IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is experienced by at least 1 in 5 people. Though not dangerous, it can cause significant pain and discomfort. Its cause is not known and it should not be confused with or is it related to IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) which includes both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Symptoms of IBS range from:
- · Diarrhea and or constipation (which sometimes can alternate)
- · Bloating
- · Gas pains
- · Backache
- · Fatigue
There are a number of natural remedies which work for some IBS sufferers and not others. Sometimes it is a matter of trial and error as to which, if any of these options may help you:
Psyllium: 3 grams, 3 times a day can help to normalize bowel activity in some sufferers and has been shown to reduce IBS symptoms in placebo controlled trials.
Lactase – The enzyme that helps to digest the milk sugar, lactose, can help lactose intolerant sufferers to reduce their IBS symptoms.
Peppermint Oil Softgels – Either alone or in combination with caraway oil, softgels containing either .3ml or 50 mg. of each oil have been shown in placebo-controlled studies to alleviate symptoms of IBS.
Activated Charcoal – Has been shown in blinded, placebo-controlled studies to reduce up to 60% of IBS symptoms in some patients.
Probiotics – Several recent studies have shown that daily consumption of probiotics have been effective in reducing IBS symptoms in sufferers.
Amongst the newest research reported for alleviating IBS symptoms is the use of a novel elimination diet called the Low Fodmaps Diet. This diet is gaining major support in Europe where it was developed.
It has long been thought that certain dietary components can lead to IBS. The Low Fodmaps Diet identifies a protocol for eliminating those foods that are thought to be the most problematic. For more information on the Low Fodmaps Elimination Diet visit the following link: “When Everyday Foods are Hard to Digest”
Best of Health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.