There are simple,
basic, natural strategies you can use as an alternative to the drugs
that are usually prescribed for IBS. The drugs treat only the symptoms,
and do nothing to address the underlying causes.
that these are just a result of my clinical observations over the
last twenty years, treating tens of thousands of patients, and reading
tens of thousands of article on natural medicine.
and my following comment is not intended to be the final authoritative
information on this topic.
One of the
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syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that many people struggle with.
Statistics show that one in ten Americans display the symptoms of
IBS, accounting for more than 2 million prescriptions and 35,000
hospitalizations each year. It is also the second highest cause
of work absenteeism after the common cold.
You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
to realize that IBS is completely different from another condition
that sounds very similar, namely inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
bowel disease is an autoimmune disease that can have very serious
consequences. But irritable bowel syndrome, even though it can cause
debilitating pain, is a functional bowel disorder. In other
words, there are no significant physical conditions that contribute
to the problem; hence itís a functional disease.
So how do you
know if you might be suffering from IBS?
and symptoms include frequent:
discomfort and/or pain
colon (spastic contractions of the colon)
to Treat IBS Without Drugs
there are some simple, basic strategies you can use as an alternative
to the drugs that are typically prescribed, such as antispasmodics
These drugs may help control the symptoms but do nothing to address
the underlying cause.
all sources of gluten Ė The first step for any patient
that comes to my clinic with this problem is to go on a gluten free
diet. Most people understand this means avoiding all forms of wheat,
but you also need to be aware that there are many other hidden sources
of gluten in your diet.
Gluten is a
protein found in wheat, but itís also found in other grains such
avoiding gluten for a week or two is enough to see significant improvement.
to gluten, food allergies can also play a role so be sensitive to
that and start a trial and error process to determine which ones
checked for parasites Ė Another comprehensive strategy,
to make sure youíre not struggling with a physical condition that
could be simulating IBS, is to have your stool checked for parasites.
Some parasites, such as giardia, can sometimes be a contributing
factor that needs to be treated.
your dietto your personal biochemistry
Ė Naturally, youíll want to pay close attention to your diet. Ideally,
youíll want to eat according to your
nutritional type, as you have specific nutritional needs that
are based on your personal biochemistry, metabolism, and genetic
thrive on low-carbohydrate, high-protein and high-fat diets. A typical
ratio for a Carb Type might be 40 percent protein and 30 percent
each of fats and carbohydrates, but the amounts could easily shift
to 50 percent fats and as little as 10 percent carbohydrates depending
on individual genetic requirements.
the converse: a high carb, low fat and low protein diet. (However,
itís important to realize that there is a major difference between
vegetable carbs and grain carbs, even though theyíre both referenced
as "carbs." Grains convert to sugar, which is not something anyone
needs in their diet in high amounts.) Others fall somewhere in between
these Protein and Carbohydrate types and can afford to be less strict
with their ratios of carbs, fats and proteins.
to realize that if you donít eat a diet that is suitable for you,
youíre likely to suffer health challenges, and a spastic colon is
Part of nutritional
typing is also to pay attention to the quality of your
food. Youíll want to consume high quality, unprocessed food. Remember,
90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is for processed
foods. When you choose foods like this youíre bound to experience
physical complications, and itís no big surprise that one of those
complications could be in your gut.
healthy bacteria in your gut Ė Itís also important to make
sure you have enough healthy bacteria in your gut. You can get healthy
bacteria from fermented
foods or a high quality supplement.
Now, once you
lower the amounts of sugar and processed foods in your diet, youíre
automatically creating a milieu that will support the growth of
good bacteria and diminish growth of bad bacteria. But you can enhance
that process further by eating fermented foods or taking a high
your fiber Ė Taking additional fiber can also be very helpful
to control IBS symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. Fiber
such as psyllium tends to be particularly helpful, and is my personal
favorite. I use it nearly every day.
adaptogenic fiber, meaning if youíre constipated it will soften
your stool and help increase your bowel frequency, and if you have
loose stools and frequent bowel movements, it will help with stool
formation and decrease the frequency of bowel movements.
If you decide
to use psyllium, make sure it is organic as nearly all the products
out there are not, and the damage from the pesticide residue in
most of the products far outweigh the benefit you would receive
from the fiber itself. Metamucil is a classic non-organic psyllium.
fiber is whole, organic flax seed. You can take a few table spoons
of freshly ground flax seed per day. Another benefit of flax is
that itís also a high quality source of plant-based omega-3 fats,
particularly ALA, which nearly everyone needs on a regular basis.
emotional challenges Ė Last but certainly not least, Iíve
found that many people with IBS have an unresolved emotional component
that contributes to their physical problem. This is also one of
the reasons why antidepressants are frequently prescribed. Meditation,
prayer, and psychological techniques and tools like the Emotional
Freedom Technique (EFT) are all strategies you can use to effectively
address your emotional challenges.
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.