What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder
Symptoms of IBS include
- abdominal cramping or pain,
- gassiness, and
- altered bowel habits (alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation).
The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is currently unknown. It is thought to result from a combination of abnormal gastrointestinal (GI) tract movements, increased awareness of bodily functions and a disruption in the communication between the brain and the GI tract.
The problem of IBS seems to lie in how the nervous system communicates with the digestive tract.
How Yoga Can Help IBS
Yoga can even help you prevent episodes altogether by making you aware of what makes your symptoms worse. From specific foods to caffeine, alcohol, or sleep deprivation, every IBS sufferer has triggers they can learn to avoid. Yoga is a perfect training ground for cultivating a heightened awareness of cause and effect in your body that carries over to choices off the yoga mat. With time, you will find yourself having stronger insights into what is healing, and what is harmful, to your body. You will find yourself wanting to do what is good for your body, and less attracted to what makes your symptoms worse.
According to some alternative medicine practitioners, food intolerances may play a role in irritable bowel syndrome, possibly by triggering immune responses in the gut leading to low-grade inflammation and an imbalance of intestinal bacteria.
Although not scientifically proven, the most common food intolerances associated with irritable bowel syndrome are dairy, wheat and gluten
Other Foods that may trigger IBS are said to be cruciferous vegetables ( cauliflower, kale, broccoli), and legumes (black beans, edamame, soy nuts).
Dietary fiber promotes proper colon function. Patients with constipation are much more likely to respond to dietary fiber than those with diarrhea. Increasing intake of dietary fiber from fruit and vegetable sources rather than cereal sources may offer more benefit to some individuals.
SUGGESTION: Keep a diary of your IBS symptoms, noting what types of problems you have and how severe they are. In this journal, also jot down any stressful events you face in your day. Occasionally look back at your diary. If you see more IBS symptoms just before airplane flights or meetings with your boss, for instance, there may be a connection. Once you’ve detected situations that seem to trigger IBS symptoms, look for ways’like using the breathing technique above’to cope with them better.
Go easy on your intestines
- Minimize fried foods, meats, oils, margarine, dairy foods, and other fatty foods. They cause your colon to contract violently, which can lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Stay away from spicy foods. The capsaicin in hot peppers, for example, makes your large intestine go into spasms, which can cause diarrhea.
- Cut down on caffeine. It can worsen IBS by irritating your intestines.
- Avoid foods known to cause flatulence, including cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
- Don’t chew gum or candy that contains artificial sweeteners. Among the common sweeteners in these products are sorbitol and mannitol, which can have a laxative effect. They’re very difficult to digest. When bacteria in your colon eventually break down these ‘nonabsorbed sugars,’ you get gas and diarrhea.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine contributes to IBS flare-ups. Also, when you smoke, you swallow air, and people with IBS are very sensitive to having air in their gut.
Every day, drink a cup or two of peppermint tea, which relaxes your intestines, reduces spasms, and relieves gas pain. Make sure to buy the kind that contains real peppermint, rather than black tea with peppermint flavoring. Alternatively, you can take enteric-coated peppermint-oil capsules. The coating ensures that the oil reaches the intestine instead of breaking down in the stomach. Take one or two capsules three times a day, between meals.
Drink ginger tea. Ginger soothes all manner of digestive problems, including IBS. For the freshest tea, grate a half-teaspoon of ginger into a cup, then pour in hot water, let it steep for 10 minutes, strain out the ginger, and drink the tea. Ginger tea bags are also available. Drink four to six cups a day.
Therapy and Hypnosis for IBS
Researchers have found that focusing the mind with hypnotherapy can improve the emotional and physical symptoms in some who have IBS.
In one study, 20 men and 55 women received between five and seven half-hour hypnotherapy sessions over a three-month period. Afterwards, patients reported a 30% improvement in emotional quality of life and a 16% increase in overall physical health.
Probiotics, Psyllium Powder, Peppermint Oil and Aloe vera have all been said to help reduce symptoms of IBS
Other Supplements may include:
- MultiStart (age and gender specific multiple vitamin and mineral formulas).
- Enriching Greens – a great tasting “greens drink” containing highly concentrated “greens” like chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass juice, barley grass juice, etc., and herbal extracts.
- RxOmega-3 Factors – A true pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement.
- PGX with Mulberry Extract from Natural Factors. PGX is a special soluble fiber blend that is primarily used to help control after meal elevations in blood sugar. However, it is extremely useful as well as a gastrointestinal tract tonic in patients with IBS.
- RevitalX is a high potency multi-nutrient powdered drink mix formula from Natural Factors.
- Peppermint Oil Complex with Oregano Oil from Natural Factors provides volatile oils from peppermint, oregano, and caraway seed oil in an enteric-coated capsule so that it does not break down in the stomach but is instead delivered to the small and large intestine.
- Probiotic supplements supplying Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria species are very important in IBS. Take a product that will provide 5-10 billion live bacteria daily.
- 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.
The most important factor when it comes to your health, is that you must be your own advocate, and you need self empowerment to do just that.
What is Self Empowerment?
- The right to make the decisions that impact your life – and the ability to take responsibility for them
- Access to information, services and options so that you can make informed decisions
- Taking control of your own life in order to affect positive change
- Understanding that you are not alone and that you can make a difference
- Learning new skills, improving self-image and continuing to grow as a person
Having said that always REMEMBER
Be Your Biggest Fan
The first step to physical and emotional health is empowerment – understanding that your mind and body are your responsibility.
If you don’t put yourself first – if you allow what happens externally to dictate your total body/mind health – no one else is going to stop that pattern.
Each person has his own burdens to bear. Put down what isn’t truly important, take up the cause of your own well-being and let empowerment into your life.