There are many medical issues we can have but this is one that can be very upsetting and embarrassing, and can produce symptoms that make you feel unable to do what you once loved.
Millions of people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and are plagued by the symptoms – bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation and pain.
Some people can suffered for decades without relief and they might have times when the symptoms disappear, only to return at a later date.
Here are some ways to manage your symptoms that you may not have tried.
1. Get tested for food allergies
Ask your doctor or homeopath for a food allergy test and eliminate the foods that test positive for three months. You may find that there are some foods that irritate your stomach or bowel more than others – the most common are dairy, gluten and eggs.
2. Eat to ease symptoms
Sometimes it can feel like eating will create more problems but according to a Cambridge hospital study into 500 IBS sufferers found that 75 per cent were able to relieve their problems through diet.
Change your eating habits by:
- Eating a little, and slowly, at regular times to establish a routine
- Drinking plenty of fluids to combine with good fibre.
- Eliminating fatty foods
3. Try an antispasmodic
If you experience painful cramps, an antispasmodic can help to smooth the muscle in the gut lining and relieve cramping.
4. Herbs and supplements
There are a number of different herbs and supplements that relieve symptoms of IBS, including:
- Mint – a British Medical Journal report found nearly 50 per cent of IBS sufferers found relief from their symptoms when they took peppermint oil. You can take peppermint in tea, oil, herb or capsule form.
- Calcium – believed to slow down gut contractions.
- Turmeric – numerous studies suggest this multi-use herb can also help to ease digestive problems as it has anti-inflammatory properties and blocks abnormal muscle contractions in the stomach. The recommended dosage is 500mg per day.
5. Fibre, fibre, fibre
It might seem obvious but the fact of the matter is that so many people who have IBS do not heed advice and consume more fibre. If you struggle to include more fibre in your diet, you can get fibre supplements over the counter or in the health food aisle, including psyllium husk.
6. Reduce stress
IBS can be caused by outside factors other than the traditional causes. Physical, emotional and environmental stress may trigger symptoms. This is where stress-reduction and relaxation strategies can help relieve or prevent IBS symptoms. Try to take some time every day to be silent and light a candle or read a book.
Do you have any other tips for relieving symptoms of IBS?