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Natural Alternatives for IBS — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 8, 2009 at 3:25 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Natural Alternatives for IBS


What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a disorder of the intestines causing cramping, bloating, belly pain, diarrhea and constipation. We don't know exactly what the root cause of IBS is, except that the intestines don't work as they should to process food.

What triggers IBS?

Any number of things can trigger IBS. Certain people have specific foods they must avoid that are IBS triggers. Common triggers include:

  • Food - Different foods trigger IBS in different people.
  • Stress - Stress can do a number on anyone's system, even those without IBS.
  • Hormones - Elevated hormones in women during menstruation and pregnancy can affect IBS.
  • Antibiotics - Certain antibiotics can trigger IBS in some people.
  • Genetics - A family history of IBS can increase the likelihood of having it.

Symptoms of IBS

Symptoms can include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and gas. Symptoms can come and go, and vary for different people. Those with IBS usually experience either constipation or diarrhea.

Natural Remedies

For those looking to ease their IBS without prescription or over the counter medication, there are natural ways to do so. Below is a list of some of these ways.

  • Diet - Diet is one of the most effective ways to relieve symptoms of IBS. When foods are identified as triggers, if they are successfully avoided, you should find relief.
  • Exercise - Exercising regularly will increase energy and aid regularity.
  • Hypnosis - Hypnosis has been shown to be a very safe and very effective treatment in response to IBS. No one is sure how it works, but some say hypnosis is the only way to relieve symptoms of IBS.
  • Therapy - Therapy can be psychological or behavioral, working to change how the mind perceives what it going on. Behavioral therapy identifies how we react and think about things, and then works to change that behavior.
  • Biofeedback - Biofeedback is a relaxation technique used to control a function of the body that is not normally under control, such as heart beat, skin temperature and blood pressure. It is often used to manage tension, migraines, anxiety and IBS.
  • Relaxation and Meditation - Along with gentle stretching, relaxation and meditation can be effective towards reducing symptoms of IBS as they calm and still the mind and body.
  • Peppermint Oil - Peppermint oil has been used to easy symptoms of cramping and spasms in the intestines.
  • Probiotics - Probiotics are bacteria that maintain balance within the stomach and intestines.


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