Irritable bowel syndrome, otherwise known as “IBS,” is a condition that afflicts millions of Americans, in large part because of their highly processed low fibre diets. It is an uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing condition that is marked by bloating, gas and a feeling of never quite being fully relieved after bowel movements.
It is common for a person with IBS to have intermittent bouts of diarrhoea followed by days of constipation. Many times those with IBS just never feel quite “right” because their digestive and elimination system is always in flux and they are always in some kind of discomfort.
Some end up turning to prescription medications that have other undesired effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision and changes in appetite. Most of the time; however, IBS can be treated by using natural methods, remedies and lifestyle changes.
Peppermint oil, which is the minty flavoured oil extracted from leaves of the peppermint plant, has been one of the most popular natural remedies for IBS, gas, bloating and stomach upset. This is because it has a natural calming and “cooling” effect on the stomach and the digestive tract.
It is thought that peppermint also may help ease intestinal discomfort, gas and bloating by helping slow down the contractions of the intestinal walls. This can help make digestion and elimination more effective and a whole lot more comfortable.
A good digestive enzyme supplement can also help ease IBS by improving the efficiency of your digestive system. When food has not been digested as much as possible before reaching the small intestine, it can cause great discomfort and hinder the entire elimination process.
Taking a high quality digestive enzyme supplement that contains components such as bromelain (naturally found in pineapple), lipase, pancreatin, papain and pepsin can really help increase the efficiency of digestion. By breaking the food down as much as possible earlier in the process, you may avoid a lot of the uncomfortable symptoms that come later on in the intestine.
Avoid or minimise cheese consumption, increase real fibre intake
Cheese is probably one of the most “binding” foods you can eat. It makes your stool sticky and hard and often can interfere with your bowel movements for days if you consume a lot of it. This is particularly true for those with IBS since they already have sluggish and often intermittently overactive bowel movements.
Increasing your real fibre intake is crucial if you want to be regular and comfortable. I say “real fibre” because this does not mean a supplement or fibre-enriched processed foods. Real fibre consists of foods like apples, mangos, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach and other minimally cooked leafy greens. High fibre fruits and vegetables are the key to healthy digestion and elimination.
Probiotics are vitally important to the health and function of your colon and intestines. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy and operating smoothly.
They can be attained through eating certain fermented foods or some dairy products such as yogurt. If these types of foods are unappetising to you, there are also ways to supplement with probiotics. There are various drinks, capsules and powders that contain these microscopic organisms.
Keeping your body supplied with probiotics helps keep the lining of the intestines healthy. These organisms also help to keep gas-producing “bad” bacteria to a minimum, so they are invaluable as a tool for prevention and treatment when it comes to colon, intestine and digestive health and comfort.