The simple benefits of tap water have often been described, but clear fluids can also assist with long-term medical conditions – including the uncomfortable situation of an increasing number of people – IBS. Water will certainly help ease the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or Irritable Bowel Disease) is a condition that impacts roughly two in every ten people in the UK, and almost 20% of the world’s population; statistics that have led to April being officially recognised as IBS Month. Obviously there are a range of prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies for IBS, but can a simple glass of water be every bit as impactful as anything that Big Pharma has to offer?
Fluids are particularly important to people that live with IBS, as so many different drinks can cause inflammation of the stomach and lead to those unwelcome symptoms of IBS – which can include cramps, bloating and changes to bowel movements. IBS sufferers are no strangers to unpleasant sensations such as diarrhoea or constipation, and water can go a long way to easing these problems.
Water is particularly important for people living with IBS for two reasons. Firstly, clear fluid can soothe any kind of turmoil that the human stomach finds itself in. Arguably even more importantly, however, water will also ensure that there is no aggravation of existing issues. Best of all, plain tap water is perfectly suitable to achieve all of these benefits – there’s no need to spend a small fortune on bottled spring water, unless you really want to.
We all need to drink with regularity to stay hydrated, but people with IBS need to select their fluids a little more carefully. Carbonated fizzy drinks, for example, can lead to gas and bloating, which in turn could lead to constipation. Caffeinated hot drinks and alcohol come with different challenges, leaving somebody with IBS at risk of diarrhoea thanks to the high acid content. Acid in the stomach can break down the lining of your tummy and increase the risk of painful symptoms.
Both of these conditions can be resolved with water. Anybody that experiences constipation will find that the regular intake of clear fluid eases their stomach and loosens their stools, allowing it to complete a path around the intestines and eventually making it considerably easier to relieve oneself when the time arrives.
Diarrhoea, meanwhile, can very quickly lead to dehydration and a whole host of further health concerns. Anybody living with IBS should drink a glass of water immediately following a diarrhoea attack to replace the fluids that were lost, and the same applies for any unwelcome cramping of the stomach and intestines.
Ultimately, the root cause for IBS symptoms can often be traced back to some kind of intolerance to a solid or liquid that has been consumed, or unwelcome bacteria (including parasites, tapeworms and yeast infections) finding their way into the gut. Water can be a pivotal way of preventing these issues from taking hold, either by offering a clear fluid that will not aggravate any kind of pre-existing condition or by flushing out unwelcome visitors to the stomach and preventing them from causing further harm.
Increasing the consumption of water will not single-handedly eliminate all of these concerns without some complementary changes to diet and lifestyle, but it’s a fantastic way to start and ensure that IBS does not impact any further on an active and healthy individual. If you live with the condition and find yourself regularly suffering from attacks and symptoms, consider upping your water intake. It could be considerably more impactful than any pill or potion that a pharmacy has for sale.