If you are one of the 15% of people, suffering from it, you would surely know that Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, is a disorder causing abdominal pain and frequent visits to the toilet. IBS can really exhaust a person, but you don’t need to discourage, there is help.
Just like me, some IBS sufferers look into complementary therapies, products and health practices to help relieve the symptoms. In this post I am going to talk about some of the options I have come across, but please let me know if you have found some others natural ways that have helped you, so that I can add them to the list.
You can learn how to treat IBS naturally, as there are alternative treatments for IBS available, which might help in treating irritable bowel syndrome to some extent.
Let’s have a look at some of the natural remedies available to manage and treat IBS:
Low Fodmap Diet for IBS
You probably know already that I am a big advocate of this diet, it has literally changed my life. Before starting it, ask your GP for a referral to a dietitian. In Australia I was able to see my dietitian free, as part of medicare. The dietician will probably put you on a 6-week elimination diet plan. Don’t be scared, it seems hard at the beginning, to give up all the food you love (for me it was pasta, pizza, garlic, avocado and mangos), but you will soon get used to the alternative food. Also you may able to reintroduce your favourite food after the 6 weeks, if you don’t react to it.
The low fodmap diet is an effective remedy for treating IBS and 75% of people who tried it, had their IBS symptoms considerably reduced. There are a few low FODMAP recipes available on this site to get you started and I am in the process to write some more, but in the meantime you can find a lot more low fodmap recipes on the book written by Suzanne Perazzini Low FODMAP Menus for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which includes 10 menus and 40 recipes, all aiming at reducing the symptoms of IBS. This is an affiliate link and I am very thankful if you decide to purchase the book via my link 😀
If you haven’t already read my blog post Hypnotherapy Can Help IBS, I would suggest to read it. I have asked a qualified and knowledgeable hypnotherapist to answer some questions regarding how this complementary medicine can indeed help IBS sufferers.
There are some studies supporting acupuncture as an effective treatment to treat symptoms of IBS, mainly because it helps with relieving chronic pain. Some people claim that it helps them with their Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but doctors are unsure on how. One popular belief is that the use of acupuncture needles stimulates signals in the body, which releases pain-killing chemicals or initiate the body’s natural healing system.
It is best when acupuncture is used combined with other therapies and western biomedicine and not as a standalone treatment.
Essential Oils and Herbs
Peppermint oil is made from the peppermint plant, which among other properties, is known to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, Many studies have revealed that peppermint essential oil can help treat symptoms of IBS, such as pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Be careful, because some essential oil are not at all good or don’t have the quality to be ingested. The ones that are suitable for ingestion need to have a supplement label on it, like Young Living’s, which are the best essential oils that I have ever used. Make sure you look into it properly and follow the instruction of the manufacturer.
There are also peppermint oil capsules, which are sold in enteric coated capsules, which keep peppermint oil from being released in the stomach.
Heather’s Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules (90 per bottle) for IBS
Peppermint tea is also good for digestion and bloating.
Other essential oils that can be helpful for people who suffer from IBS are:
Clary Sage – helps to regulate bowel movement
Anise – helps to clear the bad bacteria from the digestive system
Some essential oils can also be used to relieve stress and these are: frankincense, lavender, neroli, rose and sandalwood. I will soon write a post just on essential oils and the help they can give us.
I have already talked about exercise in one of my previous post. I won’t repeat the content, but regular exercise can help IBS sufferers in more than a way and the main ones are relieving stress and stimulate the digestive system.
Stress is a major contributor to IBS and to IBS symptoms. You should find the way to relieve your stress daily, by enjoying some ‘you’ time, whatever works for you. The things that help me the most are: going for a nice walk, listening to some soothing and relaxing music, getting an aromatherapy massage, meditate (10-15 minutes usually are enough for me), have a bubble bath while listening to some relaxing music and inhaling some good quality essential oils, which I put on my electric oil burner-far away from the bathtub 😉
Probiotics can be useful in relieving pain and bowel problems in some patients with IBS. I am currently using the IBS support one. I have talked about probiotic in another post and recently I have been trying the Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, which apparently is one of the most powerful strains on the market, as it survives passage through the stomach. In Australia is sold with the name ‘IBS support’ and can be found in the fridge in most health stores or chemists.
IBS is a condition that has different symptoms in different people, it does not have a definite treatment, and so people may find that certain things might work for them to help manage it, but others might not. For me it is a combination of things, which help me to manage my IS symptoms, mainly the low fodmap diet, the exercise and the stress relief.
As always, this is just my opinion, as an IBS sufferers, and just like you, I do my research. If you are considering any of the above products, diet and practices, you should consult with your doctor.