Who would have guessed last year that we would be the witnesses of a global pandemic?
That the entire world would be shaken and turned upside down, that our daily lives would completely change – for the worse (and also for the best also some aspects), that we would be forced to go out with masks, that the future, our future, will be one of the most uncertain thing that we’ll have to deal with. 2020, you will be remembered!
If you suffer from IBS (Inflammatory bowel syndrome), health and well-being are probably topics that you care about and so far, little has been written about IBS and COVID-19.
In this article we will try to shed light and give you some insights on the subject.
Is there a connection between IBS & COVID-19?:
Since last winter, Coronavirus is growing exponentially throughout our planet at what we can call,
a rapid pace, bringing with it a heightened sense of fear, uncertainty and anxiety.
We are aware by now, that fever, dry cough, chest pain, intense fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of taste & smell are amongst the most common symptoms of the Coronavirus.
What is interesting to look at is that, up to 40% of the diagnosed with COVID-19 patients can manifest Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms during this viral illness.
The GI symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite or anorexia, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, belching and/or heartburn – sounds familiar, right?
Most of the gathered information on the subject comes from China and more recently, studies from Europe and the USA are also reporting GI symptoms among COVID-19 patients.
Interestingly, in some patients, the GI symptoms can be present even before fever or respiratory symptoms, while in other patients, the symptoms may be present during the clinical progression of the disease or even be the only manifestation of the viral infection.
Therefore, healthcare providers need to be aware of this possibility, especially in patients consulting for novel GI symptoms.
Why COVID-19 patients present GI symptoms?
The actual name of the virus that is responsible for the pandemic of Coronavirus is:
SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2).
To infect human beings, this virus requires the presence of a cell receptor called the angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 receptor.
This receptor is mainly located in the alveolar type II cells of the lungs as a result, the main source of human-to-human infection is the transmission of the virus via airways.
These receptors are mostly located in the tongue, oral mucosa, esophagus, the terminal part of the small bowel (ileum), the colon, and biliary tree (digestive tract), as well as in other organs such as the heart, kidney and urinary tract.
Therefore, it is possible that the infection can be acquired through the digestive tract and as a consequence, a possible fecal-oral transmission has been suggested.
In fact, the viral genetic particles have been detected in the feces.
Some reports have informed of viral shedding in the stools for longer periods of time, even when the nasopharyngeal swabs have been negative.
Notwithstanding, stool diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is not used in clinical practice at the moment.
Tips to take care of your guts during COVID-19:
Meditation & Mindfulness:
Meditation has been used for thousands of years in the East.
This simple yet very effective technique is here to help you calm the mind.
The aim is to non-judgmentally focus on the present moment, letting go of the past and the future.
Find a comfortable position, sitting with your spine straight or laying down and breath deeply from your abdomen.
Inspire for a count of 5 from the abdomen, block for a count of 5 then release slowly through your mouth also for a count of 5.
Abdominal pain and bloating are common for people who suffer from IBS.
Rubbing and massaging your abdomen can relieve some of the pressure caused by the gases and reduce pain.
Lie down on your back and rub in small circular motions.
Starting with the area near your pelvis on the right side and moving your way up the abdomen until you reach the bottom of your ribs, across and then down to your left side.
At least for 10 minutes or as long as you need.
Drinking Herbal Tea:
The process of preparing and drinking tea is a great form of relaxation itself.
as well as increasing fluid intake to avoid dehydration.
Peppermint, Ginger, Lemon or Rooibos are delicious Low-FODMAP teas you can enjoy with no worries about symptoms.