Irritable Bowel Syndrome is more prevalent than most want to believe. There are more than 3 million Americans suffering from IBS – an intestinal disorder that causes stomach pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. If you have been diagnosed with IBS, there is hope beyond prescription drugs such as Xifaxan or Lomotil. AMP Floracel® is here to give you insight on how you can relieve IBS naturally.
1. IBS Myths
2. IBS Triggers
3. IBS and Stress
4. IBS Diet Guide
5 IBS Myths
Before we continue with natural remedies, IBS triggers and IBS diet, here are a couple of IBS myths so you know you’re not alone.
- IBS is all in your head.
Experts do not know exactly what causes IBS; however, they do know that stress and depression can make symptoms of IBS worse. That does not mean that it is a psychiatric illness, it is not caused by emotions or thoughts.
- IBS and Lactose intolerance are the same thing.
Lactose intolerance is when your body cannot digest lactose, a natural sugar that is found in dairy products. With IBS there is no single food to blame. Eliminating lactose to reduce IBS symptoms works for some individuals, but not others.
- IBS is not a big deal.
The symptoms that people can suffer from when they have IBS, such as severe gas and terrible pain, can affect their career, relationships, and any aspect of their lives – making it a big deal.
- Only drastic dieting can ease IBS.
Diet changes can make a difference, but they do not work for everyone. Proper diet coupled with natural supplements that treat IBS can be extremely effective in easing IBS symptoms.
- IBS can lead to serious health problems like cancer.
IBS has no relation to cancer, and even though IBS has symptoms similar to that of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), they are two different conditions.
Remove IBS Triggers
These triggers can range from gas or pressure on your intestines to certain foods, medications or emotions. There are a number of factors that play a role in IBS symptoms, and merely avoiding triggers can act as a natural remedy for IBS.
The most common mistake that can trigger IBS is eating big meals. Step one in treating IBS is forgoing the traditional three meals a day. Eating smaller meals more frequently can make digestion easier for your body. After reducing meal size, there is a whole list of foods that may or may not negatively affect you. In order to test your reaction to these foods, a wonderful suggestion is to keep a food diary. This will help you really understand your personal reactions to foods, leading to treatment for your IBS.
Possible Trigger Foods
Some people have difficulty digesting compounds in wheat and wheat flour, which contains a protein called gluten. Common foods related to gluten include white and whole wheat breads, crackers, pasta, cereals, and baked goods. Another possible trigger are many types of sweeteners, whether it’s a concentrated source of fructose or a sugar alcohol sweetener. Be careful when eating candy, chewing gum or consuming any other sweet treat or beverage. Beans and lentils also tend to be difficult for people with IBS to digest, often causing gas, bloating, cramping and diarrhea.
A few additional potential triggers that you may have overlooked include condiments and carbonated drinks. Some of the usual offenders as far as condiments go include ketchup, pickle relish, soy sauce, chutney and barbecue sauce. Carbonated drinks like soda, seltzer and other naturally effervescent beverages such as sparkling wines may make you feel overly gassy. Many people also suffer from IBS after drinking caffeinated coffee, teas and soft drinks.
Control Your IBS by Controlling Your Stress Levels
Did you know that your mental state has an effect on your physical being? Maybe it has been a rough month at work, and your IBS symptoms are also acting up, but you assumed it was a poor coincidence. In reality, the two are connected. IBS is particularly common at times of stress or depression. This is because during prolonged periods of heightened emotional states, uncontrolled messages may be fired from the brain through the nervous system to the bowl, which may lead to uncoordinated contraction and relaxation of the muscle wall.
Because of the unknown origin of IBS, there is no cure. Remedies can only alleviate symptoms, and are effective in some patients but not in others. An effective way to control your IBS is to control your stress levels. There are a plethora of known stress relievers, but some offer greater results than others.
Light yoga is continuously proven to reduce stress. The combination of deep breathing techniques and poses allows your body to enter a relaxed state, and soon after your mind follows. Studies suggest that aromatherapy can be a good stress relief as well. Certain aromas, like lavender, have been consistently shown to reduce stress levels.
A few other great ways to remove stress are listening to music, laughing, drinking tea and exercising. Kissing your loved one, taking a walk, working on an art project and spending time with your pet are some other fun ways to reduce your stress. The most important factor in stress relief is finding something to take your mind off of the cause of your stress.
IBS Diet Guide
- High Fiber Diet – Fiber-rich food add bulk to stools, which will aid in movement. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that help prevent constipation.
- Low Fiber Diet – For some patients with IBS, fiber can worsen symptoms by increasing gassiness and diarrhea. Try taking soluble fiber instead, which dissolves in water; such as apples, berries, carrots, and oatmeal.
- Gluten-Free Diet – Gluten is a protein that is found in grain products, such as pasta and bread. Some people with IBS have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, and the protein can damage the intestines. There are many gluten-free versions of your favorite foods and they can be found in nearly every grocery store.
- Elimination Diet – This diet focuses on eliminating food for an extended amount of time to see if your IBS symptoms improve. Most items that are eliminated are coffee, chocolate, and nuts.
- Low Fat Diet – High-fat foods are known culprits for many health issues and they can be especially hard on individuals with IBS. Focus on lean meats, fruits and vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy products.
Additional IBS Diet Requirements
- Limit or eliminate items such as coffee, carbonated drinks, alcohol, milk, foods high in sugar, fatty foods, gas producing foods, and even artificial sweeteners, since these foods may make gas, diarrhea, and bloating worse.
- If your IBS causes constipation, add fiber to your diet and make sure that you drink plenty of water. Alternately, if your IBS causes you diarrhea, then switch to a low fiber diet, since fiber can make your symptoms worse. In both scenarios, you should also be active and exercise daily.
- Maintain a diet diary to keep track of what you are consuming. This will help you determine which items specifically trigger your IBS, since all cases of IBS are unique. A diet diary will also allow you to see when you had to use an all-natural, aloe-based IBS reliever and for which food.
- Do not skip meals and make sure to eat slowly. Eating in a quiet and calm environment will help you avoid over-excited eating.
Foods that Help
Eating smaller, more frequent meals spread throughout the day instead of larger meals can lead to less discomfort for some people. Some have started following a low FODMAP diet, but before taking such extreme measures, first try increasing your fiber intake. Fiber is known to reduce pain, bloating and other symptoms. Here are some high fiber foods to eat to help in managing your IBS:
- Black beans
- Bran cereal
- Brown rice
- Dry fruits
- Flaxseed meal
- Fresh fruit with skins (may be better tolerated cooked or canned)
- Fresh vegetables (may be better tolerated cooked)
- Garbanzo beans
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Split peas
- Whole grains, including breads and cereals
Foods to Avoid
Each person is unique. But in general, foods that are high in fat, fried foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeinated coffee and tea can be problematic for people with digestive disorders. Some foods, such as beans, cabbage, broccoli, etc. that can cause minor discomfort in a normal GI tract can cause significant bloating, gas, and abdominal pain in IBS sufferers. Here are some things to avoid.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Dairy products
- Drinks with caffeine such as coffee, teas, or soda
- Fatty foods
- Fructose syrup-containing foods and drinks
- Sorbitol (sweetener usually found in gum)
- Certain medicines
- Emotional events and stress
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