Healthy Living

Holistic Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Holistic Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Key Takeaways

  • Stress is one of the factors that trigger IBS flare-ups. In fact, statistics indicate that it’s a leading contributor.
  • Peppermint oil is widely used to manage IBS. Researchers claim that it reduces the abdominal pain as well as bloating associated with IBS.
  • Alternative therapies, particularly gut-directed hypnotherapy and acupuncture, can help. These have been clinically proven to relieve a patient of all IBS-related symptoms.

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be very embarrassing and make you uncomfortable. However, you can relieve them naturally.

Since doctors have not been able to come up with a sure cure for IBS, experts emphasize devising ways to live with it. Remember, if you have IBS, you shouldn’t be discouraged. You can manage the condition through dietary changes and stress relief strategies. For enhanced results, you can combine them with the following alternative therapies.

1: Manage your stress

Stress is one of the factors that trigger IBS flare-ups. In fact, statistics indicate that it’s a leading contributor. Therefore, you’re advised to learn how you can alleviate stress through meditation and yoga exercises. Pay keen attention to the air going in and out of your body. Ensure that you don’t let anxiety define your life. You can practice helpful yoga exercises on a daily basis for improved results.

It would be a good idea to keep track of stress by keeping a diary of your stress levels and the occurrence of IBS symptoms. Note the kinds of stress you have had recently. Note down what triggers stress as well as IBS flare-ups. Relieve and avoid stress by incorporating stress-busting strategies into your life. If this doesn’t work, go for counseling.

2: Go easy on your intestines

Go slow on fried foods, oils, margarine, fatty foods, and dairy foods. They can cause the colon to violently contract which can lead to diarrhea and acute abdominal pain. In addition, minimize or do away with spicy foods. For instance, chili peppers contain capsaicin which can make your intestines go into spasms, leading to diarrhea in the process.

Some beverages like those containing caffeine can cause IBS by irritating the intestines. You should also avoid foods that cause flatulence like broccoli and cabbage.

Avoid a lot of chewing gum as well as candy containing artificial sweeteners. Sweeteners such as sorbitol are known have a laxative effect and are very difficult to digest. When digestive bacteria in your stomach break down sugars that are not absorbed, a lot of gas is produced and diarrhea can ensue.

Don’t smoke. The nicotine in cigarettes contributes to IBS flare-ups.

3: Fluids and eating habits

Physicians recommend that it is good to keep liquids in and while having your meal at a minimum. They also strongly recommend chewing food thoroughly. Naturally, saliva is added to food as the food is chewed, and the enzymes in your saliva aid in breaking the 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. In addition, it’s believed that fluids play an important role in diluting stomach acids, rendering digestion less efficient. 
Fiber is also widely-recommended as it absorbs liquid in your intestines and bulks up stool, helping you avoid diarrhea. Howvever, too much fiber all at once can also give you gas and make cramping worse, so start off with 8g. a day, and gradually increase by 3-4g per day until you reach 30g. It is also important to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to allow the fiber to move smoothly through your intestines. 

4: Enteric-coated peppermint

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

So far, research indicates that this herb can ease IBS symptoms. However, you need to consult a doctor before using the herb because it has some side effects. For instance, if it’s not taken in the form of enteric capsules, it can result in heartburn.

5: Therapies : Alternative therapies, particularly gut-directed hypnotherapy and acupuncture, can help. These have been clinically proven to relieve a patient of all IBS-related symptoms. Hypnotherapy is done through hypnosis as the word suggests. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for IBS. Hypnotherapy involves progressive relaxation, and then suggestions, accompanied by soothing imagery, sounds, and sensations, are directed at the individual's symptoms. This therapy has yielded in IBS sufferers actual improvement in their overall well-being, quality of life, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. It also helps relieve other symptoms suffered by many people with IBS such as nausea, fatigue, backache, and urinary problems.

Acupuncture is one of the ancient forms of traditional Chinese healing art. This cannot be done by oneself on the body. This requires professional help. Only a trained person can do it right. In acupuncture, a trained person balances the patient’s body’s chi (energy or life force) by stimulating areas (acupuncture points) along the primary meridians, or channels, through which chi flows. These meridians run deep within the body and regulate all physical and mental processes, surfacing at the various acupoints.

6: Oil and supplements: Oil supplements help calm the gut, and probiotics restore the balance of good bacteria in the digestive system. Evening primrose oil, borage oil, fish oil, and 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 very beneficial to women who experience pain, discomfort, and bloating before during their menstrual periods.

7: Exercise: Avoid sitting in one place for long hours. Also, avoid taking naps during daytime. Exercise is likely to help you deal with IBS. It can help you lose weight. Exercise at least 4-5 days a week and get your heart pumping. You can also consider doing yoga, relaxation, and breathing exercises which help you tackle stress. If you are unable to do everything all by yourself or are having trouble deciding which exercise is most suitable, then you could seek the help of a physical therapist.

8: Address emotional challenges: Last but certainly not least, it is seen that people with IBS have an unresolved emotional issue that directly affects their physical well-being. It is but natural to feel emotionally low when you have to deal with IBS. It puts you in discomfort most of the time, greatly hampering your social life. This is one of the reasons why antidepressants are prescribed by doctors. Meditation, prayer, and psychological techniques and tools are all strategies you can use to effectively address your emotional challenges.

 

A Reminder

If you are considering any form of natural remedy or alternative medicine, ensure that you consult a professional physician. If you resort to self-treating IBS, avoiding treatment or delaying standard care is dangerous. It might result in dire consequences. Make your health your priority.