I ran across an article by Elizabeth Bowers on the Everyday Health website. One of the doctors quoted in the article, Dr. Michael Wald, suggests that inflammation may be the link between the two conditions.
“WHEN BOTH IBS AND RLS STRIKE“ by Elizabeth Shimer Bowers, Everyday Health, July 26, 2013. Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
WHY THESE TWO DISORDERS CO-EXIST
“There is a strong relationship between restless legs syndrome and IBS,” says Michael Wald, ND, MS, CDN, director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “In fact, when an individual has RLS along with IBS, it predicts more severe intestinal pain.”
One reason is, put simply, tension. “If you have tension in your legs affecting the nerves and muscles causing restless legs syndrome symptoms, you can have similar tension in your gut affecting the muscles and nerves there, leading to IBS,” Dr. Dean said.
Inflammation in the body may also be to blame. “A person may be affected by both conditions because the inflammatory process is a wide-body process — inflammatory chemicals literally circulate within the legs and the intestinal tract,” Dr. Wald said.
1. Squelch stress.
Stress is a risk factor for restless legs syndrome. It’s also thought to be one of the biggest contributors to IBS. So, reducing stress can help combat both conditions, Wald said. You might try relaxation techniques, such as meditation; counseling; attending support groups; physical activity such as walking or yoga; and getting enough sleep.
2. Improve your nutritional profile.
The irritation and inflammation in the gut caused by IBS can translate to poor absorption of nutrients,” Dean said. Supplements that may help treat both IBS and restless legs syndrome include melatonin, 5-HTP (5-hydroxy tryptophane), and magnesium. Discuss these options with your health care professional.
3. Eliminate irritants.
With both IBS and the sleep disorder restless legs syndrome, certain food and drink may aggravate symptoms. “For restless legs syndrome, eliminating caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and colas is essential,” Wald said. Cutting out these beverages may also help symptoms of IBS, he added. Also restrict foods that produce excess gas, such as beans and cruciferous vegetables.
Everyday Health Media http://www.everydayhealth.com/ibs/when-both-ibs-and-rls-strike.aspx