Alternative Treatments for IBS
Approximately 20 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 45 experience symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, according to the book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Alternative therapies may reduce the irritation and discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Learning to make small lifestyle changes, managing your diet and using natural therapies may not only relieve some of the pain and inflammation, but also may increase your quality of life.
Fiber and Fluid
Fiber absorbs water and helps to move wastes along your digestive tract. Your body needs approximately 25 g of fiber a day for the digestive tract to function efficiently. Drinking adequate amounts of water ensures the fiber can absorb enough to create softer stools. This keeps your colon clean and reduces irritation and inflammation that can cause the pain and discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
Every individual is unique and the amount of fiber needed may vary according to the person, her diet and lifestyle. If adequate amounts of fiber cannot be obtained through diet alone, a fiber supplement may be necessary.
Eating smaller meals throughout the day at specific times may can reduce the irritation and discomfort from irritable bowel syndrome. You can add easy-to-digest foods to the menu. Fresh fruits and vegetables break down quickly and are good sources of fiber and nutrients.
Avoid processed or refined foods. Foods with additives and preservatives are hard to digest and put unneeded stress on your liver and digestive tract as a whole. Heavily processed foods lack nutrients and offer little in the way of beneficial fiber.
Avoid foods that cause bloating and gas. Beans, cauliflower, broccoli and highly seasoned foods can irritate the bowel, causing added discomfort and pain.
People living with IBS can suffer from constipation and diarrhea on a day-to-day basis. Avoid using laxatives and anti-diarrheal medications. Laxatives may cause dehydration if used more than needed. These medications can also deplete the natural stores of good and bad bacteria found in the digestive tract. Yogurt and acidophilus can help to restore the balance of these bacteria so that your body stays as regular as possible.
Using yogurt and other natural supplements like lactobacillus acidophilus will cause less stress on an already disrupted digestive system. The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" suggests taking lactobacillus acidophilus during stressful periods to help keep your system regular and functioning at its best.
Irritable bowel syndrome can be exacerbated by toxins and waste that slow down and block the digestive tract. According to "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," red clover and milk thistle are excellent cleansers for your liver and digestive tract. They help to remove toxins and waste that can hamper digestion and irritate the bowel.
As the contractions of the muscles in a person's digestive tract become more erratic and out of balance, material becomes trapped and can block waste from moving at a normal pace. The bowel may become sluggish and slow, resulting in alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Bloating, cramping and feelings of discomfort often appear after eating foods that cause flare-ups.
"Prescription for Nutritional Healing" states valerian root can help soothe your nerves, ease muscle cramps and promote relaxation. In the colon, it may help to regulate the contractions of the muscles that aid in the elimination of wastes.
Relaxation and Breathing Techniques
Stress can be a major factor in the severity and frequency of symptoms of IBS. Learning to relax and allowing your body to release tension through breathing and stretching may help reduce some of the symptoms of IBS.
Meditation with soft music can be very relaxing and allows your body a chance to rest. Deep breathing not only provides extra oxygen, it relaxes your body as well. Slow, deep breaths can allow your body to utilize the oxygen more efficiently. More oxygen helps your body to work more efficiently and with less irritation.
Alternative therapies should never take the place of conventional medical treatment. Incorporating alternative therapies with mainstream medical treatment under the supervision of a qualified physician may bring more, longer-lasting relief from your IBS symptoms.
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