A diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome means that you have a chronic disorder of the large intestine. Symptoms of IBS might be abdominal pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and cramping – all of which can seriously disrupt your lifestyle.
These symptoms can also occur as a result of many other conditions, ranging from mild to dangerous. A specific diagnosis of IBS allows a patient to more specifically avoid the causes and choose effective remedies. It can also be very reassuring to know that the symptoms are not signs of a far more serious ailment.
Although troubling and inconvenient, IBS doesn’t increase your chances of colorectal cancer or damage your bowel tissue like Crohn’s disease and other colon issues. Also, you can learn to manage and reduce the symptoms by making changes to your diet and reducing stress in your life.
There isn’t a single known cause for IBS, but there are several factors which may put you more at risk. A healthy intestine has muscles which move in a relaxed rhythm when food moves from the stomach through the intestinal tract and out of the rectum.
When a person has irritable bowel syndrome, the rhythm is uncoordinated and the contractions of the intestine may be more pronounced causing diarrhea, gas and bloating. The opposite may also occur and the process of moving food through the intestine may be slow and lead to hard and sometimes painful stools.
Try These Natural Remedies
If you have been diagnosed with IBS, you may want to try the following natural methods to reduce the symptoms:
- Probiotics – You’ll find probiotics (live bacteria) in fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir or in supplements. Some trials indicate that probiotics may help lessen IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain.
- Fiber – Fiber found in such foods as fruits, vegetable and whole grains are full of nutrients and vitamins and may make a difference in reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Prebiotics – There are conflicting results for the non-digestible carbohydrates known as prebiotics. Their job is to make sure the good bacteria in your digestive system is fed. Onions, garlic, raw asparagus and bananas can help the microflora in your intestines stay healthy.
- Peppermint Oil – Pain resulting from IBS seems to be alleviated by this herbal remedy. It is an anti-spasmodic that can be especially effective in lessening the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Digestive Enzymes – Supplements of digestive enzymes may be helpful, especially if your main symptom is diarrhea.
The above dietary inclusions can help reduce the intensity of symptoms, and over time reduce the frequency of incidences of IBS. There are also dietary exclusions and lifestyle changes that will prove effective in reducing and even preventing IBS experiences. Instead of tolerating or only treating the symptoms, try the following to free yourself from IBS altogether.
- Lower the stress level in your life.
- Eliminate foods such as carbonated drinks, raw fruits and some vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower.
- Adopt a gluten-free diet. This dietary change may help eliminate diarrhea symptoms.
- Eliminate fermentable oligo-di-, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) from your diet that are present in various grains, dairy and vegetables.
- Carbohydrates such as lactose, fructose and fructans may also contain FODMAPs.
- Get enough sleep.
Compared to prescription medications for IBS, herbal remedies have fewer side effects and are safer for long-term use. If the symptoms of IBS persist after seriously implementing diet and lifestyle changes, seek another diagnosis, to make sure you don’t have a more serious condition.