One of the greatest frustrations of irritable bowel syndrome, besides the discomfort, is being told that there is no cure. Some medications may effectively relieve symptoms, but what other options do you have if you don’t want to rely on a cocktail of drugs in order to keep your symptoms under control? Fortunately, there are some alternative natural treatments that may help.
It may remind you of candy canes, but it also aids digestion, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Peppermint has long been used to calm upset stomachs and ease other ailments. The soothing qualities of peppermint are believed to help calm the digestive tract and do offer relief for some IBS sufferers. Because of this, those who have gastro esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, are advised not to use peppermint as relaxing key parts of the digestive tract can worsen heartburn and indigestion.
For IBS symptoms in adults, drinking a cup of peppermint tea four or five times a day can bring some relief. Peppermint is also available in enteric coated capsules; the coating enables the capsules to travel through the stomach and into the small intestine, where the peppermint can then do its soothing work. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests a dosage of one to two capsules, two to three times a day for adults.
Research hasn’t yet definitively indicated that acupuncture actually relieves symptoms of IBS, however, many IBS sufferers maintain that acupuncture has helped them. A few small studies echo these assertions, but more research and scientific testing needs to be done before acupuncture can become a recognized treatment for IBS. Those who wish to try acupuncture are advised to use it in conjunction with other treatments, as has traditionally been done where acupuncture originated in China. But because acupuncture is recognized as safe, it should not be harmful to try it to see if it will help you.
Probiotics are actually live microorganisms; for them to help your digestive tract, you ingest them into your body. They are most easily found in dietary supplements and in foods such as yogurt, milk, and juices; look for specially labeled cartons that indicate that the food inside contains probiotics. The reason why these microorganisms can ease symptoms of IBS is that they are similar to the microorganisms that naturally live inside your digestive tract. Generally the bacteria that live there are helpful to the human body; they aid digestion and also protect the gastrointestinal tract from infection. If harmful bacteria begin to dominate over the good bacteria, digestive distress can result. Probiotics, then, restore balance to your system by introducing more good bacteria into the mix.
There is still much for researchers to study regarding the use of probiotics and how they can address specific IBS symptoms. But early research—as well as testimonials from people who have used them—indicate that probiotics may prove to be a useful and reliable tool for controlling IBS.
Other Alternative Treatments
Other treatments that may effectively treat IBS symptoms include hypnosis, yoga, reflexology, and relaxation therapies. Dietary changes and stress management also have helped a number of people suffering from IBS. While every treatment may not be effective for everyone, several natural options exist for managing IBS. Some of them may be right for you.
About the Author
Donna Savage is a nutritional counselor with a family history of digestive problems. Natural IBS Treatments are, of course, preferable to medical procedures and costly medicines, and should be researched diligently.
*Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.*