- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How to Tackle IBS Naturally at Home
I personally spent many years pondering the reason as to why people would turn down opportunities to attend events, invitations to join friends at festivals and to come along on car journeys to Scotland because of supposed 'worries of the lack of facilities' or 'worrying lengths of time without the ease of using a toilet' often looking down on the reason as an excuse to be unsociable or simply not being fun. However this all changed for me when my anxiety disorder started to grow and my body began to develop worse and worse symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome. I have always gone regularly and I've never been ashamed of admitting it and often joked as this being the reason that i can eat like a horse and have the build of a stick insect yet I never would of figured that this was an early sign of IBS in it's early stages up until my regularity sky rocketed from 5-6 times a day to 8-9 times a day, some days even going in to double figures when being helped on by anxiety and stress!
This is when i began to realize just how ignorant and arrogant I used to be towards people who used to 'complain' about not being in reaching distance of a toilet at all times. Having an understanding of why this was a problem, and personally living it every day because I ate the wrong thing or having to rush to the toilet because I have gotten stressed over loosing my car keys I have searched high and low personally to finding ways of personally tackling IBS at home without the help of medication. I have also developed an open attitude with talking to anybody about having this disorder and openly discussing it which I believe is the way forwards in combating many personal issues! By coming together and helping each other tackle our disorders and symptoms we can together concur what holds us back!
I believe for me personally that IBS is mostly if not always caused by my current state of mind and how anxious or stressed I am, alongside with the types of food I am consuming on a day to day basis. So here with you I'm going to share with you my most helpful home remedies of tackling Irritable Bowel Syndrome
note: I do not recommend that you replace home remedies and natural treatment
with anything medically provided by your doctors
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the cause varies from person to person, which can make it very hard for doctors to treat. With varied symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome of diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and chronic abdominal pain it can be a long process of finding the cause of the problem. However it is possible to live a life free of digestive problems through proper testing in which will allow you or your GP to be able to identify the exact cause or causes of your symptom/s through various tests which we will come to later on in this article.
Most people who suffer from IBS will be suffering at least in part because of an allergic reaction to one or more types of foods. Although you may be thinking that this can't be the case for yourself as you have never had an allergy to any foodstuffs this is often not the case. Food allergies and intolerance's can develop at anytime during your life and although you may think that you have a good idea of food allergies and the reactions caused by them like rashes, hives and medical emergencies, food allergies can have reactions such as simple upset stomachs and diarrhea. These reactions however can grow on to being much more painful and serious as you grow older.
Symptoms of IBS can always come as a disguise for a wheat intolerance or Celiac Disease as both show similar signs and discomfort, Which is why it is always advisable to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Intestinal Bacteria, yeast and Parasites are other cause of symptoms of IBS as we host a busy ecosystem within us that we share with trillions of bacteria that lives within us. Although we have been brought up to see bacteria as a dirty thing that we attempt to get rid of with numerous cleaners and detergents there are however many good bacterias within our bodies that are critical for our survival. This environment is easily altered within this day and age as our bodies are subject to medications and antibiotics. This can lead to symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome due to an imbalance in our digestive tract.
As noted above, stress and anxiety is also a known factor in the cause of IBS although there is no current known specific cause. Some experts however suggest that people who suffer from IBS have a colon that is more sensitive and reactive to stress and anxiety, leading on to the symptoms of IBS.This disorder is known as spastic colon!
In research within the USA it is said that there is currently around 70 percent of people who have symptoms of IBS have yet not been diagnosed with the problem and that those who do seek treatment, It is said to have found that 50 to 80 percent have a disorder such as depression or anxiety!
Like myself, Most people would prefer to tackle their problems at home before consulting a doctor for fear of embarrassment, time wasting or getting told you simply have gas. For me, i much prefer home remedies because i know what is going inside of me and i know what is best for my bodies and my bodies limitations. My first step for anybody would be to learn as much as you can about IBS so you know all of the possibilities of possible causes, which you are already achieving by reading this article. This will also help you on your way in describing your problems to your GP if you decide to go to your doctors at a later date!
My main areas of attention in treating your IBS are going to be around the three main areas of cause and treatment of Irritable bowel Syndrome which Is Your Diet, stress levels and exercise. Following these next steps will hopefully help decrease your symptoms and eventually stop them from resurfacing!
For many people who have IBS eating is a task and becoming less of an enjoyment due to symptoms being triggered by specific foods however for some people there may not be a specific type of food that they know of that triggers these symptoms.
To help tackle IBS with your diet you can first make steps towards stopping symptoms being caused by limiting or avoiding specific foods that produce gas. This includes carbonated drinks, beans, cabbage, caffeine and alcohol.
The next thing to look at will be increasing the amount of fiber in to your diet if you suffer from constipation as high fiber foods such as fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, wheat and whole grain breads and cereals will help in passing stool. However if you suffer from high gas, you should take note to decrease the consumption of beans and pulses which also hold a high source of high fiber.
Another cause of constipation is simply that you are dehydrated and that your are simply not taking in enough potassium and h20.
Dairy products may also be a cause of IBS and are often a food group that is suggested to be removed from your diet during finding the cause or causes of your IBS and are often one of the first food groups to be used when implementing an elimination diet which we will talk about further on in this section of the article! If you have decided to take on an elimination diet or you already do not consume dairy products within your diet. Often enough people will turn to soy products to replace there milk, spread and protein. Soy can also contribute to anxiety and IBS which both feed off of one an other so it is advisable that you cut down on foodstuff that is made of soy.
Alongside having a healthy diet good digestion also plays a part in IBS and good digestion requires peace and relaxation. When sitting down to eat your meal\s Don’t rush, give yourself time to eat, making sure you eat with your friends and family. Try talking, laughing and enjoy your food! However if you are uncomfortable with eating in front of people then eat away from people letting them know your situation. The way that you eat can highly affect how you and your bowels feel. As I mentioned before when I get IBS simply from loosing my car keys, If I was to be anxious or frustrated when eating and digesting a meal my emotions will upset my gut and cause the same symptoms giving me IBS. Also, try eating little and often, eating healthy snacks instead of having large meals at the end of the day to cover for the lack of eating during the rest of the day! You'll be surprised at how much of an effect it will have on you.
Herbs, plants and roots
The leaves, flowers, stems, berries, and roots of plants have long been used to prevent, relieve, and treat illness. The history of herbal medicine is in fact intertwined with that of modern science, as many manufactured drugs used today were originally derived from plants. From experience and research through many sites I have come to an agreement that the best herbs and roots for helping ease IBS are as followed
Within IBS and trying to find the personal symptoms that may be caused by something within your diet you have most likely done research on things that you can cut down on or cut out of your diet as mentioned in the previous section of this article. This may include increasing fiber into your diet, cutting back on sugar and caffeine, drinking less alcohol and reducing spicy foods. However the problem with IBS is that it is going to be different within everybody and it may be just one type of food or multiple types of foods or ingredients!
Many people will struggle to process this due to the huge variety of produce that they eat on a regular basis and be shocked when looking in to all of the possible culprits that may bring on your symptoms and just simply give in straight away, However there is a way of doing this in a manageable and stress free way if you're willing to put a bit of time in to it!
Elimination diets are ideally the best way to discover the specific food or foods that cause your IBS by avoiding certain foods or food groups for a duration of time to see if your symptoms stop. This however is easier said than done for a lot of people due to there typical diet. This is mainly because of peoples stubbornness when it comes to their pallet and their willingness to try something new, in which will be your only obstacle! I won't go on to say that this is going to be easy as it isn't for everybody but for finding out if you have any allergies it is the easiest and most beneficial way of homing in on the culprit that causes you so much discomfort!
An elimination diet is simply done by eliminating different food or food groups out of your diet until your symptoms improve or start to disappear. If you feel better after you’ve eliminated a food or stopped eating it altogether then you might be safe to say that this specific food or an ingredient within is the cause! If, when you reintroduce a food, your symptoms return, then it’s likely that the food or one of its ingredients is an IBS trigger for you. IBS can be highly complex however so if you want to head down this route in finding out the possible cause/s of your symptoms but you aren't comfortable on the journey then i would suggest going to your GP to get recommended to an IBS specialist to help you come up with a suggested dietary plan. These however can be found online in many help forums and discussion boards!
Exercise may be an odd topic when it comes to IBS symptoms but it has been proven that getting more exercise can make your IBS symptoms less severe by improving your quality of life when it comes to energy levels, sleep patterns and your emotions which all play apart on our day to day lives when it comes to healthy digestion and emotional stability.
A lot of people including myself frown at the thought of exercise but getting more exercise in our lives doesn't have to be time consuming or a dreaded task as by simply changing some day to day chores in your life can dramatically heighten the amount of exercise your body is getting without you even knowing it! Simply walking to the shop instead of taking the car, or walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift can dramatically help you stay in shape. Activities such as swimming, cycling, jogging and walking can also be accompanied and made less of a task by a friend or partner which bring me to the next activity of sex! Yes, even that can be classed as exercise which is obviously not a daunting task!
If like myself and many others in the world today, you suffer from depression or anxiety you may or may not notice the effect that it has on your bowel movements and the connection that it can have with causing symptoms of IBS.
This connection between the brain and our gut is extremely complicated and many researchers are still puzzled in just how our moods can cause our IBS to come in to action! There are however many connections between the two such as the nervous system and muscle contractions in the gut all interact with each other which can cause IBS symptoms.
This is why De-stressing and living a stress free life can help significantly with curing our IBS and helping us live a more comfortable life!
To help combat stress and to live a more stress free life I would recommend creating time in the mornings and when you finish work to have time to relax, forgetting about any work related stress as soon as you leave the workplace and making the most out of your leisurely time. I myself have taken this on by organizing with my employers that i do a fixed 6am to 2pm shift which suits me best and creates less anxiety because I have more time for myself to do what i enjoy alongside with still working at 8 hour day and bringing in the much needed money!
Another method of relaxation that I would recommend is finding a relaxing hobby that helps you go in to a relaxed state of mind such as crafts, walking, martial arts or yoga. Such hobbies can help oneself relax and forget about day-to-day stresses.
The most used technique of relaxation however is, meditation! Meditation is often seen as something that most of is would never even think of doing for many reasons but it doesn't necessarily mean sitting cross legged on a hemp weaved mat with incense sticks burning and whale noises playing in your headphones. Meditation can be achieved by simply sitting or laying down in a quiet environment or listening to familiar entrancing music that allows you to get in to a relaxed state of mind! There are people who use multiple different genres of music out there as mediation music from trance, psychedelic to even rock! It all depends on your specific tastes!
If however you find anxiety or depression to be taking over your life and you find it too hard to cope on your own then I would recommend counseling or talking to close friends, relatives or partners about where you are at in your mind. I have found that talking openly about my personal problems has been a massive step forwards in concurring my own anxiety and depression!
There are other alternative methods of curing depression and anxiety such as spending more time outside amongst friends, walking in oxygen rich areas such as forests and woodlands and 'grounding' with the earth by simply walking barefooted or engaging with the soil by gardening. There are many different ways of combating stress, it's just up to you to find your preferred method!
Do you suffer from anxiety or depression and have IBS?
Direct heat can be a massively effective relaxant when it comes to IBS symptoms. Direct lower abdominal heat can help relax the pain and discomfort of colon spasms and pain resulting from diarrhea and constipation. This can also help stop stress related attacks before they develop, not just relieving you from pain caused by the current symptoms.
To make use of heat therapy it can be done in many ways, from using a hot water bottle, taking a hot bath or placing a towel that has just come out of the tumble dryer across your stomach. If you are out of the house at work and often suffer from cramps and pains then i would recommend in investing in a re-usable heat pad.
Also if you have a patient and understanding partner or close friend then I would recommend asking if they can provide you with a massage as the friction from the hands can be relieving of the pain, a hot oil massage would work better for this. Alternatively if you do not have anybody willing to do this for you, you can simply do this by yourself by applying the oil yourself or simply massaging your stomach.
Top Ten Tips
- Cut down on spicy food
- Cut down on alcohol
- Eat slowly
- Eat more regularly and have a varied diet
- Listen to calming music, read a book and put electronic devices down at least an hour before bed to relax you and help you sleep
- Have at least 3 known things to do to De-Stress
- Take supplements or eat more herbs
- Talk about your problems with others
- Drink herbal tea's, especially mint
- Try the elimination diet