter that's designed to work better for many email browsers. Comprehensive information is still available if you just follow the links in the newsletter. This week we have a delicious quick bread recipe to welcome in fall. It's a luscious pumpkin date bread that's guaranteed to make any chilly morning a little sunnier. This bread is moist and sweetly spicy, and also a terrific way to incorporate pumpkin, one of the most nutritious and high-soluble fiber vegetables, into your diet. You can add a few tablespoons of Acacia Tummy Fiber to the bread recipe if you like, for extra moist results and even more nutritional benefits.

We've also got new stores carrying Heather's Tummy Care products, and, as always, the latest IBS news and research. Enjoy!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous

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Pumpkin Date Harvest Bread

Makes one 9 x 5" loaf.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl sift:
2 tablespoons Acacia Tummy Fiber (optional)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Whisk dry ingredients with a metal whisk until thoroughly blended.

In a small bowl stir together and set aside:
1/3 cup soy or rice milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl beat well with an electric mixer:
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup canola or safflower oil
4 organic egg whites
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 tablespoons vanilla

Beat in the soured soy milk. With a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring the batter by hand just until well blended. Fold in by hand:

1/2 cup finely chopped dates

Pour batter into non-stick loaf pan sprayed with cooking oil. Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on rack.

For oodles of other delicious recipes, come visit the IBS Recipe Exchange board!

Are you just learning how to eat for IBS? A little intimidated at the thought of special IBS recipes? Not quite sure just what makes these recipes special in the first place? Don't worry! Come see the IBS Diet pages, and find the answers to all your questions.

~ Heather's Tummy Fiber ~
For the Dietary Management of Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea, &, Constipation
IBS Acacia Tummy Fiber
Organic Acacia ~ Pure Soluble Fiber

The prebiotic fiber that relieves both diarrhea and constipation!

divider New Retail Stores Carrying Heather's Tummy Care Products
We're continuing our special rebate offer for people who buy Tummy Care products at their local stores, and we have new store announcements this week as well!

3509 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43214

Evergreen Nutrition
1653 Willamette Street
Eugene, OR 97401

If you don't have a store in your area carrying Tummy Care products yet, please give them this flyer to ask them.
divider Probiotic Mixture Alleviates IBS Symptoms
A recent report in the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics investigated whether a probiotic mixture containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. rhamnosus LC705, Bifidobacterium breve Bb99 and Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS is effective in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. A total of 103 patients fulfilling the Rome I or II criteria for IBS diagnosis took part in this 6-month, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. The patients received a probiotic capsule or a placebo capsule daily. Gastrointestinal symptoms and bowel habits were recorded. The results indicate that this probiotic mixture is effective in alleviating irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. The authors note that considering the high prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome and the lack of effective therapies, even a slight reduction in symptoms could have positive public health consequences. Go here for more information about this study...

Guidelines for the Management of Dyspepsia
a recent study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology noted that dyspepsia is a chronic or recurrent pain or discomfort centered in the upper abdomen; patients with predominant or frequent (more than once a week) heartburn or acid regurgitation, should be considered to have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) until proven otherwise. For patients under age 55, there are two approximately equivalent options: test and treat for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) using a validated noninvasive test and a trial of acid suppression if eradication is successful but symptoms do not resolve; or, an empiric trial of acid suppression with a proton pump inhibitor for 48 weeks. The management of functional dyspepsia is challenging when initial antisecretory therapy and H. pylori eradication fails. There are very limited data to support the use of low-dose tricyclic antidepressants or psychological treatments in functional dyspepsia. Go here for more information about this study...

Women With Interstitial Cystitis at Risk for IBS & Depression Compared to women without bladder problems, women with interstitial cystitis are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome and depression, researchers in the September issue of Journal of Urologyreport. They hypothesize that bladder and bowel pain may cause depression in this population. Dr. Joseph M. Novi, of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a case-control study comparing 46 women with newly diagnosed interstitial cystitis and 46 similar but unaffected women presenting for annual gynecologic examination. Standardized, validated questionnaires were used to collect data. Among the women with interstitial cystitis, 43% were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. No significant difference in the frequency of irritable bowel syndrome was observed between women with severe interstitial cystitis and those with mild interstitial cystitis.

The investigators found that in the interstitial cystitis group, women with depression were significantly more likely to complain of bladder pain, nocturia, abdominal pain, and other bowel symptoms than those without depression. "A common pathogenesis, that is the interaction of mast cells with nerve cells to produce neurogenic inflammation and pain, has been proposed for interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome," Dr. Novi and colleagues comment. "We hypothesize that pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis is a causal factor in depression in these women," they write. They suggest that appropriate pain management techniques may improve depression symptoms. Go here for more information about this study...

Abdominal Bloating - Four Factors are Involved
A recent study in Gastroenterology noted that abdominal bloating is a common and significant clinical problem that remains to be scientifically addressed. Bloating is one of the most bothersome complaints in patients with various functional gut disorders. However, in the current standard classification, abdominal bloating is merely regarded as a secondary descriptor, which masks its real clinical effect. Four factors are involved in the pathophysiology of bloating: a subjective sensation of abdominal bloating, objective abdominal distention, volume of intra-abdominal contents, and muscular activity of the abdominal wall. The primer to elicit subjective bloating may be any of the other 3 factors, or the sensation may be related to distorted perception. All of these mechanisms may play an independent role or may be interrelated. Gas transit studies have evidenced that patients with bloating have impaired reflex control of gut handling of contents. Segmental pooling, either of gas or of solid/liquid components, may induce a bloating sensation, particularly in patients with altered gut perception. Go here for more information about this study...

Go here to learn how to reduce and prevent bloating from IBS.

Use of Gastrointestinal Health-Care Resources in Patients with IBS
It is unclear why patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) consume a disproportionate amount of health-care resources versus matched controls. One possibility is the presence of comorbid somatizationa process marked by multiple unexplained somatic complaints that is highly prevalent in IBS. A recent study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology sought to determine whether higher levels of somatization are associated with higher levels of gastrointestinal (GI) resource utilization in IBS. The study concluded that IBS patients with high levels of somatization are not more likely to seek GI care compared to patients with low levels of somatization. However, once they are evaluated for care, patients with high somatization expend significantly more GI health-care costs. This suggests that somatization is positively associated with health-care costs in IBS, and that the association may be driven more by physicians than patients. Go here for more information about this study...

Looking for more IBS research and news? Check the IBS Research Library!

Heather's Tummy Store for IBS
Shop at Heather's Tummy Store for IBS

The only store that's just for IBS - so we only carry the very best

divider An IBS Diagnosis
"I was just diagnosed with IBS. What exactly does this mean? What is IBS?

So, you've seen a gastroenterologist, been through tests, found out your symptoms match the criteria for IBS, and you've finally got a diagnosis you feel is accurate. You've got Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Now what? Well, one of the most important weapons in your battle against IBS is information. You need to know the enemy. Fortunately, over the past several years a great deal of new information regarding the brain-gut interaction that results in IBS has evolved, and more discoveries are being made all the time.

First of all, it helps to realize that you are not alone. IBS is estimated to affect 15-20% of all Americans, primarily (but certainly not exclusively) women. This is at least 35 million Americans, and half of them have never even seen a physician for their symptoms. Despite this, IBS is still the most-frequently seen illness by gastroenterologists, and is one the top ten diagnoses among all US physicians. It is also, incredibly, the second leading cause of worker absenteeism (behind only the common cold). These are pretty amazing statistics for a disorder that many people have never even heard of.

Interestingly, because IBS is a "functional" disorder, you can't actually be tested for it. Rather, it is determined by a diagnosis of exclusion. This is because there are no structural, inflammatory, biochemical, or infectious abnormalities present in IBS. In other words, when IBS patients are examined by doctors, there is no physical problem to be found. So, are you just imagining your symptoms? No - you absolutely are not. A functional disorder simply means that the problem is an altered physiological function (that is, the way your body works), rather than something that has an identifiable origin behind it. In other words, while an IBS attack and its resulting symptoms are clearly visible as physical manifestations, the underlying cause behind these symptoms is not. The root of the problem in IBS sufferers cannot yet be identified by yielding a positive result from any existing medical tests. What then, precisely, is wrong with the way your body works if you have IBS?

IBS is indisputably a physical problem. Simply put, the brain-gut interaction of people with IBS influences their bowel pain perception and motility. In a nutshell, the processing of pain information within the central nervous system varies between normal individuals and those of us with IBS, with the result that we can experience even normal GI contractions as painful. The interactions between our brains, central nervous systems, and GI systems are just not functioning properly. We have colons that react to stimuli that do not affect normal colons, and our reactions are much more severe. The end result is heightened pain sensitivity and abnormal gut motility, in the form of irregular or increased GI muscle contractions. It is this gut overreaction and altered pain perception that cause the lower abdominal cramping and accompanying diarrhea and/or constipation that characterize IBS.

Interestingly, the origins of IBS may really be in our brains, and not in our bowels. Given that for many years people with IBS were dismissively told their problem was "all in their heads", it's ironic that, in the end, this may be factually true. The underlying problem might well be in our brains - but it's absolutely not in our imaginations.

No one really yet knows exactly why some people develop IBS and others don't. There is mounting evidence that for some IBS sufferers the condition is precipitated by some type of grievous insult to the gut - dysentery, food poisoning, intestinal flu, abdominal surgery, even pregnancy. The theory goes that even after full physical recovery from these traumatic events, the nerves within the gut retain a "memory" of the insult and remain hyper-sensitive to further stimulation, as well as prone to subsequent over-reaction. You likely know if you experienced any abdominal trauma immediately prior to the onset of your IBS symptoms, and if you did it's probably nice to have a logical explanation for what has happened to your GI tract and why. There are those (and I'm one of them) who are exceptions to this theory, however, who suffered no gut insult prior to the onset of IBS symptoms, and we're still patiently waiting for our explanation.

So, now that you know exactly what Irritable Bowel Syndrome is, check here for an overview of treatments for IBS so you can begin to successfully manage the disorder.

~ Heather

Fennel Tummy Tea Peppermint Tummy Tea
Fennel & Peppermint Tummy Teas - Now in New Jumbo Teabags!

Fennel is terrific for bloating & gas, Peppermint is great for IBS pain & spasms.

divider Heather & Company for IBS, LLC is dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Our mission is to provide education, support, and products that allow people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

We offer extensive information and tangible help for IBS, including the world's best-selling and best-reviewed books for the disorder. We provide the internet's top IBS web site resources; a twice-monthly IBS Newsletter; seminars and classes; dietary brochures for patient distribution by health care professionals; an IBS Research Library; and Heather Cooks!, a healthy cooking show on Seattle television. Much of our work is based on Heather's development of the first and only comprehensive IBS dietary guidelines and recipes, an achievement which has earned numerous awards and accolades as well as thousands of thank you letters from IBS sufferers.

Heather & Company also provides the only patient-expert moderated IBS Message Boards on the internet with forums for diet, recipes, hypnotherapy, yoga, plus Crohn's and Colitis. In addition, we support and coordinate the formation and continuation of local in-person IBS support groups across the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. We will soon have other IBS services and products available.

Our website receives nearly 3 million visits each year, and our newsletter is sent to over 43,000 people. We are regular exhibitors at the Digestive Disease Week and American Dietetic Association conferences.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the message boards and this newsletter for companies and/or products that have been legitimately established as helpful for digestive disorders. Please contact us for information.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER - This email is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Any application of the recommendations in this email is at the reader's discretion. Heather Van Vorous and Heather & Company for IBS, LLC are not liable for any direct or indirect claim, loss or damage resulting from use of this email and/or any web site(s) linked to/from it. Readers should consult their own physicians concerning the recommendations in this email.
Heather's Tummy Care
80 S. Washington St, #304
Seattle, WA 98104 USA

© 2005 Heather Van Vorous, Heather's Tummy Care. All rights reserved. BBB Business Review