Today we tackle a problem that affects over 60 million people, or 20% of Americans. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or spastic colon receives very little discussion and often your doctor will tell you it’s all in your head. Nothing more frustrating if you ask me and therefore a lot of people who are confronted with IBS just try to live with the discomforts.

Symptoms of IBS include bloating, gas, cramps, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, mucus covered stool, and abnormal bowel movement. Doctors often prescribe sedatives, anti-spasm drugs or even antidepressants to relieve the symptoms. But this is no long term answer to the problem.

Those treatments will only treat the symptoms but the underlying causes are left untreated and you’re doomed to take those medicine forever. Although the exact cause of IBS is unknown, anxiety, depression, nervousness, stress, food-intolerance, changes in your diet or hormone levels can all trigger IBS.

As symptoms tend to come and go, having a bathroom close by is a must for most people suffering IBS. Luckily there’re alternative therapies to help you control your symptoms and fight the underlying foe who’s preventing you to enjoy time outside of your house to the fullest. There ARE natural remedies for IBS!

Unlike the more serious intestinal disorder such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, IBS will not cause inflammation or damage to the bowel tissue. It is an unknown change in bowel function that can be controlled through your diet, lifestyle and stress reliever.

 

Natural Remedies for IBS

 

1.      Avoid Gluten In Your Diet

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains such as barley, rye, and spelt. Gluten-intolerance often triggers IBS. But the symptoms can be caused by many other food allergies as well. You should see significant improvements after 1 to 2 weeks going without gluten in your diet. If the symptoms do not disappear you may be sensitive to other food sources. Trial and error is the best way to determine which foods are causing the issues.

FYI: oats are naturally gluten-free but often contaminated with gluten because they are grown or processed in the same facilities or locations that process or grown wheat, rye, and barley. make sure the bag note certified gluten-free!

 

2.      Fiber Up Your Diet

Not all fibers are created equally. There are 2 types, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers have the ability to absorb water and prevent diarrhea. Beans, oats, apples, and strawberries are all good examples of soluble fibers. Insoluble fibers, such as whole grains or salad greens, are great if your main complaint is constipation. They bulk up the stool and speed up the passage through the intestines.

But take note, if your regular diet lacks fiber, increase the intake gradually or it can give you gas and cause bloating. Also, drink enough water to keep the fiber moving smoothly.

Psyllium is a fiber supplement which is safe to take and will help you to increase your fiber intake. But be careful, always opt for organic as most sources on the market are not and the pesticide residues will do more harm than good. Ground whole, organic flax seed or chia seeds are another great option for you to try. Take a few tablespoons a day to fiber up your diet.

ALSO READ: Recommended Daily Fiber Intake: The Lowdown 

 

3.      Healthy Lifestyle

Avoid fried foods, meats, oils, margarine, and other foods with a high-fat content. Fats may cause your colon to contract heavenly, causing diarrhea and pain. Same can be said of spicy food, the capsaicin in hot peppers may cause spasms and diarrhea. Alcohol and caffeine are best avoided as they may worsen IBS and may irritate your colon. Drink herbal tea instead

 

Scroll down for more natural remedies for IBS.

 

4.      Eat Small portions

Eating more small portions instead of big meals will avoid over-stimulation. And don’t forget to take your time to eat. People who eat fast, take in more air and are more likely to overeat.

 

5.      Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil capsules work antispasmodic. It can help you to relieve abdominal pain and bloating. Peppermint oil works as a muscle relaxant and will help you to relieve pain, cramps, and spasms. Opt for ‘enteric coated’ capsules. The special coating will prevent them to dissolve in your stomach and they will reach your intestines to do their good work.

 

6.      Probiotics

Keep your intestines loaded with good bacteria. Diarrhea flushes out the good bacteria which help your body to fight the bad ones. So eating plenty probiotic yogurt is a must when suffering from diarrhea. Avoid large amounts of sugar and processed foods in your diet as they support the growth of those bad bacteria.

ALSO READ: Probiotics 101

 

7.      Destress Your Lifestyle

Many people who suffer from IBS have unresolved emotional issues. Therefore anti-depressants are often prescribed. But they will only take away your symptoms and will not cure your actual problem. There are many natural ways to learn how to cope with the stresses life is throwing at you. Meditation, yoga, massage therapy, hypnotherapy or simple breathing exercises can help you to reframe and distress your lifestyle.

Exercise regularly, this will help you to relieve stress, relieves endorphins (the natural painkillers), and will keep your body, including your digestive system, working smoothly.

ALSO READ: 5 Easy Breathing Techniques to De-stress Your Lifestyle Within A Few Minutes Each Day  

 

8.      Acupuncture

Although there is no scientific evidence, acupuncture may help you to restore imbalances within your body and may be worth a try.

 

If irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that you or someone in your family struggles with, following these tips and recommendations can help you, and your family, to take control of your health and enjoy the upcoming holidays.

 

Are you or someone in your family struggling with IBS? What are your natural treatments? Please share your thoughts and remedies with us in the comment box below.

 

Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!

 

 

Amy Goodrich

Amy Goodrich

 

Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.

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