Constipation – Prevention and How to Handle It

posted by Dave Leman on October 2, 2013

Constipation

There isn’t a rule on how often you need to have bowel movements to be considered “regular.”  However, constipation can be defined as a decrease in your usual number of bowel movements. Perhaps you normally go once a day and out of nowhere you are now only going once a week. You might want to consider these simple tips on how to handle your constipation once it has hit. You’ll also want to follow these tips to prevent constipation.

  • Drink a lot of water! Drinking more water than usual will help soften the stool to relieve your constipation. Watch out for drinking caffeine and dairy products, such as milk, as those tend to be constipating to some individuals.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to your diet, along with prunes/prune juice and high fiber foods (such as whole-grain bread). These foods simply help the colon pass stool which is what your body is in need of.
  • Include regular exercise in your everyday routine – exercise decreases the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, which in turn limits the amount of water absorbed from the stool into the body. Try aerobic exercises which help stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles.
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar, fried foods, frozen meals, as well as too much white rice, bread, hard boiled eggs and cheese. Simply cutting down on these foods if you’re having trouble with your bowel movements should help avoid being constipated or that may alleviate your current symptoms.
  • It may not seem like an easy preventative measure but simply scheduling time each day for a bowel movement will keep you on track for healthy bowel movements meaning no constipation!
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about being constipated. If you can’t make the constipation go away schedule an appointment with your doctor so they can help you right away. The longer you wait the more painful it can get.

Keep track of how much water and fiber you are consuming along with how often you are exercising so that you can make sure you are getting/doing enough of it to steer clear of constipation. Living a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle will only help keep your constipation frustrations and pains away.

If you suffer from constipation and are interested in a clinical research study for constipation, visit our current studies page for more information and to sign up.

Incorporating Behavioral Therapy to Help Cope with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

posted by Dave Leman on October 1, 2013

Relaxation

As if having Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) isn’t tough enough, triggering it with stress and anxiety is known to worsen your symptoms and can push you overboard.

One line of attack to cope with these feelings is behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy can be a very helpful tool, in helping anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations. It helps people learn how to better cope with discomfort, resulting in walling off severe IBS symptoms. It is simply used to replace bad habits with good ones. Here are some different types of behavioral therapy techniques that you could try to incorporate into your routine:

1.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – a form of psychotherapy that helps you become aware of negative thinking, so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. Think “problem focused” and “action oriented”.
2.  Relaxation Therapy – a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body. This includes meditation, deep breathing, improving concentration, muscle relaxation etc. All of these techniques put your body in a blissful state of mind.
3.  Hypnotherapy – using hypnosis to teach people how to master their own states of awareness. This allows people to control their own bodily functions and psychological responses.
4.  Biofeedback – technique used to learn to control your body’s daily functions such as your heart rate. It gives you the power to use your thoughts to control your body through the use of an electrical device, which enables people to recognize their body’s response to stress.

To get the most out of utilizing these different techniques, pair them with other positive coping methods such as going for a jog or a run, getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, and staying in touch with family members and friends on how you are doing.

If you are interested in learning more about clinical research studies for IBS, visit our current studies page and we’ll contact you to discuss further.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C) – How to Treat It

posted by Dave Leman on

Fiber

One of the most common symptoms associated with IBS is constipation which comes along with abdominal pain and discomfort. The main treatment for this is the relief of those symptoms so you can go on with your life – pain free.

Making little changes to your diet and lifestyle, and learning to manage your stress, can help ease your symptoms. However, if you experience more severe symptoms that simply will not go away, you may want to consider a few of these tips:

1.  Eliminate high-gas foods – if you have had constant gas and bloating you may want to avoid salads, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, soda (or any carbonated beverage), and raw fruits.
2.  Take a fiber supplement – supplements such as Citrucel® or Metamucil® when taken with fluids, may help control your constipation.
3.  Try stimulant laxatives – these cause the muscles in your colon to contract and relieve your constipation. You can get these over-the-counter to relive your occasional symptoms.
4.  Or try osmotic laxatives – these draw water into the colon to make the stool softer. You can also purchase these over-the-counter and also by prescription and are used for occasional and chronic constipation.
5.  Incorporate probiotics – these may support the growth of good bacteria in the intestinal tract, meaning less flare-ups of your symptoms. An example of this would be the yogurt brand called Activia®.

Treatment of IBS-C is different for everyone. These generic treatments mentioned above may help cure more mild cases. If your symptoms seem to persist, see your doctor for a more targeted plan of attack.

If you are interested in learning more about clinical research studies for IBS-C, visit our current studies page and we’ll contact you to discuss further.

Probiotics – Health Benefits and How Much to Take

posted by Dave Leman on

Probiotics Picture

There are few drugs created exclusively for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms, which include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation. But there are probiotics. Probiotics which mean “for life” are supplements that contain selected strains of friendly bacteria that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition such as decreasing the inflammation in your gut due to IBS.

What Do Probiotics Do?
Probiotics improve the intestinal function and maintain the integrity of the lining of the intestines which can become damaged due to intestinal problems. Probiotics help our bodies fight the “bad” bacteria. They simply alleviate intestinal disorders such as IBS, and they help to prevent infection by fighting off bacteria that causes diarrhea.

Probiotics and the Immune System
Probiotics help maintain a strong immune system, even in healthy individuals. Often times ones’ immune system isn’t being properly challenged by pathogenic organisms, but by introducing the friendly bacteria in the form of probiotics, the immune system gets challenged in healthy ways. They simply fight off the bad bacteria and keep people from catching a cold or getting sick.

Where Probiotics Can Be Found
You can find probiotics in cultured dairy products, such as kefir, yogurt and cheese. It can also be found in spices, tea, red wine, berries, apples and beans. Dannon’s Activia is a good choice and is considered the “new generation” of yogurts that has a probiotic culture. You can also find probiotic supplements such as TruBiotics, Nature Made, Puritan’s Pride and much more, at local drug stores.

How Much Do I Take?
When taking probiotics to relieve your IBS symptoms, these probiotics need to be taken in sufficient amounts in order to truly benefit your health. Take probiotics consistently without any down time. An average amount is generally 2-10 billion CFU (Colony Forming Units). So keep that in mind next time you go to purchase your probiotics!

If you are suffering from IBS and are interested in a clinical research study, send us your info and we’ll be in touch with a research study that you may qualify for!

Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D) and the Food You Eat

posted by Dave Leman on

Water Picture

A balanced diet that includes fruits and veggies are key to streamlining your digestive tract. So when you’re suffering from IBD-D, it’s more important than ever to feed your body the right stuff. Here are three tips that can help keep your body running at optimal conditions.

Water – Drink It!
First and foremost, make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Six to eight 8-ounce glasses of plain water each day is important to keeping your body hydrates and running at a prime condition. If you are confused on exactly what 8-ounces is, just think of it as six to eight 1 cup measuring cups. See, you can do that!

Journaling
You may notice that certain foods make you react in different ways. Keep a journal of your food and make notes on which don’t sit quite right, as well as the time you are eating. Foods like milk, chocolate, and fried foods are known to cause symptoms. Knowing that triggers may not only be food, but also the time of day you eat, is important to getting in touch with your body so you can avoid those triggers. Write it down, make notes of what works and what doesn’t – you might surprise yourself.

The Right Fiber
Don’t avoid fiber completely if you suffer from IBS-D. There are certain fibers that can actually help your body protect itself from heart disease and cancer. Focus on eating soluble fiber – this is the fiber that stays in your digestive tract for a longer period of time and adds bulk which can help your colon work even better than before. Soluble fiber can be found in foods like peas, brown rice, and oats.

If you are suffering from IBS-D and are interested in a clinical research study, send us your info and we’ll be in touch with a research study that you may qualify for!

What are Clinical Studies?

posted by Dave Leman on September 30, 2013

Clinical_research_LG

Here at Hometown Research, we live and breathe clinical research every day. We want to make sure that you are up to speed on what clinical research studies are, how they can help you, and where to go for more information.

A clinical trial is a set of procedures conducted in medical research and drug development to make sure a new drug or device is safe and effective for a particular condition. These are the steps followed before the FDA will approve the new drug or device.

Participation in clinical trials allows access to medications and medical treatments that are not yet available to the general public. If you are going through treatment for a condition and are not satisfied with the results, a clinical trial might be a good option for you. Generally, the medication and examinations are provided at no cost and you may be reimbursed for your time and travel expenses.

Each clinical trial is unique. The physician conducting the clinical trial will be able to give you more detail on how many visits will be required, what you’ll need to do at home, etc. during the initial consultation. It is important that you know as much about the trial as you can. Plan ahead and prepare a list of questions to ask in order to feel comfortable about participating in the clinical trial. Tests, exams, and follow up are very common procedures done throughout a clinical trial to ensure the safety of participants.

Benefits:

• Gain access to advanced medical care, new medications, and treatments not yet available to the general public
• Play an active role in your own health care
• Help others by contributing to medical research
• Get reimbursed for your time and expenses (available for some clinical trials)

Risks:

• Side effects can potentially be unpleasant and in some cases serious
• The treatment or medication may not prove to be effective
• The clinical trial may require a significant amount of time

To learn more about clinical research, visit CISCRP (The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research participation.

To learn more information about clinical studies going on at Hometown Research, contact us to let us know what diseases you are interested in. We’ll then notify you when a study becomes available!