Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS
If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are not alone. Once a relatively rare disorder, IBS now affects and estimated 20 to 30 percent of the U.S. population. Although women are two times more likely than men to seek treatment for IBS, it is thought that men and women are affected in equal numbers. It is the most common reason for a referral to a gastroenterologist. IBS is characterized by a malfunction in the digestive tract. Usually, waste material is delivered through the tract to the rectum by rhythmic contractions of the intestines. In IBS, those contractions become erratic and irregular. Bowel movements are unpredictable and painful, with attending constipation, diarrhea, or an alternation of both. The abdomen may be cramped or bloated, certain foods can no longer be tolerated, and other all-too-familiar signs of gastric distress develop. In some cases, waste matter is pushed through the tract with such force that stool incontinence results. Studies have also found that people with IBS have increased sensitivity to pain in the digestive tract.
There are really five main fundamental causes of IBS. The modern-day, fast-food diet is definitely one of them. Refined foods that are hard to digest contribute to many symptoms of poor digestion. Second, poor stress-coping mechanisms trigger nervous system reactions that contribute to IBS. Unresolved emotional traumas can have this negative effect as well. Third, chronic infections of the digestive tract with candida, parasites, and bacteria can be causative factors. Fourth, poorly functioning digestive organs contribute to IBS symptoms. These include dysbiosis, where there is a deficiency of the good bacteria that are involved with digestion and detoxification. The fifth cause, and the least common, is a structural abnormality of some type. Spinal misalignments, for example, impair nerve flow to the digestive tract, which contributes to digestive problems.
It is important that you consult with a doctor to find out whether you have IBS or some other condition that causes similar symptoms. However, in our opinion, natural therapies are the only sensible approach for the long-term control and the resolution of this condition, as they treat the underlying cause(s).
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Prescription for Natural Cures by: James F. Balch, M.D. & Mark Stengler,
Prescription #1 Peppermint
Oil - LifeSource Product
Take 1 to 2
enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules twice daily between meals. This herb
reduces gas and cramping, and studies show that it is effective for IBS.
Prescription # 2 Gentian root (Gentiana lutea)
improves overall digestive function. Take 300 mg or 10 to 20 drops five to
fifteen minutes before meals. It works well as part of a "bitters"
Prescription #3 Enzymes – Super Enzymes - LifeSource Product
Take 1 to 2 capsules
of a full-spectrum enzyme product with each meal. Enzymes help you to digest
food more efficiently.
Prescription #4 Probiotics / Dophilus - LifeSource Product
Take a product
containing at least 4 billion active organisms daily. Friendly bacteria such
as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus are involved with digestion and
prevent the overgrowth of candida and other harmful microbes.
Prescription #5 Ginger Root - LifeSource Products
Drink 1 cup of fresh
tea or take 500 mg of the capsule form with each meal. Ginger reduces gas,
bloating, and diarrhea and improves the functioning of the stomach.
Prescription # 6 Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Take 250 mg to 2 ml
with each meal. It relaxes the nervous system and promotes digestion.
Prescription #7 Aloe Vera - LifeSource
Drink 1oz twice
daily or as directed on the container. Aloe is very soothing and healing to
the digestive tract, and it fights intestinal infection.
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Mucus in stools
- Abdominal pain and cramping, usually either relieved by going to the bathroom or brought on by it
- Flatulence and abdominal rumblings
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Gurgling and rumbling of the abdomen
- Occasional vomiting
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Feeling full easily
- Mental "fog"
- Frequent urination
- Painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Painful periods
- Irritation of the rectum
- A diet that's high in refined, man-made foods and sugars and low in fiber
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Candida overgrowth, parasite infection, and dysbiosis
- Poor stress-coping mechanisms
The most reliable way to calm an irritable bowel is to adhere to a good diet. You may find that the following suggestions advocate a drastic change from your present way of eating, but the difference in the way you feel will be worth it.
Even when eating the most healthful of foods, however, you must be careful not to eat just before going to bed.
For IBS sufferers, a high-fiber diet is an absolute must. Although fiber may not sound appealing to you if you have diarrhea, it will actually regulate your bowels and soothe your digestive tract. Your diet should be based on high-fiber foods, especially whole grains, raw or lightly cooked vegetables, and legumes. You should slowly increase the amount of fiber-rich foods in your diet so that your body can adjust.
Drink a glass of clean water every two hours to ease the transit of waste matter and to keep your whole body functioning smoothly.
Irritable bowel syndrome can deplete your intestines of friendly bacteria. Eat a cultured product such as live yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut every day.
Foods to Avoid
The first step in treating IBS is to determine whether your problem is actually an allergy to food. If you can trace your symptoms to a particular food or foods, make it a priority to avoid those allergens. Keep a close eye on how dairy products affect you; lactose is often a trigger for IBS-like symptoms.
Wheat and sugar products are common offenders as well.
Saturate, hydrogenated, and partially hydrogenated fats disturb the intestines and are hard to digest. Stay away from red meat, butter, margarine, and fried foods.
Avoid mucus-forming foods that encourage toxins to accumulate. Foods that promote mucus include all dairy products, fried and processed foods, refine flours, and chocolate.
Caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and tobacco all irritate the stomach lining, so eliminate them from your diet. Many of these items also contribute to stress.
Although a high intake of fiber is a necessity, steer clear of wheat bran. If often triggers allergies in IBS sufferers, and because the fiber is insoluble, it can propel waste matter through the intestines faster than is comfortable. Ground flaxseeds are a better choice.
Avoid ice-cold drinks, which inhibit digestion and may cause cramping.
Recent research shows that many people with IBS are sensitive to the sweetener fructose. It should be avoided or limited in the diet.
A vegetable juice fast lasting three days is a good way to eliminate toxins that have built up as a result of improper bowel functioning; do this fast once a month for three consecutive months.
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a hallowed remedy for digestive troubles. Take peppermint tea after meals, instead of having dessert. Use it with caution if you have acid reflux.
- A toxic liver can aggravate IBS, and IBS can put additional stress on the liver. Support yours with detoxifying milk thistle (Silybum marianum). For the best effect, you'll need to take this herb on a continuing basis. Take 250 mg daily of a product standardized for 80 to 85 percent silymarin content. Take it with each meal.
- Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) and pau d'arco (Tabebuia avellanedae) are both traditional soothers of an irritated bowel. Take 800 to 1,000 mg of slippery elm three to four times daily, or use 5 cc of a tincture three times daily. The dosage for pau d'arco is 100 mg of the powdered bark or 0.5 to 1.0 cc of a tincture three times a day.
- Betaine hydrochloride supports stomach acid levels for better digestion. Take 1 to 2 capsules with each meal.
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by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent
any disease. As always, consult your physician before taking any and all
supplements. LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
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research and studies have been ongoing on since 1992. Other articles and
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