IBS Natural Treatment
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|There are many remedies to treat irritable bowel syndrome naturally. However what works for one person may not work for another. It is a matter of trial and error, seeing what works for you. Treatment options include:
Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM)
CAM has become hugely popular in America in the last 15 years. In 1999 $25 billion was spent by Americans on CAM natural remedies. According to the U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) approximately 4 in 10 adults used some form of natural therapy in 2007 and about 1 in 12 children. Statistics show that CAM patients tend to be higher than average income earners, more intelligent and understand how preventative car and self-healing fits into an overall treatment plan. CAM therapies most popular for the treatment of IBS includes:
• Chinese Medicine
CAM Approach To Diet
CAM therapists agree that food intolerances play a large role in some IBS patients. In these people dramatic improvements are reported by following an elimination diet. The most common offender is usually dairy products including milk, yogurt, cheese, ice-cream and cream. The presence of yeast in the intestinal tract may also be a problem so some patients benefit by following a yeast infection diet plan. Another option is to follow an IBS diet plan to discover your personal trigger foods and heal your digestive tract. Others may be susceptible to artificial sweeteners and MSG. For those still seeking a diagnosis, it may be worth keeping an IBS food diary for a few weeks, along with your diet. See also our free IBS recipes section and books on alternative medicine for more resources.
Ideally most people should obtain all the vitamins and minerals they need from the food they eat. In reality this rarely happens. The following vitamins are particularly important for those with IBS:
Vitamin B Complex: Vitamin B deficiencies can result in diarrhea as it is important for the digestion of carbohydrates, protein and fats. In particular the most important B-vitamins are B-6, B-12 and folic acid. Vitamin B-6 should be taken in a daily dosage of 50 to 100 milligrams a day. Vitamin B-12 is variable, between 100 to 500 micrograms. Folic acid, between 400 and 800 micrograms a day.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is a strong antioxidant and a typical dosage range is between 500 to 2,000 milligrams a day. IBS patients need to test their tolerance level - too much can lead to loose stools, gas and cramps. To test a tolerance level, increase the dosage by 500 milligrams a day until symptoms appear or worsen. Then reduce by 500 milligrams until symptoms disappear. That is your tolerance level.
Vitamin E: Important for keeping the lining of the intestinal tract healthy. It also plays an important role in digestion and the absorption of fats. A deficiency can lead to IBS symptoms, such as cramps. Recommend 400 IU a day.
Zinc: Helps the body to produce stomach acid - important if you are low in stomach acid. Recommend 15 mg a day.
Peppermint oil is one of the best researched herbs for the treatment of IBS. Ingested in the form of an enteric coated capsule it bypasses the stomach and when it reaches the small intestines acts to soothe muscles and relieve cramps. Peppermint tea is also effective for milder cramps. See also dealing with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Fennel oil and fennel tea are also popular. However it should be avoided by people who are allergic to carrot, celery or mugworth - they all belong to the Apiaceae family of plants.
Drinking a 20 ml glass of Aloe Vera juice helps some people increase stool bulk, enhances digestion and eases IBS discomfort.
Cat’s Claw: Derived from the bark of a tree which grows in Peru, this herb is used for cleaning the intestines of yeast and microorganisms. It can be taken in 60 mg capsules 3 times a day. Alternatively boil one gram of bark in a cup of water for 15 minutes and drink as tea.
Ginger Root: Traditional remedy for treating an upset stomach (particularly popular with pregnant women suffering morning sickness).
If you have diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, gall bladder disease or take an anticoagulant, do not take herbal remedies without consulting your doctor first. See also IBS treatment, for medications, diet and drugs.
Digestive Enzymes: Flatulence caused by beans and peas can be reduced by taking an over the counter remedy called BEANO. It works by metabolizing the sugar in the peas and beans, reducing the amount of gas produced.
Flaxseeds are beneficial for those with constipation and diarrhea. Take 1 to 3 tablespoons a day in a breakfast cereal or on a salad. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber which stimulate gentle bowel movement while providing stool bulk. See also laxative supplements.
Leaky gut syndrome is a problem for many with IBS, which means nutrients are not absorbed very well. To counteract, mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drink with each meal. Avoid this remedy however if stomach ulcers are suspected.
Some patients find relief in probiotics, live bacteria taken in capsule or powder form. The two bacteria which appear to relieve symptoms of tummy bloating and gas are bacillus infantis (Align) and lactobacillus plantarum (Culturelle).
Lifestyle changes can be helpful including taking regular exercise and ensuring time is made for plenty of sleep.
IBS patients can particularly benefit from adding more exercise to their daily routine. It helps to reduce stress (an important trigger, see stress and IBS) because stress hormones tend to dissipate during times of physical activity. Exercise also helps to keep the digestive system moving efficiently, decreasing the likelihood of constipation. See also IBS Causes.
Consider adding a water filter to your kitchen tap to make the water more alkaline. Alkaline water helps the gut heal more efficiently. The purer the water, the better it is for your system. Tap water may be biologically safe but people with IBS often react to the chlorine in it.
|Related Articles on Treating IBS Naturally
For more issues related to the digestive tract, see the following:
• Recommended health screenings for women.
Back To Homepage: Womens Health Advice
WOMENS HEALTH ADVICE: ABOUT IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME