Do you experience abdominal pain and discomfort? Do you suffer from chronic diarrhea or constipation? You may be one of the 25 to 45 million Americans suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, ten to fifteen per cent of the U.S. population suffers from IBS. In addition to physical pain, IBS can cause disruptions in a person’s emotional, social, and professional lives.
It is not an affliction to be taken lightly. Luckily, for those suffering from IBS, there are a number of home remedies that can help prevent symptoms before they occur. When pain strikes, there are different methods you can use to relieve symptoms. Every body is different, so try some or all of these home remedies and see which works best for you!
1. Drink peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is known to relax intestines, reduce bowel spasms, and relieve gas pain. Reader’s Digest Best Healthreminds readers to always look for real peppermint or to make their own using mint leaves, instead of buying black tea with peppermint flavoring. If peppermint tea is not to your taste, take one or two enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules between meals.
2. Eat probiotic yogurt. Your intestines are home to good bacteria called probiotics. Some people suffering from IBS may not produce enough probiotics naturally, reports Mayo Clinic. This is why IBS sufferers may benefit from eating yogurt and other foods rich in probiotics, like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh.
3. Avoid the 4 C’s: Chocolate, Coffee, Cabbage, Cauliflower. According to Health Line, these four foods are among the most irritable to sensitive bowels. You should also avoid beans, broccoli, soda, and dairy. A healthy diet that limits these foods will help prevent symptoms of IBS.
4. Eat small meals throughout the day. Eating large meals can overstimulate the digestive system and trigger IBS symptoms. To avoid this problem, eat smaller meals throughout the day, as suggested by Reader’s Digest Best Health. Eating slowly and mindfully will also help your digestive system process food more easily.
5. Progressive muscle relaxation. Stress can be a trigger of IBS and it can certainly exacerbate symptoms. According to How Stuff Works, progressive muscle relaxation may help relieve abdominal pain and discomfort caused by IBS. To practice this method, lie down in a quiet, calm environment. Purposely tighten a single muscle group and then relax it. Start with one end of your body (your head or your toes) and move up or down and across the body. Doing so will help you become more away of your muscles, including those in your stomach. Through progressive muscle relaxation, you may be able to naturally relax your bowels.
6. Drink between, not during, meals. Drinking liquids, even water, with meals can dilute the digestive juices and make digestion more difficult. How Stuff Works recommends only drinking liquids before or after you have finished eating. People suffering from IBS should avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Instead, opt for water or tea, which can have soothing effects and aid digestion.
7. Drink ginger tea. Ginger is a miracle worker when it comes to soothing digestive problems, including IBS. Reader’s Digest Best Healthrecommends grating a half-teaspoon of fresh ginger root into a cup of boiling water. Drinking four to six cups of ginger tea per day could help IBS sufferers manage their symptoms.
8. Eat oat bran. Most people know a fiber-rich diet is good for the digestive system. However, sufferers of IBS are aware that fiber can also upset their bowels. Oat bran is the perfect fiber solution for those afflicted with IBS. It is mild and easy on the colon. How Stuff Works recommends eating a bowl of oatmeal, a slice of oat bran bread, or an oatmeal cookie, every single day to help manage IBS symptoms.
Diet can have a profound effect on the digestive system, especially for those suffering from IBS. Making subtle changes to what you eat, and how you eat, can be the boost your body needs to making IBS less painful and easier to live with.