Since the mists of time, people have continually used herbal medicines as a reliable home remedy against various health issues. People with adult functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs) like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also utilize natural remedies as complementary and alternative cures while following specific treatment guidelines to lessen symptoms.
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About 12% of adults in the United States are estimated to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a complex and unpleasant disorder that predominantly affects the large intestine. It manifests as cramps, bloating, and continued bowel contractions. Simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments have been known to help soothe IBS symptoms. However, the best strategy to treat irritable bowel syndrome for most patients remains using natural supplements.
IBS can be caused by many factors ranging from genetics to stress. A number of herbs whose mechanisms of action have been established through several preclinical research and clinical trials can be employed as therapeutic agents for the condition. This article will examine the possible causes, symptoms, and natural remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic multifactorial condition that affects the gastrointestinal system. It is characterized by alteration in the intestinal microbes, dysmotility of the digestive tract’s muscles, inflammation, and hypersensitivity. About 50% of patients with this syndrome also come down with associated psychological illnesses such as anxiety and depression. It is noteworthy that IBS is unrelated to other widespread GI conditions like a peptic ulcer or gastric cancer.
What Happens In Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
In patients with IBS, the digestive system doesn’t work as it should, even if it appears normal. Under normal circumstances, the muscles of the intestine contract peristaltic to propel the food down the gut. However, in certain persons, the intestines’ muscles can begin to spasm. This indicates that the contractions are more intense and prolonged than usual.
Additionally, there can be obstruction of food passage through the intestines, resulting in slow digestion and consequently constipation.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS symptoms might vary, but they usually last for a long time. The most common IBS symptoms are:
- Abdominal discomfort
- increased bowel movements
- Mucus in stool
Only a small percentage of IBS patients experience severe symptoms, which include:
- Loss of weight
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Food intolerance
- Iron anemia
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Intestinal muscle contractions
Layers of muscle that contract, as they carry food through your digestive tract might start to contract indiscriminately even when there is no food. This more muscular and prolonged contraction can lead to gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Weak contractions of the digestive muscles can also hinder the passage of food and result in dry, thick stools.
Nervous system problems
Irritable Bowel Syndrome can also be caused by problems with the nerves in the digestive system. Your body may overreact to regular changes in the digestive process due to improper synchronization of the brain-gut signal.
IBS may appear in the presence of a severe infection brought on by germs or a virus. Diseases can disrupt the activity of the digestive tract and cause indigestion and lead to IBS symptoms. When another disease causes IBS, It is known as gastroenteritis.
People experiencing stress, particularly children, pregnant women, and the elderly, tend to exhibit greater IBS symptoms. It has also been shown that stress in Most IBS patients makes symptoms worse or more frequent. Stress does not, however, produce symptoms; it only makes them worse.
Intestinal microbial changes
Another cause of IBS is the changes in the population and specie of bacteria and fungi usually found in the intestines. These groups of microorganisms are known as normal body flora and are essential for maintaining health. A distortion in the environment of these organisms can lead to IBS
An actual food allergy may not directly cause IBS. However, many patients report that their IBS symptoms worsen when they consume particular foods or drinks. Wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk, and fizzy beverages are a few of such allergy-containing foods that can elevate symptoms.
IBS has also been shown to affect around twice as many women as men. It’s unclear why. However, some studies speculate that the fluctuating hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may be a factor. This explains how women can be more susceptible to coming down with IBS.
Age and family background
IBS can affect anyone at any age. However, it seems to affect people most frequently between the ages of 40 and 50. It has also been found that the problem can occur in children with a family history of the disease.
Studies suggest the implication of certain genes that can lead to IBS. Therefore it is possible for parents to pass the diseases to their offspring.
Types of IBS
Researchers categorize irritable bowel syndrome with respect to the most common associated symptom experienced by patients. Categorization is also important when determining the course of treatment. There are four types of IBS, each with equal incidence, they are:
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
- IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
- IBS with mixed bowel discomfort (IBS-M)
- IBS with Undefined symptoms (IBS-U)
How Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Diagnosed?
The following are some of the methods employed in diagnosing IBS
- Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy to check for indications of obstruction or inflammation in your intestines
- Upper endoscopy
- X-rays to check for any obstruction
- Blood tests to check for symptoms of infection, thyroid issues, and anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Stool examinations for investigating parasitic infection
- Blood tests for celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and lactose intolerance
- Examinations to check for bowel muscle issues
Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
The traditional approach to treating IBS focuses on symptom management with a range of pharmaceutical therapies, such as antidepressants, polyethylene glycol, anti-inflammatories, antidiarrheal drugs, antispasmodics, and serotonergic agents. Some individuals can manage their symptoms by controlling their diet, way of life, and stress. Medication and counseling might be used to manage more severe symptoms.
Diet, lifestyle, and dietary supplement suggestions are frequently part of natural treatments for IBS. This holistic strategy can aid in symptom reduction or elimination while improving the overall quality of life. As mentioned earlier, natural herbal remedies are the most employed treatment for Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
7 Natural Remedies For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Peppermint oil may help ease IBS symptoms like gas, bloat, and pain in the abdomen. Peppermint oil’s effect on treating IBS is linked to a substance called L-menthol that helps relax the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint oil poses a potent remedy for IBS, although it has a short-term impact.
The peppermint oil supplement is administered in enteric-coated pills. Because of this coating, the supplement won’t dissolve in the stomach. Allowing the capsule to reach the gut unaltered and release its contents will best treat IBS symptoms.
Fiber is known for helping with IBS symptoms and “cleaning up” the bowels. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are all excellent sources of fiber. Additionally, it can be consumed as a supplement, like Metamucil or Citrucel. Psyllium powder, the active component in Metamucil, has been found in a study to be beneficial for all three subtypes of IBS.
However, foods high in fiber contain FODMAPS sugar, which may aggravate some IBS symptoms. The ideal strategy for using fiber intake as an IBS treatment is to gradually increase your fiber intake over several weeks while keeping an eye out for any changes in your symptoms.
Ginger is a powerful herb that helps to lessen bloating and other IBS symptoms. Gingerol, the active component of the ginger tuber, has soothing, antimicrobial, and antiemetic qualities that may reduce pain and improve gastrointestinal function.
Ginger is a critical component of traditional medicine in many different cultures. It is among the most popular natural treatments for irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, ginger helps relax intestinal muscles and lowers intestinal inflammation.
Aloe vera is frequently offered as an extract, which helps to reduce constipation, diarrhea, and other IBS symptoms. Aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory effects have been hypothesized to decrease inflammation in the gut. Scientific evidence validates the use of Aloe vera as a supplemental therapy for IBS patients due to its efficacy.
The ingredients in Triphala are thought to restore the epithelial lining of the digestive tract in case of any infection. The nutrient also possesses moderate laxative effects which make it easier for stools to transit through the colon. Triphala possesses an abundance of Polyphenols, vitamin C, and flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it contains various acids with additional cytoprotective and antifungal activities.
In those with irritable bowel syndrome, partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), a water-soluble, non-gelling fiber, can help lessen constipation and, to a lesser extent, diarrhea and abdominal pain. According to some reports, PHGG helps to keep a stable PH in the intestine.
A 2002 trial showed a total cure of abdominal pain and bowel spasms in 199 individuals administered with PHGG.
One vitamin crucial to the functioning of the digestive system is vitamin D. Over 50% of IBS patients are found to be vitamin D deficient. Increasing intake of vitamin D by spending 15 to 30 minutes in the sun each day and eating foods rich in vitamin D can help eliminate symptoms in affected individuals. Some natural foods rich in vitamin D include canned salmon, tuna, Sardines, and egg yolk.
Other Natural Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Additional natural treatments for IBS include stress reduction techniques, and dietary recommendations, among others.
Dieting guidelines for managing IBS include the consumption of foods that are easily absorbed in the intestine and do not contain any allergies. The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) recommends a low-FODMAP diet for IBS patients. Dieting fundamentally focuses on good eating habits and the consumption of fiber-based nutrients. Artichokes are an excellent source of fiber, which can support healthy gut bacteria and lower your risk of developing IBS.
Physical activity is a crucial way of building a connection between your mind and body, practicing yoga has several health benefits including mind relaxation which can in turn help with IBS symptoms. The long-standing exercise of yoga is one of the best methods to combine mindfulness with exercise for improved overall health. Additionally, studies have shown that yoga can aid with IBS management.
Getting less stressed
It has been demonstrated that stress aggravates IBS symptoms. There are numerous strategies to reduce stress. Adequate rest and regular exercise have been known to help people feel less stressed. According to research, exercise may reduce constipation and enhance bowel function, which may help manage the symptoms of IBS. As additional stress-reduction techniques, meditation and deep breathing are also helpful.
Sporadic fasting is a popular eating plan in the form of timed eating intervals. It is an excellent treatment for IBS that can help you control your weight and reverse symptoms. There are many approaches to intermittent fasting. You may, for instance, try eating only between eight hours each day and fasting for the other sixteen. Sporadic fasting also helps to create better insulin sensitivity and maintains blood pressure.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent disease that can negatively affect one’s quality of life. Fortunately, efficient natural treatments for IBS included in this article can help you recover from the disease and reduce symptoms. You should be aware that more studies are ongoing on the long-term efficacy of these natural treatments. Regardless of the natural remedy for IBS that you choose to use, ensure to discuss your treatment options with your doctor.