Irritable Bowel Syndrome/walking

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Question
Dr.
Is there any evidence that walking can relieve IBS, or that those who walk a lot have less IBS?
My symptoms (bloating, nausea) have worsened in the past few years but I assumed it was age (55).
I am doing better now that I am excluding red meat.
Yesterday after a big supper which included some meatloaf my daughter made so I had to have a slice knowing the consequences, I had to get off the couch to relieve the gas and discomfort so I went for a walk.
I felt a lot of relief but had to cut the walk short to get back home to use the bathroom.
This made me remember a few years back to when I did walk a lot as part of my job and my IBS wasny as bad. My present job as a driver is quite sedentary but I do stretch.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Answer
Hi Bud! Yes there is some evidence of exercise benefit in IBS. There was a paper by Lustyk et al (Gastroenterol Nurs.  2001 May-Jun;24(3):129-37) that showed reduced fatigue in those who exercise with IBS and also a reduced feeling of incomplete evacuation. Exercise has always been advocated as a way of dealing with IBS symptoms as well as other IBS lifestyle adaptations and you can read more about this on my web site, IBS Help Online.  

However, too much exercise can also increased diarrhea and is commonly seen in long distance athletes. However, for most of us this isnít an issue. This can also help in Constipation-predominant IBS.

Exercise is good for many conditions as well as a form of secondary prevention for conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke and cancer so I would always recommend it!

Cheers

Peter

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Dr Peter Thatcher MBBS, MRCPI. IBS Physician & Gastroenterologist

Expertise

I can answer questions on all aspects of IBS or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Medicine and Gastroenterology. This would include aspects of diagnosis, investigation and management of IBS and other gastroenterology or medical conditions.

Experience

I am a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist in the United Kingdom. I qualified as a physician in 1993 and have been practicing Medicine and Gastroenterology ever since. I regularly run gastroenterology clinics and 1:4 patients have IBS. I am also the web master of IBS Help Online, an Irritable Bowel Syndrome help site.

Organizations
British Society of Gastroenterology Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall. UK

Education/Credentials
Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Fully UK Trained Medical Degree at Kings College School of Medicine & Dentistry 1993 Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Examinations 1997

Awards and Honors
MBBS 1993 MRCPI 1997

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