Healthy Living

Alternative Treatments for IBS

Alternative Treatments for IBSc

When conventional medical treatments are not successful or yield unfavorable side effects, most people opt for alternative therapies. Many complementary modalities are available and can be categorized as herbal, movement, mind-body and somatic therapies.

However, before using any supplements, be sure to consult your doctor or any other medical provider. More so when you’re under any other medications, are pregnant, or are preparing for an operation.

Herbal treatments

Herbal treatments have proven to be quite effective. It has worked perfectly for several disorders. Traditional Chinese medicine combines an array of herbal therapies which utilize specific herbal formulas dependent on the patient’s pattern of signs and symptoms. Due to this, several formulas for the IBS disorder are existent.

Individual herbs are used to treat specific gastrointestinal symptoms. For IBS, peppermint oil capsules are far more efficient. It’s thought to work by suppressing muscle spasms present in the gastrointestinal tract. Several studies have suggested that it’s better than placebo in decreasing abdominal disturbances, cramping, and bloating. Unfortunately, peppermint oil usually leads to heartburns, thus it should be administered with caution.

Although herbs are readily accessible with no need for a prescription, clear drug interaction details and safety information are not available in many herbal therapies. If you’re planning to take any herbs, ensure that you inform your doctor about it.


The basic theory regarding acupuncture is that several energy channels, referred to as meridians, are available in the human body. When an individual is well, there is free flow of energy through these channels. But with IBS, the normal energy flow is interfered, leading to severe symptoms. Acupuncture liberates the energy and redirects its flow.

Many IBS patients rely on acupuncture in reliving abdominal pain, nausea, as well as bloating. It’s generally safe when performed by professional acupuncturists and may be beneficial to those people who are oversensitive and intolerant to herbal syrups. For critical conditions, acupuncturists may combine acupuncture with herbal therapy.

Intestinal flora adjustment

Probiotics are useful organisms that assist in the balancing of intestinal bacteria. They’re readily available in many foods, and they contain valuable bacteria like lactobacillus, which facilitates quicker and regular digestion. This significantly improves IBS symptoms, including diarrhea and constipation.


Hypnotherapy has been confirmed to be more efficient for IBS in multiple clinic trials. This form of treatment entails progressive relaxations, soothing imagery, and stimulated sensations based on the patient’s symptoms.

Hypnosis results in reduced constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, and improved quality of life.

One of the difficulties with hypnosis is that it is very dependent on the therapist, and it may be difficult to find a therapist both trained in hypnosis and knowledgeable about functional gastrointestinal disorders. 

Movement and meditation treatment

Some cases of IBS are practical to be treated with detailed movement therapies like yoga and tai chi. Relaxation and meditation aid in reducing abdominal pains, cramping, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence. These therapies are extremely attractive since they don’t have any physical side effects and could immensely help in improving other external symptoms, as well as reducing physiological stresses.

Fluids and eating habits

Physicians recommend that it is good to keep fluids in your meal at a minimum. They also strongly recommend chewing foods thoroughly. Naturally, when food is chewed, it comes in contact with saliva which aids in breaking food down. This plays a crucial role in setting the rest of the digestive system in motion. This means that the habit of washing down food with either water or other beverages is very counter-productive. Also, it’s believed that fluids play an important role in diluting the stomach acids, rendering digestion less efficient.

Enteric-coated peppermint

Peppermint oil is widely used to manage IBS. Researchers claim that it reduces the abdominal pain as well as bloating of IBS. Considered as a carminative herb, peppermint can be used to eliminate excess gas in human intestines.

So far, research indicates that this herb can ease IBS symptoms. However, you need to consult your doctor before using the herb because it may have some side effects. For instance, if it’s not used as enteric capsules, it can result in heartburn.

Oil and supplements

Oil supplements help calm down the gut, and probiotics restore the good balance of bacteria in the digestive system. Evening primrose oil, borage oil, fish oil, or probiotics are a few of them. Evening primrose oil comes from the seed of a small yellow wildflower, and borage oil comes from the seed of a common weed. Both the supplements are similar in nature. Evening primrose oil is said to be more beneficial to women who experience more pain, discomfort, and bloating during their menstrual cycle.

Slippery elm has a long term history, especially in Native America, as a remedy for a variety of health conditions. Regarding digestive health, slippery elm is thought to calm irritation by coating the lining of the intestinal system. Slippery elm's effect on the stool illustrates why it is seen as helpful regardless of one’s predominant IBS symptoms. By adding bulk to the stool, it is thought to ease diarrhea. Slippery elm also softens the stool, thus helping ease constipation.


Avoid sitting at one place for long hours. Also, avoid taking naps during day time. Exercise is likely to help you deal with IBS. It can help you lose weight. Exercise at least 4-5 days a week, preferable one that gets your heart pumping. You can also consider doing yoga and relaxation and breathing exercises which help you manage stress. If you are unable to do it all by yourself or have trouble deciding which exercise is most suitable, then you could take the help of a physical therapist.

Alternative treatments for IBS provide an amazing opportunity for patients who experience difficulties in managing their chronic disorders.  Extensive research into the efficacy of alternative therapies on gastrointestinal disorders is being done, and reliable recommendations will be made. It’s vital that professional practitioners, gastroenterologists, and primary care physicians combine efforts with their patients in order to evaluate suitable treatment options or combinations.

Remember, alternative treatments should only be used alongside the doctor’s guidelines. Don’t prescribe it for yourself, it is dangerous.