IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome can happen to anyone. Usually, people who suffer from IBS don’t have a healthy diet and/or are exposed to stressors regularly. Then, there are also those who have IBS due to food allergies that they are not aware of. And in extreme cases, people who have depression and/or anxiety disorder can also be victims of IBS.
Do note that IBS is different from LBM (Loose Bowel Movement or, in layman’s terms, diarrhea). While both are characterized by diarrhea and stomach cramps, IBS has other symptoms, such as bloating, constipation, gas, mucus in the stool, and irregular bowel movement.
It’s tempting to treat IBS using prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications since these can give you a quick fix — but why not go the natural route and leave those chemicals behind? Plus, you lower your chances of experiencing side effects from taking these pills.
Here are some suggestions on IBS natural treatment
1. Learn how to manage your stress better
When you are stressed out, your hormones not only go haywire; your stomach’s acidity will also shoot up. When that happens, your digestive system (particularly the small intestine) is affected negatively, thus leading to IBS.
Not everyone is equipped with the right disposition and mindset to deal with stress properly. Sometimes, you get so stressed that you fail to see how you can get out of that abyss you are in. The solution: Try meditation and other relaxing techniques to help you cope with stress better. Deep breathing exercises as soon as you wake up and before you go to sleep at night can help.
Changing your perspective is a great way to manage stress better, too. Instead of dwelling in negativity, keep telling yourself that you are stronger than you think — and therefore, you will be able to deal with stressful people and situations better.
Another IBS natural treatment is to anticipate which triggers stress. How do you do this? Start keeping a journal (it doesn’t matter if it’s a handwritten or “digital” one) and jot down the stressful incidents, events, and people that you face. Doing so will help you identify these IBS stress-related causes — and learn how to cope with them, if not avoid them completely.
2. Find out if you’re allergic to certain types of food
People have this preconceived notion that allergies appear as early as infancy or childhood. However, the truth is that some allergies develop over time. For example, you may have been fine eating seafood before, yet suddenly you’re breaking out in hives and experiencing IBS after consuming a seafood-laden pasta dish. If this occurs once or twice, that may be okay, but if it keeps recurring, then you may have to get tested for food allergies.
If you don’t have the budget — or time — to get yourself tested, try eliminating seafood, nuts, eggs and other dairy products, and other common food allergens (such as soy, yeast, dairy, and gluten) from your diet. Avoid these typical allergens for 12 weeks, then reintroduce them again one by one so you can narrow down which ones are causing the allergies.
3. Eat healthy
Making your diet more nutritious is an effective IBS natural treatment. Incorporate fiber-rich foods such as leafy greens and fruits into your diet, but don’t shock your system with too much of these if you’re not used to eating fruits and veggies on a regular basis. The best way is to increase the amount of fiber gradually.
Make it a point to regularly drink peppermint or ginger tea, which are both known to soothe stomach and digestive problems. IBS can also strip away good bacteria (which you need to keep IBS at bay) from your digestive system, so load up with foods that contain good bacteria, such as cultured (coconut) yogurt, miso, and sauerkraut.