Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder of the large intestine. Stomach cramps, pain in the abdomen, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea are associated with this disorder which needs long term management. When the gastrointestinal tract behaves abnormally then IBS occurs. Acid reflux and dyspepsia are conditions which can exist along with IBS. It is generally present in people under 45 and women are more prone to get it than men. IBS can create a lot of discomfort but its symptoms can be managed and treated using home remedies, diet modifications and stress control.
The exact cause for IBS has not been ascertained but it is considered to occur due to a variety of factors. The intestinal walls contract and relax in a rhythm to move the food through to the rectum. When the contractions are stronger or longer it results in IBS. This may lead to gas, bloating and diarrhea. Or if the intestinal contractions are weaker then slow movement of the food occurs causing constipation. Improper co-ordination of the signals between the brain and the intestines can led to over reaction by the body which can cause pain, diarrhea or constipation. There are certain triggers which can increase the symptoms of IBS and they vary from person to person. Foods like chocolate, spices, fats, beans, cabbage broccoli, milk and alcohol; Stress; hormonal changes which occur in women and other illness like gastroenteritis or bacteria in the intestine can trigger IBS. Genetics and mental health disorders also play a role. The most common symptoms are pain in the abdomen and changes in the stool movements, bloating and mucus in the stools.
Home remedies for IBS:
Adopting changes in lifestyle along with dietary changes and home remedies can provide relief from IBS.
- Cut down fried foods, meat, dairy and fatty foods as they cause the colon to contract violently leading to pain.
- Spicy hot foods can lead to spasms on the intestines and are to be avoided.
- Avoid Caffeine as it can worsen IBS.
- Cabbage, sprouts, broccoli can cause flatulence and need to be avoided.
- Do not use chewing gum with artificial sweeteners which are difficult to digest.
- Nicotine can cause flare ups of IBS and is to be avoided.
- Include fiber in the diet in the form of oatmeal, apples and strawberries.
- Consume whole wheat, greens and whole grains to treat constipation.
- Drink plenty of water for better bowel movement.
- Take smaller meals more number of times than big meals.
- Yogurt has good bacteria which can help in the digestive tract.
- Peppermint tea relaxes the intestines and can be consumed. It also reduces gas and bloating.
- Ginger soothes the stomach and reduces inflammation of the intestines. Make tea with fresh ginger and drink daily.
- Exercise regularly to relieve stress and keep the body healthy.
- Flax seeds are a good source of dietary fiber and have omega-3 acids which support the digestive system. Take a teaspoon of ground flaxseeds with water daily.
- Fennel seeds relive intestinal spasms and bloating can be consumed.
- Oat bran contain fiber which can reduce IBS symptoms by helping the smooth passage of stools.
- Chamomile has antispasmodic properties can provide relief from IBS symptoms. Drink chamomile tea daily.
- Eat bananas daily to maintain healthy bowel movement and relieve the IBS symptoms. Bananas relieve bloating and gas also.
- Caraway seeds promote expulsion of gas. Chew the seeds several times a day.
IBS is a very annoying condition which causes immense discomfort and embarrassment. It can lead to irritability and stress which further worsen the condition. Natural home remedies along with changes in lifestyle and diet can help to control and treat IBS to a great extent.