Our digestive systems can be one of the most commonly overlooked systems in our body when you consider the focus that is given to blood circulation, cardiovascular and the filtration system within our kidneys and liver.
We often don’t think about digestion unless we have a problem caused by food – i.e. constipation, diarrhea and upset stomach.
But what if you have a chronic problem with these conditions? You more than likely have an issue with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that is a very common condition that negatively impacts your colon – also known as the large intestine.
The symptoms one gets from IBS are very uncomfortable, although not as severe as the more severe stomach conditions like Crohn’s disease and forms of ulcerative colitis that are versions of IBS.
One bit of good news is that IBS is not likely to be much more of a problem that can damage the tissues within the colon or lead to a higher risk of colon cancer.
Regardless, one will want to find relief from these pains and issues and that can easily be done with little to no cost by following one of several natural remedies.
These are also a lot safer than some of the mass-produced “miracle drugs” that are available in the pharmacy market.
Common forms, variants
There are three main types of IBS – one with constipation, one with diarrhea and one with a combination of the two that can seem like the most unpleasant.
When you are dealing with IBS that comes with constipation will usually include a large amount of pain coming from your stomach, along with some bloating and gas.
The bowel movements are very few and far between, sometimes inconsistent, that can be very difficult to pass due to their hardness or shape.
Then there is the IBS with diarrhea that comes with a very similar pain in your stomach, but you will have a more urgent need to visit the restroom several times throughout the day and night.
The stools are loose and can sometimes seem more like water without a lot of firmness.
What’s worse is when you have a combination of the two where you have loose stools in between larger and tougher to pass bowels.
Some scientific studies have found that there are some people who have IBS could find themselves dealing with an alternating rotation of all three types – depending on which types of foods trigger their condition – wheat, dairy, meats, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated beverages, lentils and other foods. IBS can also be caused by a combination of hormones and stress.
Why go with natural methods?
Like many medical conditions, it can be a lot easier and safer for your body to go with a more natural way of dealing with your IBS symptoms – no matter how severe they are in your individual case.
Let’s not forget that by using a medicine or method that is 100 percent natural, you are less likely to deal with potentially negative side effects that come from the artificial chemicals that are used as ingredients in mass-produced prescription drugs.
In addition to all of the above, they natural remedies are also likely to contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals that can help other parts of your body.
They are also a lot more cost-effective than those expensive pharmaceuticals.
Common symptoms that natural remedies can alleviate
IBS can lead to a number of painful side effects that can come from eating certain foods that your body is unable to handle.
First, you might feel some extra bloating around your midsection that can also include extra gas that your body will want to pass. Both will also include some cramping pains within your abdominal region.
Additionally, you will sometimes have either diarrhea or constipation – sometimes you might even find yourself dealing with both where you have a blockage that once you pass, you will find looser stools that can also include some mucus.
These symptoms can be quite severe at times depending on what you eat and how much of an impact it can have on your digestive system.
About 20 percent of the American population will be diagnosed with IBS after approaching their doctor about the symptoms they are dealing with on a regular basis.
While IBS is not likely to lead to cancer, you may need to see a doctor about potentially bigger issues like bleeding with your stools, feeling pains in your abdominal area at night and finding yourself losing weight.
Using one of several natural remedy methods can help you alleviate those side effects easily.
Option 1 – Reduce things that impact your intestines
Like it was mentioned at the beginning of this article, we may sometimes forget how much we negatively affect our digestive tracts with the types of foods that we consume.
One of the best things we can do to help improve your digestive health is to make some changes to our daily diet – starting with reducing how many foods you eat that are fried.
That means not having corn dogs, mozzarella sticks and other foods cooked in fat and/or oil.
Another food that can cause a lot of damage to your intestines includes spicier foods because of the capsaicin that can be found in hotter peppers, causing your colon to be more susceptible to having diarrhea.
It also doesn’t help if you drink a large amount of coffee or other highly caffeinated beverages.
It’s also a good idea if you can avoid eating the types of food that are well known for causing gassiness – including vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, or baked beans and green beans.
There are also a lot of negative artificial sweeteners found in chewing gum and a variety of candy that includes substances like sorbitol and mannitol that cause diarrhea as well.
Your intestines are also impacted by other activities beyond consuming food – like smoking. For one thing, the nicotine found in cigarettes can actually cause the symptoms of IBS to show up faster.
There’s also the fact that smoking leads to you swallowing air and that will lead to someone having more problems for those who might be very sensitive to that extra gas in the stomach.
Option 2 – Gain a handle on dealing with your stress
While the types of foods that you eat in a regular basis can be the most common triggers, higher levels of stress can also be a major cause of the IBS issues that a number of people are dealing with.
Finding ways to reduce stress in your life can be quite simple by trying to schedule yourself time to meditate in a very quiet room away from the hustle and bustle of life.
It also helps if you are able to add some yoga into your daily schedule, as well as trying a breathing exercise where you inhale or exhale for five-second periods for about a minute and thinking about nothing but that breathing pattern for about a minute – this will not only calm you down, but it’s a method used by mixed martial artist George St. Pierre.
Another thing you can do to help yourself is to find a good place to relax, whether it’s a favorite chair where you can watch your favorite television show or a sporting event or a good lawn chair or hammock where you can rest under some cool shade.
But what might work to help find your stress triggers is to keep a journal for chronicling any IBS instance you deal with – nothing some of the things you did during the day.
Over time, that journal will allow you to find trends that can help discover what might be a trend of what is causing your issues.
Maybe knowing what stress is leading to your stomach and colon pains might be the key to healing yourself by eliminating the stresses of life.
Option 3 – Increase your fiber intake
While you make a move to eliminate certain foods in your daily diet, you should actually look in increase the consumption of foods that have a large amount of fiber that will actually absorb the liquid that might be within your bowels so that they can actually have more firmness to help reduce the amount of diarrhea – but not too much to where you become constipation.
Beans can help with that, as well as whole grain oatmeal, and a number of fruits – i.e. apples, berries and citrus fruits like grapefruit.
This help provides soluble fiber that will help with preventing IBS with diarrhea.
Now if you are constantly dealing with constipation as your form of IBS, you can always look into consuming foods with a more insoluble fiber – found in whole wheat and whole grain options, greens found in salads and other foods – to help make the stools a lot easier to pass throughout the intestines and colon.
But you don’t want to consume too much fiber or else you’ll find yourself dealing with a combination of gas and bloating, so it’s best to eat no more than eight grams every day and gradually increase by a few grams a day until you reach a maximum number of about 30 grams daily. There are also fiber supplements you can take if eating more fiber is tougher for you.
If you go with a diet that has an increased amount of fiber, then you will be better off drinking up to eight glasses of water every day in an effort to help the fiber get through your digestive system a lot easier.
Option 4 – Take your time, watch how much you eat
In addition to being one of the most common reasons for gaining a large amount of weight, eating too much in one sitting in a short amount of time can actually negatively impact your colon and intestines due to overstimulation.
The best thing you can do is eat several smaller meals – like three regular-sized meals and two to three snack sessions in between.
It’s also very important to drink more water during this time as well and cutting out the extra sugar and caffeine in coffee, soda, and energy drinks.
An easy way to eat better is to slow down your pace, take smaller bites and focus more on chewing – a good rule of thumb is to chew each bite about 10 to 20 seconds to not only to prevent eating too fast, but also to reduce the risk of choking when you swallow.
This also helps in reducing the amount of air that is swallowed when eating way too fast – this can actually cause a painful accumulation of gas that is considered a common trigger of IBS.
That faster pace of eating can also lead to your stomach getting too full before your body can register that it is beyond that point of comfort – which can lead to other IBS problems like stomach cramps, pains, and indigestion.
Option 5 – Try adding yogurt to your diet
There are a number of benefits that can come from eating more yogurt, especially Greek yogurt.
That’s because it contains a large number of active bacteria that is commonly known as live cultures that will actually help counteract the effects of the negative bacteria and harmful impurities that can accumulate along the digestive tract and colon – it can also be a big cause of diarrhea that is a key symptom of IBS.
Now if dairy is a big problem as one of your IBS triggers, you can actually find dietary supplements that are composed of one or more of the live cultures found in Greek yogurt.
For example, you can take an acidophilus supplement that can actually include more than one million live organisms that can help clear your digestive system of those negative impurities – just make sure you take this daily supplement before eating in the morning.
Option 6 – Drink more tea
As you eliminate the number of beverages that are filled with large amounts of sugar and caffeine, you can replace that by drinking one or two cups of tea in an effort to provide some relaxation for your digestive system while helping prevent any spasms or buildup of gas and bloating.
It is pretty difficult to tire of drinking tea overall when you consider that there are a number of different types of tea to enjoy – green, black, white, fruit-based and several herbal options.
One that is commonly recommended for people is peppermint tea – and make sure you aren’t actually picking up a box of black tea that is flavored to taste like peppermint.
Peppermint is also a very beneficial supplement to take as well because of how the oil from the peppermint leave can actually reach your digestive tract pretty easily to help break down the accumulated toxins along the intestinal and colon walls.
Another very beneficial tea is ginger, which helps reduce the symptoms of IBS – just like most fresh teas.
The best way to prepare a cup is to throw grated ginger – about a teaspoon’s worth – into a cup that is filled with hot water.
You will have to let the ginger steep in the water for at least 10 minutes before you remove the chunks of ginger before drinking.
There are also natural bags of ginger-based tea, which you should drink anywhere from four to six cups every day.
Option 7 – Increase your physical activity
It shouldn’t be a surprise for anyone when exercise is used to talk about improving any part of your lifestyle to reflect healthy changes.
That doesn’t mean you need to work out by lifting heavy weight for hours every day, but it can be as easy as getting out of the house and going for a walk for at least 30 minutes per day – or any other kind of noncompetitive exercise like swimming or riding a bicycle.
How does exercising regularly help with your IBS issues? Your body becomes more relaxed after some physical activity, which leads to the body’s natural release of endorphins that help reduce pains you might be experiencing in an effort to help keep different parts of your body running efficiently and effectively.
The different types of IBS can make life very difficult and can cause problems in trying to effectively work in the office.
It can also be that much more of a problem if you are working in a retail environment where you are on your feet and the cramps and pains linked to gas, bloating and indigestion can keep you from being able to do different tasks like stocking shelves, loading a vehicle’s trunk for an elderly customer or even concentrating on counting change back to help break a $20.
Going with one of these natural remedy methods won’t cost too much money and if you don’t have the tools in your home already, you can likely find the different foods and teas at a nearby grocery store – the dietary supplements that were also mentioned can be found in various vitamin and supplement stores.