Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder characterised by symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and irregular bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea type). While conventional treatments exist, many people are turning to natural methods to support and heal their intestines.
Causes of IBS:
IBS is a complex condition influenced by a combination of factors, including diet, stress, and the gut microbiome. Other factors include, SIBO, malabsorption in case of pancreatic insufficiency or coeliac disease, liver dysfunction and low bile production.
IBS and the Gut-Brain Axis:
The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication network between the gut and the brain and plays a crucial role in IBS. Emotional stress can trigger IBS symptoms, while gut imbalances can impact mental well-being. Addressing both aspects is essential for a holistic healing point of view.
Natural Approaches to support the intestine in IBS condition:
Fiber-Rich Foods: A diet high in soluble fibre from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can aid digestion and regulate bowel movements.
Low-FODMAP diet: Some individuals with IBS find relief by reducing fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) in their diet. Gradually reintroducing specific foods can help identify triggers. Examples of Low FODMAP food: carrot, cucumber, lettuce, potato, zucchini, mandarin, orange, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, eggs, firm tofu, plain cooked meats/poultry/seafood.
Beneficial Bacteria: Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, may restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Unpasteurised yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods are natural sources. Probiotic supplement is necessary when reducing fermented carbohydrates for IBS condition.
Peppermint Oil: Known for its antispasmodic properties, peppermint oil may help ease abdominal pain, cramps and bloating. Use capsule supplementation instead of essential oil.
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera gel may have anti-inflammatory effects, soothing the intestinal lining.
Mind-Body Practices: techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help manage stress and positively impact the gut-brain axis.
Regular aerobic physical activity may contribute to reduce IBS symptoms by reducing inflammatory biomarkers and increasing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant parameters. In addition, regular exercise promotes overall well-being and contribute to improved mental health and gut function.
Adequate Water Intake: Staying well-hydrated is crucial for maintaining optimal digestive function and avoid black tea and coffee for their diuretic properties.
Identifying your food triggers:
Food Diary: Keeping a food diary helps identify specific foods that may trigger symptoms, allowing for personalized dietary adjustments.
Glutamine: an amino acid that supports the integrity of the intestinal lining.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, omega-3s may have anti-inflammatory effects.
IBS is a challenging condition, but natural approaches can play a crucial role in reducing symptoms and promoting intestinal healing. Combining dietary modifications, stress management, and targeted supplements may offer a holistic and sustainable way to support gut health. It's essential for individuals with IBS to work closely with a professional to develop a personalised plan that addresses their unique needs and challenges. Healing the intestine is a gradual process, and consistency in adopting these natural approaches can contribute to long-term relief and improved quality of life.