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Is There A Cure For Irritable Bowel Syndrome? — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 28, 2009 at 10:54 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Is There A Cure For Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a problem that affects 10 to 15% of the population of the United States. IBS is thought to be caused by an interruption in the communication between the brain and the bowel. IBS is a condition that cannot be diagnosed through x-rays, blood tests, or colonoscopy. It must be diagnosed by an analysis of the patient's symptoms. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterized mainly by the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Irregular bowel movements

There are also many secondary symptoms that may be experienced by sufferers. These include but are not limited to:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Back Pain
  • Headache

There is currently no cure offered by mainstream medicine. Often doctors will encourage a change in eating habits or lifestyle or prescribe low-dose antidepressants. Antidepressants can help by raising the patient's pain threshold, but do nothing to actually solve the problem. They may also cause unpleasant side effects, some of which are similar to the symptoms of IBS. There is one medication on the market for women with IBS and excessive diarrhea, called Lotronex, but it has been shown to have very serious side effects and may cause death.

Natural Remedies

Many people are dissatisfied with the lack of help from the medical profession, and seek to improve their health naturally. There are many different natural remedies and techniques available, with varying success rates. Some of the more common ones are:

Peppermint Oil

Some people experience a reduction in pain and bloating if they take peppermint oil capsules. It is thought to work by easing excessive muscle contraction in the bowel. Peppermint oil has a roughly 80% success rate in alleviating some symptoms of IBS.

Probiotics

These beneficial bacteria are naturally present in the body. There are many different types of bacteria present in the bowel, some are good (probiotics) and some are bad. It is possible for the bacteria levels to become unbalanced and for the bowel to have an excess of gas-producing bacteria. Treatment with probiotics has been shown to be more effective than a placebo. If your IBS is caused by a bacterial imbalance, probiotics could help alleviate your symptoms.

Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum

PHGG is a water soluble fiber that has been shown to help some people with IBS. It can help reduce constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It also may help to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in the bowel.

Sources:

www.aboutibs.org

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/digestiveproblems/a/IBS.htm

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