Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Everyone knows at least three people with this condition, which makes sense, since 1 out of 4 people have it. Here are some websites and some help on the subject. If you have a blog or a forum or know a good website on IBS, please contact me or leave a comment.

Common general Natural help for IBS:

Peppermint Oil - you have to be careful with this stuff, though - most prefer drinking it in tea.
Peppermint Oil Fact Sheet

Probiotics - a really good acidolphilus. You might want to try several brands - there were a few that did not agree with me - I personally prefer the Garden of Life Probiotic - it seems to work well.

Partially Hydrolized Guar Gum - I don't know anything about this, but it was recommended

A Good Digestive/Enzyme help - a cheap one that worked for me was the generic brand at The Vitamin Shoppe, but others have recommended the Garden of Life brand.

Also, please be aware that artificial sweeteners (aspartame, splenda, saccharin) can trigger diarrhea, gas, and cramps, especially in IBS-prone people.

Eliminating sodas from your diet can greatly help with gas. Drink tea (especially with peppermint oil) instead. Ice-cold beverages on an empty stomach can trigger GI spasms, whereas the heat in hot teas is in and of itself a muscle relaxant.

Artichoke extract appears quite helpful in IBS. The evidence is provided by the results of several studies in patients with various digestive disorders including symptoms associated with IBS. Artichoke extract appears to be most helpful for abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, lack of appetite, and nausea. I would give the enteric-coated peppermint oil a try first, however. The dosage for artichoke extract is 300 to 600 mg three times daily. Cited

Omega-3 Factors - A true pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement. Take two capsules daily.

Thus far, research suggests that certain nutrients may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in certain individuals. These nutrients include turmeric, or curcumin, certain probiotics, and artichoke leaf extract.

Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome by using ginger - I have suffered from IBS for many years now and find that chewing on crystalized ginger after each meal is very helpful. Ginger is well known to treat a large number of illnesses.

Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome using coconut - Try and use as much coconut products in your meals and cooking as possible. Use coconut oil to fry or coconut cream in your curries or chew on raw coconut as a tasty healthy snack. The coconut will give you more fibre and help slow down the bowel.

Treat Irritable bowel syndrome using lemon and lime - When you have severe abdominal cramps cuased by irritable bowel syndrome simply squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime. Mix them together and drink. Do not add any sweetner!

Treat Irritable bowel syndrome using rice and peppermint - Bring to the boil 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice. Simmer on low untill the liquid becomes milky. Drain the liquid from the rice and add 10 drops of peppermint to the liquid. Drink a glass as symtoms appear

Slippery Elm is an herb used to assist with diarrhea. It normalizes the stools and soothes, coats and heals the entire digestive tract. Slippery Elm should be taken with lots of water.

Alfalfa or Chlorophyll are colon scrubbing herbs, which can help immensely with constipation problems. These also neutralize gas in the stomach and colon.

Cascara Sagrada is one of the strongest herbal laxatives. It promotes activity in the bowel muscles, so this could cause a bit of cramping, but it's not an irritant or a purgative.

Peppermint is an herb that works wonderfully for gas, bloating and stomach pains caused by indigestion. This herb will cause the gas to pass out of your body.

Garlic will also help expel gas from your system, and it has the added benefit of being able to help your colon rid itself of mucus and parasites which could be causing some of the IBS problems. Additionally garlic is an infection fighting herb, so if there are harmful bacteria in your colon causing the IBS, the garlic can help rid your body of them.

You may choose to buy some grapefruit seed extract from your local healthfood store instead. Grapefruit Seed Extract is available in capsules and in a liquid too. Studies have shown that this natural treatment helps minimize the symptoms that are associated with IBS. It treats diarrhea, constipation, gas, and cramps

What to eat:

“If you eat a lot of cooked protein, hydrogenated oils, concentrated sugars or other foods that are hard to digest, your colon can react—and not nicely,” says Dr. Klaper. He advises that those with IBS avoid meats, dairy products, greasy snack foods, spicy fare and sweets. At the first sign of a flare-up and during the time the colon is inflamed, build your meals around easy-to-digest foods such as rice, sweet potatoes, well-steamed green and yellow vegetables and bananas, he suggests. Then after the bowel inflammation subsides, he says, you can start adding new foods to your daily diet, one at a time every 48 hours. This way, he explains, you can watch for any ill effects of the new foods.

Local Naturapathic Doctors: I just found these on the web, don't know anything about them.

Sharon Rabb, Ph.D., ND, MPH, CNC
Dallas, TX
Phone: 214-353-0385
Email: drsrabb[at]yahoo.com
Website: www.drsharonrabb.com
Areas of Emphasis: Chronic Disease Specialist, Cancer, Heart Problems, Arthritis, Diabetes, Aids, Weight Management, Aging Reversal, Eating disorders, Stress and Pain Management. Certified in Contact Reflex Analysis

Stacy Dunn, MSOM, ND
4230 Avondale Ave, ste 100
Dallas, Texas 75219

Phone: 214.520.8108 Fax: 214.520.9584
Email: stacydunn[at]comcast.net
Areas of Emphasis: Acupuncture, Attention Deficit Disorder, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Clinical Nutrition, Diabetes, Family Practice, Homeopathy, Neurological Diseases, Pain Management, Psychiatric Disorders, Women's Health

Websites that recommend Natural remedies to IBS:

























Side Effects of Herbs for IBS:

Chat Rooms/Forums for support:






Excerpts from the websites listed above:

Probiotics are particularly effective when your gut is under assault from antibiotics, though they can also be helpful when taken for daily maintenance. Quite a few research studies have shown that probiotics can dramatically improve irritable bowel syndrome. The problem is that other studies have found that many retail brands of probiotics don't actually contain any live cultures at all, and are thus worthless. Though probiotic supplements are widely available at drug and health food stores, it can be difficult to know if the brand you're buying is high quality and really does contain live cultures. Probiotic supplements should be taken with food. Go Here

Calcium and Magnesium play critical and antagonistic roles in regulating muscle function. Together they provide the mechanism for muscle contraction and relaxation.

In terms of GI tract function, calcium has a constipating effect, whereas magnesium acts as a laxative. As a result, calcium supplements can be truly beneficial for people with diarrhea-predominant IBS, and magnesium supplements can work wonders for IBS-constipation. Remember that calcium can block iron absorption in the body and contribute to anemia, so women who take calcium supplements may want to take an iron supplement at a different time of day. Calcium and magnesium should both be taken with food.

To take a calcium/magnesium supplement that will keep your bowel function in balance, it's typically recommended to use a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, as many people absorb magnesium more easily than calcium. I wouldn't exceed the USRDA for calcium or magnesium, taken either singly or together, without an explicit recommendation from your physician.

Digestive Enzymes can be helpful when taken right before a meal, especially if there is more fat in that meal than is safe for IBS. Enzymes are available at all health food stores and may be of more benefit to older people, as natural digestive enzyme production declines with age.

For gassy foods such as beans, lentils, and many vegetables, there is Beano, a brand-name digestive enzyme. Beano contains the sugar-digesting enzyme that the body needs (and which some people lack) to digest the complex sugar raffinose. If you have trouble digesting raffinose the sugar will ferment in your colon, producing gas and intestinal distress. Beano breaks down raffinose into simple sugars that cause no GI discomfort. Beano is available at health food stores in either tablets or drops, and is simply taken at the beginning of a meal. There are no side effects unless you have a rare sensitivity or allergy, and the product can be used every day. Go Here

it's also important that the following diseases are excluded before you accept a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Colon and carcinoid cancer
Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis)
Bowel obstructions
Diverticulosis / Diverticulitis
Gallbladder Problems
Food allergies
Celiac (a genetic, autoimmune disorder resulting in gluten intolerance)
Bacterial infections
Intestinal parasites
Ovarian cancer

As a rule, all possible physical, structural, and infectious abnormalities of the GI tract need to be unquestionably eliminated before you agree to an Irritable Bowel Syndrome diagnosis. This requires a physical examination, preferably by a board-certified gastroenterologist. The medical tests needed to rule out disorders other than IBS will depend upon your age, health history, family health background, and specific symptoms. Go Here

The problem is, it isn't a single food that causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. It's ANY food that is high in fat, insoluble fiber, caffeine, coffee (even decaf), carbonation, or alcohol. Why? Because all of these food categories are either GI stimulants or irritants, and can cause violent reactions of your gastrocolic reflex. This directly affects the muscles in your colon and can lead to pain, constipation AND diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

Some Causes of IBS: They speculate that it may arise as a result of stress or diet, with the symptoms of IBS usually beginning around age 20.1 Some believe that one major cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome could be heavy metal toxicity, particularly from mercury dental amalgams. Others suggest that IBS may occur from overuse of antibiotics, food allergies, nutritional deficiencies (particularly a lack of magnesium), and/or chronic fungal infection, such as Candida. IBS may also stem from hypercoagulability, or thick blood, a circulatory disorder that lowers the blood flow to the small and large intestines. Cited

Some Ideas for IBS:
  • Add healthy saturated fats such as organic extra virgin coconut oil to encourage healthy bowel movements. Read more about good fats and bad fats.
  • Add foods rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids such as ground flax meal, wild-caught salmon, minimal-mercury albacore tuna, walnuts, fish oil, and sprouted walnuts.
  • Add nutrient-dense and unprocessed foods such as sprouted nuts and seeds to your diet.
  • Eat small meals throughout the day, rather than 3 large, heavy meals.
  • Increase your daily intake of purified water, especially in between meals.
  • Avoid drinking ice-cold water with meals. Ice-cold water slows down your digestion and lowers the amount of stomach acid (HCl), which is greatly needed to digest your food.
  • Stay away from over-the-counter laxatives. These contain chemicals and herbs (such as psyllium) that induce bowel movements quickly (and sometimes violently) by irritating your bowel. They can cause cramps and diarrhea and lead to laxative dependence, followed by worse problems with constipation.
  • Fiber – Maintain an adequate source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps you maintain regularity by combining with food to form a gel that adds bulk and keeps the muscles of the colon stretched and working. Foods high in soluble fiber include:
Irritable bowel syndrome diet
It's difficult to come up with a diet that would work in most people with irritable bowel syndrome. However, consider making some of the following diet changes: cut back on sugar, cut back on dairy products, especially milk, and consider eliminating certain foods.
People with irritable bowel syndrome have high levels of antibodies that indicate they are allergic to common foods like wheat, beef, pork, and lamb. The idea of food allergy as a cause is supported by studies that systematically eliminated certain dietary components and then reintroduced them to see how symptoms were affected. In one study, researchers compared levels of antibodies to common foods in 108 patients with irritable bowel syndrome and a comparison group of 43 unaffected "control" subjects. As well as the antibody measurements, the researchers also conducted skin prick testing to 16 common foods including milk, eggs, cheese, wheat, rice, potatoes, various meats, and soya beans. Antibody levels to wheat, beef, pork, lamb and soya beans were significantly higher in IBS patients, and tended to be higher for egg yolk and egg white. However, there was no significant correlation between symptom severity and frequency and antibody levels. Nonetheless, the researchers note that elevated levels of food-specific antibodies have been seen in asthma, which suggests there could be a similar process going on in irritable bowel syndrome. SOURCE: American Journal of Gastroenterology, July 2005. Cited

According to Dr. Natasha Turner, ND, Vice President of Natural Medicine- from a naturopathic viewpoint the symptoms of IBS may be related to five key areas:
1. Food allergies - The most common food allergies are wheat, dairy, citrus, soy, gluten (the protein in rye, wheat and oats), corn and soy. Avoid all of the previous mentioned foods for a period of time of about two to three weeks. Then re-introduce one new food every couple of days. See if symptoms return or there is a negative reaction when re-introducing a food. Alcohol, coffee, tea and smoking can also be stimulants to the bowel and should be avoided.
2. Deficiency of enzymes - Enzymes are present in saliva and are released from the pancreas to assist in breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Stomach acid works to help break down foods.
3. Improper bacterial balance - If you have taken antibiotics previously, tend to overeat carbohydrates or take corticosteroids, you may have yeast overgrowth in the digestive tract and need to kill off bad bacteria in order regain healthy bacterial levels in the digestive tract.
4. Stress - Anxiety, depression and stress tend to be associated with IBS. Feeling down may happen due to upsetting bowel symptoms, but may also suddenly occur and aggravate the problems. IBS symptoms may also increase stress because of fears that a person has a serious disease.
5. Irritation of the digestive tract wall - If there is an imbalance of any of the above listed items, the digestive tract walls may become irritated and very sensitive and need to be healed and soothed. Cited

Natural Home Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome can be treated by avoiding certain foods, by taking medications, and by making lifestyle changes. Home remedies from your kitchen are another way to treat IBS symptoms.
Home Remedies From the Cupboard
Oat bran. Increasing fiber is a cure for almost every intestinal ill, and oat bran is especially good for IBS because it's mild and usually colon-friendly. So use some every day: a bowl of oatmeal, oat bran bread, oatmeal cookies. But don't expect immediate results. It may take up to a month to get any IBS relief.
Home Remedies from the Sink
Water. Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day is important, especially if you have diarrhea or are increasing your fiber intake.
Home Remedies From the Fridge
Cabbage. Juice of the cabbage soothes the symptoms of intestinal ills. To turn this veggie into juice, simply wash and put through a juicer or blender. If these are not available to you, cook the cabbage in a very small amount of water -- just enough to keep it from scorching or burning -- until very mushy. Then pulverize with a fork or mixer.
Eating pears may help relieve IBS symptoms.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Eating pears may help
to relieve IBS symptoms.

Carrots. These little gems help prevent the symptoms of IBS as well as regulate diarrhea and constipation. Eat them raw, by themselves or in salads, or eat them cooked -- steamed and tossed with a little melted butter and brown sugar for a sweet treat. You can put raw carrots through the juicer, too. Since they're not a juicy veggie to begin with, add a little pure apricot nectar when you make carrot juice. Any way you eat a carrot is fine, just don't overcook them so much that you boil out all the goodness.
Lettuce. You can eat it raw to relieve symptoms of IBS, but it's especially helpful if lightly steamed. And when you're picking out your lettuce, go for the darker varieties. The darker the color, the more nutrients it contains.
Pears. Fresh, ripe, sweet pears are a nutritious fruit that also helps relieve the symptoms of IBS. Buy them when they're still hard and let them ripen at room temperature for a few days. Pure pear juice and dried pears are also helpful in treating this intestinal woe.
Yogurt. Yogurt with active cultures will supply your digestive tract with the helpful kind of bacteria, which can ease IBS symptoms. You can also try mixing 1 cup yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon psyllium husks (or psyllium bulk you can buy in any pharmacy) and eating the mixture one hour after meals.
Home Remedies From the Spice Rack
Fennel seeds. These can relieve the intestinal spasms associated with IBS. They may also aid in the elimination of fats from the digestive system, inhibiting the over-production of mucus in the intestine, which is a symptom of the ailment. Steep the seeds into a tea by adding 1/2 teaspoon fennel to 1 cup boiling water. Or add them to veggies such as carrots or cabbage, both of which soothe IBS symptoms. You can also sprinkle the seeds on salads or roast them and snack on them after a meal to reduce the symptoms of IBS and freshen your breath. To roast, spritz a baking sheet with olive oil, then cover with fennel seeds. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Flaxseed. Make a tea using 1 teaspoon flaxseed per cup of water, and drink at bedtime for relief of symptoms.
Peppermint. Several studies have shown that peppermint can reduce IBS symptoms, particularly when cramping and diarrhea are major problems. These studies have primarily involved capsules of peppermint essential oil (0.2 mL menthol) and have found that 1 capsule taken with each meal offers the best results. Steeped into a nice, relaxing tea, dried peppermint can relieve intestinal spasms. Use 1 heaping teaspoon dried peppermint, and steep in 1 cup boiling water for ten minutes. Peppermint can exacerbate heartburn, but there are no other side effects.
Irritable bowel syndrome need not be a condition that prevents you from leading a normal life. If you learn to manage IBS and try these home remedies, you can remain both pain-free and carefree. Cited


Anonymous said...

I suffer with IBS. It's not a fun thing. I can't drink Orange Juice anymore because it gives me horrible horrible cramps and triggers an episode of IBS. I can't eat or drink anything acidic first thing in the first thing in the morning especially... works double time on me.

Jessica said...

This a fantastic, comprehensive list! And I like that your first focus is on "natural" remedies.
I was surprised that you did not include the Dietary Supplement Information Bureau on your website list. They are an authoritative source on this subject and have been much more useful than Wikipedia to me.