IBS Home Remedies That Work
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is extremely common, affecting about 10% of Americans. Symptoms include abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and bloating. While no one knows exactly what causes IBS, experts agree that stress, anxiety, diet, hormones, depression and medications may play a role. Research suggests that people who suffer from IBS are likely to experience food sensitivities and low levels of stomach acid.
The good news: there are many home remedies for IBS that can help you manage the symptoms without having to take prescription drugs or undergo surgery. Here are some of our favorite natural ways to treat IBS at home.
Ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory agent. It also helps with digestion by stimulating bile production and increasing intestinal motility. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that ginger was effective in relieving GI discomfort associated with IBS. The researchers concluded that ginger could be considered as a safe alternative treatment option for patients suffering from IBS.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which acts as a digestive aid. In addition, it ’s rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus and sulfur. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can reduce inflammation and relieve gas and bloating. You can use ACV both internally and externally.
Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, compounds that act as antioxidants. Cranberry juice has been shown to improve bowel function and decrease the frequency of diarrhea episodes in those with IBS. One double blind trial showed that cranberry juice improved stool consistency in women with IBS. Another study found that taking 1 cup of cranberry juice daily reduced the number of days per week when subjects experienced loose stools.
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Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm tea is made by steeping dried leaves of lemon balm in hot water. This herb is known to stimulate the nervous system and calm the nerves. It’s also thought to soothe the gastrointestinal tract and ease cramps.
Peppermint oil is often recommended for treating IBS because it stimulates the smooth muscles in the intestines. Peppermint oil is available over the counter, but if you want to make your own peppermint oil, here’s how.
1/2 teaspoon of peppermint oil mixed into a glass of warm water 3 times a day.
There are several herbal supplements on the market that claim to alleviate IBS symptoms. Some of these herbs include aloe vera, chamomile, fennel seed,
Exercise is one of the best ways to help keep yourself healthy. A recent study showed that regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease. To ease constipation, start small—try walking around the block after dinner once or twice per month. Build up slowly and increase the duration each time until you reach 60 minutes three times a wk.
If you’re living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), incorporating relaxation into your daily routine may be beneficial. IBD describes three relaxation exercises that have been found to help relieve IBS symptoms. These exercises include:
- diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is an exercise technique used to relax muscles
- visualisation/positive imagery
Eat more fiber
For people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), one of the best ways to treat the condition is through diet. A high fibre diet is recommended, along with plenty of water. However, for those who suffer from bloating and gas, fibre supplements may be helpful. Psyllium is often used as a supplement because it absorbs water and swells in the stomach, helping relieve painful cramps. Research shows that eating fruit, especially bananas, may also provide relief. Other low-FODMAP ingredients include oats, beans, nuts, seeds, and brown rice.
Go easy on the dairy
Some people who are sensitive to cow’s milk may experience diarrhea and/or stomach cramps after consuming large amounts of dairy products. For these people, substituting soy milk (which contains no lactase) for dairy milk(which contains lactase) might be helpful. You should talk to a nutritionist about whether you should avoid dairy altogether, though.
Be cautious with laxatives
Your over-the counter (OTC) options can either aggravate or alleviate your IBS symptomatology. For instance, Kaopectate and Imodium both work to relieve diarrhea, but they do so differently. In addition, laxative medications can cause constipation instead of relieving discomfort. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before taking any medicine. You may also wish to consider switching to natural remedies such as fermented foods and probiotics. These foods contain beneficial bacteria that aid digestion. Probiotic supplements can also help restore healthy bacteria levels within your system.
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Make smart food choices
Certain foods can make GI discomfort worse. Watch out for these foods and drinks.
- dairy products
There are some things you should not eat if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS). However, there are certain things you can eat that may help relieve some of your symptoms of IBS including bloating and gas. The American College of Gastroenterology recommends that you eat probiotic rich food for some people who suffer from IBS. They recommend eating yogurt containing live cultures at least two times a day. Yogurt has many health benefits, including strengthening the immune system. It also helps maintain good digestive function by encouraging the growth of friendly bacteria.
The following foods are considered low FODMAP foods:
- whey protein
You may want to try eliminating these foods from your diet for a few days to see how this affects your symptoms. If you notice improvement, then you can add them back into your diet gradually.
If you’re looking for a way to get rid of IBS naturally, you may want to look into using essential oils. Essential oils have been shown to reduce inflammation and pain associated with IBS. Some of the most common essential oils that have been found to be effective against IBS include peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil, chamomile oil, and ginger root oil.
What are the medical treatment for IBS
The medical treatment for IBS is based on the severity of the condition. Mild cases of IBS can usually be treated with lifestyle changes alone. More severe cases will require medication. There are several types of drugs used in treating IBS.
These drugs relax muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. Antispasmodic agents are often used to treat abdominal pain related to spasms caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Examples include dicyclomine hydrochloride (Bentyl), loperamide (Imodium), and hyoscyamine sulfate (Levsin).
Laxatives loosen stools and promote their passage through the intestines. This type of drug therapy is typically used to treat chronic constipation. Commonly prescribed laxatives include senna, lactulose, and mineral oil.
Anti-diarrheal drugs prevent fluid loss from the body. These drugs are commonly used to treat acute episodes of diarrhea. Examples include diphenoxylate/atropine (Lomotil), loperamide (imodium), and codeine phosphate (Tylenol PM).
Prokinetic drugs stimulate peristalsis or contractions of the intestinal wall. These drugs are usually used to treat nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. Examples include metoclopramide (Reglan) and erythromycin.
Other medications used to treat IBS include antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), and venlafaxine (Effexor); antidiarrheals such as loperamide; antiemetics such as prochlorperazine (Compazine); and opioids such as codeine.
Do your part
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be painful and uncomfortable, but there are things you can do at home to manage symptoms. Talking to your doctor if you’re unsure about which lifestyle changes to try or best methods to begin them is one of the most effective ways to deal with IBS symptoms from home right now.
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There are no known cures for IBS. Many patients find relief from taking over-the-counter remedies like antispasmodics, anti-diarrheals, and antiemetics. Lifestyle changes such as stress management, exercise, and dietary modifications can also provide relief for some people. Medications are sometimes necessary to control symptoms.