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Home Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Home Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Home Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
photo: via flickr

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by irregularity in the movements of the small and large intestines. Also called spastic colon and mucous colitis, IBS is one of the most commonly diagnosed digestive disorders, affecting approximately one in five Americans over 20. Some of the most common symptoms of IBS are diarrhea or constipation, bloating, gas, mucus in the stool, nausea, headache, fatigue, and abdominal cramping and pain.

While the symptoms can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to those suffering from IBS, it can be a tricky condition to treat, as the exact causes of the disorder are largely unknown. However, there are a number of natural and herbal dietary remedies that you can take to ease and control the symptoms of IBS, we will focus on 10 simple things you can do in this article. First, however, we should focus on a few big “don’ts”, that is, things that you should avoid as they are known to contribute to aggravating the symptoms of IBS.

  • Inhibiting IBS:
    Don’t become discouraged.
    Stress, anxiety, anger, and other strong emotions are known triggers of IBS flare-ups. If you suffer from IBS it is extremely important that you learn to manage stress and anxiety. Meditation, yoga, and simple breathing exercises when you are upset are all recommended ways to help control IBS.
  • Don’t abuse your intestines.
    You can help limit the effects of IBS on your body by limiting your intake of fried foods, oils, and fatty meats and dairy products. It is also recommended to stay away from spicy foods, as the capsaicin in hot peppers can cause spasms in the large intestines and trigger diarrhea. Those with IBS should also avoid foods that cause or increase flatulence, such as beans, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Don’t chew gum or eat candy with artificial sweeteners.
    Common sweeteners in some of these products like sorbitol and mannitol can actually have a laxative effect on the body. These sweeteners are difficult for the body to break down and often make it all the way through your system to your colon before they are broken down as non-absorbed sugars. When broken down in the colon, these sweeteners can trigger gas and diarrhea.
  • Don’t overuse caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Both of these can trigger a number of digestive issues in the intestines, worsening the effects of IBS.
  • Don’t smoke.
    Nicotine is a major contributor to IBS flare-ups. Plus when you smoke, you tend to swallow air, and people with IBS are especially sensitive to excess air in the gut.

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Treating IBS:

Now that we’ve gone through a few of the things to not do or ingest if you suffer from IBS, we can focus on things you should do. Following is a list of 10 alphabetically arranged natural remedies for the troublesome symptoms of this disorder.

1. Bananas

Bananas

Fresh bananas are not only delicious and nutritious, they are also an effective reliever of IBS symptoms. The soluble fiber in bananas helps absorb excess liquid in the intestines while the potassium content helps to relieve bloating and gas.

To maintain a healthy digestive system and help prevent IBS, simply eat 1-2 bananas a day.

If you are suffering from IBS, particularly diarrhea, mash a ripe banana and mix in a teaspoon of tamarind pulp and a pinch of salt. Eat the mash twice daily until diarrhea is gone.

2. Cabbage Juice

Cabbage Juice
Cabbage Juice

*Not recommended for those who experience flatulence or bloating as symptoms of their IBS*
Cabbage juice is a very effective remedy for IBS sufferers experiencing constipation. The natural sulfur and chlorine in cabbage juice can have a deep cleansing effect on the mucus membranes of the stomach and intestines. A natural laxative, cabbage juice can also help soften stool, making bowel movements easier to pass.

To make fresh cabbage juice, cut a freshly washed cabbage into small pieces and either run through a juicer or a blender. If using a blender, strain the juice, and drink a half of a glass 3-4 times a day. This treatment is most effective if used as soon as constipation starts.

3. Carrots

Carrots

Carrots can be a wonderful and gentle way to help treat diarrhea and constipation. As a good source of pectin, they also can help maintain a healthy digestive system and prevent the onset of IBS symptoms.

To make a fresh anti-IBS carrot juice blend, put a few carrots through a juicer and add a few drops of lemon juice and honey. Drink about 8 ounces twice a day until symptoms improve.
You can also make a puree with soft, cooked carrots processed in a blender with a little water and a pinch of salt. Eat a half of a cup of carrot puree several times a day for best results.

4. Chamomile

chamomile tea

The high tannin content combined with the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of chamomile can work wonders on the symptoms of IBS!

For best results, put 2-3 teaspoons of dried chamomile in a cup of boiling water and allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture into a mug and add a little lemon juice and honey to taste if desired. Drink this tea 3 times a day for a healthier gastrointestinal tract.

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