Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder that affects the large intestines, characterized by abdominal pain and discomfort. IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. (1) Learning more about IBS symptoms and treatment may help you find a natural remedy that works to soothe your IBS symptoms.
IBS Symptoms (2)
- Changes in normal bowel movements
- Changes in the texture and appearance of stools
- Stomach bloating
- Gas and burping
- Abdominal pains, aches and cramps
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Feeling full easily or loss of appetite
IBS symptoms may also include:
- Trouble sleeping or fatigue
- An unplesant taste in the mouth
- Muscle aches, especially in the lower back
- Sexual problems, reduced libido
- Heart palpitations
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
While the exact causes of IBS are different for every person, there are certain risk factors that can lead to IBS. Researchers believe that the underlying cause is abnormal functioning of the nerves enzymes, and muscles within the digestive tract. However, certain lifestyle factors can contribute to the condition. (3)
- Food sensitivities or allergies
- Chronic stress
- IBS that runs in the family
- Changes in sleep routine
- Hormonal imbalances or hormonal changes
Natural Treatments For IBS
1. Avoid Common Allergens and Inflammatory Foods
Common allergens can trigger IBS symptoms in many people who suffer from the condition. In some, carbohydrates known as FODMAPS are a common problem. (4) Consider trying an elimination diet to pinpoint which foods trigger your IBS. Cut out:
- Conventional, pasteurized dairy
- Added sugar and refined flour
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Common allergens such as eggs, nuts and shellfish
- Spicy foods
- FODMAP grains, veggies and fruit including apples, avocados, onions, garlic and broccoli
2. Take Helpful Supplements
There are several supplements that have proven helpful for combating IBS symptoms in males and IBS symptoms in females. (5) Try taking:
- Probiotics – Probiotics help fill the gut with beneficial bacteria that supports a healthy digestive system. Take 50-100 billion units a day.
- Digestive Enzymes – Taking two digestive enzymes before each meal can help control stomach acid and aid in proper digestion.
- L-glutamine – L-glutamine is an amino acid that helps repair the digestive tract. It’s especially beneficial for people with leaky gut syndrome. Take five grams twice a day.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe vera juice can help naturally control IBS symptoms like constipation. Drink 1/2 cup three times daily.
- Herbs – Adaptogen herbs are known to help reduce stress and lower the effects of hormonal imbalance. Try ginseng, holy basil, licorice root and ashwaghanda.
3. Lower Stress Levels
Stress can disrupt hormone levels, cause inflammation in the body and disturb digestion. Lowering your stress levels can help naturally soothe your IBS symptoms. Find a healthy, stress-relieving activity that you enjoy to lower your stress levels and better manage IBS symptoms.
A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that increased physical activity improves GI symptoms that are associated with IBS. (6) Exercising on a regular basis can also help lower your stress levels and support a proper hormonal balance.