What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)is a functional disorder of the large bowel or colon. It is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders resulting in distressing symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, gas, diarrhea or constipation. Women have been found to be more susceptible to this disease as compared to men.
The condition is also known as Spastic Colon or Irritable Colon. Normally, during the process of digestion, the intestines squeeze gently and steadily to move the food along the digestive path. But, in case of IBS, the intestines either tend to squeeze too hard or too sluggishly to move the food too quickly or too slowly along the digestive path. This, in turn, causes pain, discomfort and other symptoms like diarrhea/constipation.
This chronic disorder is not cancerous or contagious in nature. It is not even a life threatening disease as it does not harm the intestines. Still, it causes distressing and discomforting symptoms that can make like miserable. Moreover, there is no sure-shot cure for IBS. At best, only the symptoms can be controlled.
Many silent sufferers do not seek any medical help to get rid of this chronic disease and hence learn to live with the disease as a part of their normal life. Natural home remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), healthy diet, exercise and stress management can help a lot in controlling IBS to a great extent. Certain individuals tend to take laxatives in order to relieve IBS symptoms. This is generally not advised as repeated use of laxatives tends to weaken the intestines.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Unfortunately, the exact cause of Irritable Bowel syndrome still remains unknown. Dietary allergies or food sensitivities have often been held responsible for causing this disease. Though, it has not been proven. The disease has been associated with abnormal gastro intestinal movements, increased awareness of normal bodily functions and change in the nervous system communication between brain and digestive tract.
This functional disorder could be attributed to the abnormal working of extra sensitive muscles or nerves that control the digestive system. The irritating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be triggered by stress as well.
Plus, dietary fat is also believed to aggravate the problem as it tends to slow down the movement of food along the digestive path. Individuals who have had gastroenteritis have been found to be more susceptible to this disease. Several other diseases such as Dyspepsia, Fibromyalgia, Celiac Disease, GERD, Crohn’s disease, chronic constipation, chronic abdominal pain etc are considered as a subset of IBS.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may show different symptoms in different individuals. For instance, some patients might complain of diarrhea whereas some might complain of constipation. Still, almost all the patients of IBS unanimously complain of abdominal pain and discomfort.
Other symptoms include abdominal cramping, flatulence, bloating, abdominal distention, whitish mucus in the stool and other related symptoms. The patient might also go through alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation. In some cases, the symptoms tend to subside for a few months but again come back.
Natural Home Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Take half a cup of yogurt and mix about one teaspoon of psyllium husks in it. Having this mixture one hour after having dinner is one of the most successful natural home remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
• Boil a cup of water mixed with one teaspoon of flaxseeds and drink this solution before going to bed to get rid of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and its symptoms.
• Having pomegranate seeds with some black salt is highly beneficial in the treatment of Irritable Bowel syndrome.
• Simply having rock salt in warm water is one of the simplest home remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.
• Another simple home remedy used to heal IBS is to have ginger tea or raw ginger. Ginger slices mixed with lime juice can also be consumed after meals to reduce the irritating symptoms. Ginger is considered beneficial in dealing with intestinal problems.
• Ginger can also be used in combination with a pinch of asafetida and rock salt. Take a cup of warm water and add half a teaspoon of dry ginger powder, asafetida and rock salt in it. This natural remedy helps to remove Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS) and related symptoms, especially gas.
• Having a mixture of one drop of dill oil and a teaspoon of honey after meals serves as an efficient remedy relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
• Prepare a mixture by grinding together equal quantities of pepper, green cardamom seeds and dry ginger. Take about half a teaspoon of this mixture along with water after meals (preferable one hour after having a meal). This remdy aids in the process of digestion and hence helps to get rid of the intestinal discomfort.
• Soak approximately 10 grams of Indian gooseberry in water till it becomes soft. Then, crush it and add some black salt in it. Taking this mixture on a regular basis helps in reducing IBS related symptoms and discomfort.
• Taking peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules is a tried and tested home remedy to cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
• Rosemary, chamomile, valerian, lemon balm and other such herbs serve as therapeutic home remedies for IBS treatment.
• Placing a hot water bottle or a heating pad on the abdomen can help ease IBS related abdominal pain.
Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Diet, lifestyle and stress management play an important role in dealing with this ailment. In this regard, having smaller meals at regular intervals is considered better than having two or three larger meals in a day. Plus, the patients should drink adequate amount of water at regular intervals to aid in the digestive process.
In fact, this serves as one of the most effective home remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Moreover, experts suggest that individuals suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS should definitely include more fiber in their diet. Cabbage, peas, raw broccoli, raw carrots, apples, peaches and other such nutritious fruits and vegetables are highly beneficial in this regard.
Whole grain breads, kidney beans, lima beans etc are also rich sources of dietary fiber. An important tip in this regard would be to bring this change slowly and steadily otherwise sudden increase of fiber in the diet may lead to gas or may trigger other symptoms of IBS unnecessarily. Also, do not eat insoluble fiber on an empty stomach.
Foods like milk products, chocolates, wheat, rye, barley and other similar foods have been known to worsen the symptoms. Similarly, consumption of alcohol, tea, coffee, or carbonated drinks has also been linked with worsening of the disease.
Fat is also harmful for individuals suffering from this disease. Therefore, the affected individuals are advised to restrict the consumption of and fried, fatty and non vegetarian foods to avoid IBS symptoms. Certain individuals are lactose intolerant. In such cases, exclusion of milk from the diet serves as one of the simplest home remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).