If you’re experiencing symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and you’ve been to the doctor to find out what “isn’t” wrong with you, such as Crohn’s disease or Celaic Sprue, you may want to consider finding a practitioner that would assess your symptoms in detail. Once that’s been established, they could then draw up a whole health plan tailored to suit your specific symptoms and needs, as stated in the June 2010 issue of Body and Soul. In the meantime, there are some good alternative self help measures that were suggested in the article regarding ways to improve IBS and it’s symptoms.
Modify Your Diet
Make a good effort to stick to a primarily plant based diet. This will be your biggest line of defense in combating your IBS symptoms. You may want to consider a juicer and high powered blender. Consuming foods in these ways will make digestion easier. Not only that, you can fit a lot of plant type foods in a 12 oz. glass of juice or blended drink. Keep in mind that once the IBS symptoms have surfaced, even good food can trigger reactions so making digestion easy is key. It’s best to eliminate caffeine and alcohol as well. These are common irritants for those with IBS.
Be sure to include a good dose of probiotics in your regimen. A couple times weekly at least. The latest research for IBS points to maintaining healthy flora in the GI tract. Adding some good fermented foods like miso, or organic yogurt will help to contribute to a healthy GI environment. Bifidus has shown some promise in some of these studies, but as a whole health practitioner myself, I’ve always advocated a probiotic combination that includes bifidus as well as acidophilus and bulgaricus.
Exercise is Key
Gentle exercise like yoga or and walking will be beneficial to just about everyone with symptoms of IBS. It naturally relieves stress and IBS is thought by some health professionals to be a stress response by the body. It will also assist in the elimination process for those that have issues with constipation due to IBS. Those that have diarrhea should limit their aerobic activity to less than 45 minutes at a time.
Respect the Mind-Body Connection
Be aware of your stress level. It is inherently connected to what ails us, according to Dave Rakel M.D. director of Integrative Medicine at the University of Wisconsin. Ease the pain by practicing mindfulness (staying in the present moment) and closely managing stress in your life. Simple deep breathing can counter the effects of stress by stimulating the vagus nerve which is the super highway of the gut/brain connection.
IBS is a manageable condition with self help measures. It becomes of matter of finding which of these measures will fit well in your lifestyle and render you the best results. It may take some time to figure it all out, but the time invested is worth it if you can help yourself feel well rather than relying on medications.
Eat well, think well, live well!
June 2010 issue of Body and Soulf