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Natural Alternatives for IBS — an article on the Smart Living Network
September 26, 2008 at 10:50 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Natural Alternatives for IBS


Do You Have the Symptoms?

Commonly referred to as IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome often has the following characteristics:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Changes in normal bowel function
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

There are no structural abnormalities reported from endoscopy, x-ray, or blood tests. This means IBS is a functional disorder. In the U.S. alone, as many as one in five adults have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Improvement with Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is frequently used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This natural treatment is thought to:

  • reduce the abdominal pain
  • decrease occurrence of bloating
  • inhibit the movement of calcium into muscle cells in the intestines
  • reduce excessive muscle contraction

Peppermint Oil can be purchased in many forms. Yet, it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and cause heartburn, so it should only be taken in enteric-coated capsules. Excessive doses may result in loss of appetite, nervous system disorders, and nausea. Children and pregnant women should consult their primary physician before taking peppermint oil.

Have You Tried Probiotics?

Probiotics are often referred to as friendly bacteria. They are live microbial organisms that dwell in the digestive tract. Probiotics are believed to suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. It is also thought that they promote good health and for this reason they are recommended for people with IBS in supplement form. Many different strains of probiotics exist and some may be more effective than others for irritable bowel syndrome. Over 400 species of microorganisms live in the human digestive tract. The balance between beneficial bacteria and potentially harmful bacteria is very important.

How About Hypnosis?

Hypnosis has been practiced by physicians since the 18th century. As a medical treatment, it was approved by the American Medical Association in 1958. A growing number of major medical centers are utilizing this technique for patients with chronic pain. Recently, a group of 204 patients with IBS were studied while participating in 12 hours of Hypnotherapy. At the end of the study, 71% reported that they felt their condition had improved. Self-Hypnosis is also effective and becoming more popular among people with IBS.

Minimize Your Stress

Doctors have found that colon spasms are triggered by stress because the colon is filled with a large number of nerves that connect with the brain. When IBS patients experience anxiety or raised blood pressure the resulting pain can be incredibly distressing. Therefore, maintaining stress levels is crucial when treating IBS. If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you can limit the frequency of these spasms by implementing some or all of the following stress relievers:

  • Proper amounts of sleep
  • Extended Walking
  • Yoga
  • Counseling
  • Meditation
  • Regular Exercise

Paying attention to your heart rate can save you from prolonged sessions of pain. Take a careful look at the level of stress in your life. Exploring natural alternatives for IBS can provide greater control over your condition.


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