10 Best Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatments
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a digestive woe that involves abdominal pain and discomfort, constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, and dramatic changes in one’s bowel movements among others. This medical condition is generally linked to various causes and factors such as distress or the harmful type of stress, poor quality of sleep, mental issues like anxiety and depression, a proliferation of “bad” bacteria in the gut, and previous infections or diseases in the digestive system. This chronic disorder is the most common Gastrointestinal disorder the whole world over, with an estimated 10 to 15% of the overall population being affected by it. It is also more common in women and to those under the age of 45. Over the years, several studies have shown that natural remedies can be done to help alleviate the symptoms, and even prevent one from happening.
In this article, we have listed 10 various Irritable Bowel Syndrome treatments—dietary program, medications, and other alternative strategies—that can bring you the relief you perfectly needed. Please note that you are not entitled to follow only one IBS medication; these treatments can be combined for effectiveness. Since there is no cure to completely get rid of the condition, coping responses can be developed to efficiently live with it.
10 IBS Medications
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Fiber
A certain type of IBS is associated with constipation. In this case, increasing your intake of soluble fiber can be beneficial. This type of fiber works by softening the stool and making it much easier to move through and pass your system. It should be noted though that too much consumption may lead to bloating and gas. Examples of foods containing soluble fiber include beans, some fruits, and oat products. The other type of IBS—one associated with diarrhea—should likewise be addressed with the other type of fiber: the insoluble. Found in vegetables and whole-grain products, insoluble fiber adds volume to the fecal material. Anti-diarrheal medicines should be taken before consuming foods with fiber to better help you deal with the symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Probiotics
Probiotics, the so-called “good bacteria”, have their own microbiome in your gut, with their main purpose of keeping you healthy. It is believed that an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the digestive tract contributes, or even causes various IBS symptoms including bloating and gas. The task of probiotics involves balancing the intestinal flora, avoiding the development of bad bacteria that causes toxins, and helping the gut indigestion. Taking these live bacteria, which can be found in probiotic supplements and fermented foods such as kefir and yogurt, will help you reduce these debilitating symptoms as studies have shown, although much more thorough research needs to be done. Nevertheless, probiotics are one of the most widely-used natural IBS medications out there.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Low FODMAP Diet
FODMAP is the acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharide, and polyols”. These are types of carbohydrates that when ingested, will not be easily digested by the body. This group of foods also draw more water into the bowel, thereby stimulating bloating and gas, and diarrhea to those already suffering from IBS. A diet involving low FODMAPs is a special type of IBS medication that basically limits your intake of certain foods considered to be high FODMAP, examples of which include fruits such as apples, apricots, and berries to vegetables, dairy products, wheat and rye, and sweet alcohols. In this diet, moderation is vital. Your healthcare practitioner may suggest you do so for roughly 8 weeks to lessen the IBS symptoms. You can still go back to them though.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Get Yourself Tested/Allergy Elimination Diet
Of course, it should very essential to get yourself tested to know what food makes you more susceptible to suffer the symptoms. Try taking a test for IgG food allergies. When you eventually learn the foods that are more likely to be avoided, try eliminating them for about 12 weeks. If this procedure proves to be too demanding for you, you can simply do it yourself with an allergy elimination diet for several weeks. The best elimination diets will be more restrictive, which means doing away with the largest number of foods. The type of food to be removed may include gluten, soy or other beans/lentils, dairy products, corn, beef, pork, chicken, caffeine, and citrus fruits among others. After that, you can gradually reintroduce them back to your diet to determine whether they cause symptoms or not.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Peppermint
IBS often involves a lot of pain for others. Peppermint, therefore, being a natural antispasmodic or an agent that relieves spasm of involuntary muscles, can greatly help as an IBS medication. Peppermint oil, having menthol, has the ability to relax smooth intestinal muscles, lessening the symptoms and reducing abdominal pain in the process. In fact, clinical trials dated as early as 1972 revealed that peppermint oil was the most promising among all other herbal remedies. There are also enteric-coated capsules you can take that will likewise help you deal with heartburn. Taking them daily for four weeks can considerably diminish the symptoms. Another symptom of peppermint can significantly address, with its health benefits, is bloating and gas. In this case, you can use peppermint after heavy meals as an aid to digestion.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Digestive Enzymes
Various digestive enzymes are readily available and you can choose one among them as per the recommendation of your physician or healthcare practitioner. Trying this digestive enzyme with meals is effective in helping break down the food, all the while helping your gut heals. Fish oil, the aforesaid probiotics, zinc, magnesium, glutamine, and vitamin A among others can benefit you through your personalized health program that is specifically tailored to cater to your specific needs.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Strategies to Reduce Stress
No doubt, stress is often one of, if not the main, culprit of IBS to some individuals. It is basically a cycle between stress and IBS wherein the effect of stress worsens IBS symptoms and vice versa. Even the scientific community recognizes that the strategies employed to reduce stress are vital components when dealing with the condition. Now it would be very impractical to address and adjust your stressors—the things, places, activities, or even person that cause you distress, the unhealthy form of stress—so it all boils down to how effective your coping strategies or responses are. Strategies may involve meditation, yoga, muscle relaxation, visualization or positive imagery, and even as simple as breathing exercises. Choose what best suits you or better make your own.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Regular Exercise
Disciplining yourself to maintain a regular exercise is always never an option; it is part of the IBS medication package. Not only does maximizing your daily exercise routine alleviate the IBS symptoms, it is also beneficial to reduce IBS-related signs such as fatigue, anxiety, and even depression. After all, exercise boosts the synthesis of serotonin, which is not just one of the happy hormones but has a major role in your gut as the majority of the hormone is being produced in the digestive system. It can also boost the level of your natural painkilling endorphins which can boost mood in return and help alleviate stress. One as simple as walking or jogging is enough. Also, engaging yourself in yoga, along with other relaxation techniques can have the same effect as that of a regular exercise.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Set a Regular Sleep Schedule and Be Careful when Using Laxatives
A particular study done at the University of Michigan revealed that those who are more susceptible to experience IBS are nurses with rotating shifts. This is understandable. After all, our biological clock oversees all the different activities and functions in our body, digestion included. Thus, when you have an irregular sleeping pattern, chances are you will more likely trigger the symptoms. You can take melatonin supplement, for instance, to help regulate your body clock while reducing the symptoms at the same time. On the other note, while taking over-the-counter laxatives can help alleviate the IBS symptoms, an improper use can sometimes worsen it. Reading first the directions indicated on the package is always a must rather than relying on general knowledge. It’s much better also to consult your doctor before taking any IBS medication first.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment – Talk to a Mental Health Professional
IBS does not only take its toll on you physically. Due to its often disconcerting and humiliating nature, psychological distress is almost always bound to happen. On this note, IBS medication should not only address the physical symptoms but more importantly the emotional and mental repercussions. It is thus important to talk to a mental health professional. This may sound strange and even embarrassing at first but the positive effect it will bring you will be worth the effort and courage. There are lots of coping techniques a mental health professional can teach you as an effective IBS medication. Even antidepressant drugs are recommended to help treat the symptoms by inhibiting neural activities involving your gut. Some major and often radical changes should be made in your lifestyle to help address your IBS issue. Try all these IBS medications and treat yourself to a satisfying digestive experience.