IBS, known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which should not be confused with IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, can reek major havoc in someone’s life. The excessive bouts of burping, cramping, farting, diarrhea, constipation and bloating can, quite frankly, ruin one’s love life, entertainments and ability to work or travel.
It is hard to predict when symptoms will occur. They generally present themselves after eating and can last up to several hours for many days and even months. It can be very embarrassing for the sufferer and hard for others to understand a person’s excuses to not socialize or to curtail activities.
Consult your doctor to assure your symptoms are not of an inflammatory nature or life threatening. Fever, bloody stools and fatigue are not considered symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome but are indications of a more serious condition. To help manage your IBS, become a health detective and investigate your emotional state and your diet.
IBS isn’t something that comes on suddenly. In most cases it clearly relates to some life changes that have occurred – a big argument, final exams, giving a presentation, job hunting or other life challenges which can be stressful. As we age, our habitual ways of dealing with life can wear out our systems, tax our enzyme reserves and weaken our intestinal balance. It may even be the case that something in our past, that we were not able to deal with (or digest), is secretly still plaguing us. Alternative healthcare recognizes the emotional factors that contribute to a digestive imbalance. With IBS, stress, depression and anxiety can be part of the cycle of digestive irritation.
Another fundamental point of alternative healthcare is to take note of everything we are eating and drinking as it may be triggering gastrointestinal discomfort. Today’s restaurant and fast foods lack nutrition, beginning with poor quality ingredients and then processing with artificial additives, preservatives and chemicals. The process of cooking food reduces the enzymes, phyto-nutrients and vitamins. Much of restaurant food is microwaved, which distorts and deforms the molecules in food, making it’s nutrients less useable, and possibly even toxic.
On the diet front, a simple supplement of food enzymes and probiotics can strengthen our ability to digest fats, sugars, carbohydrates and proteins, as well as keep our intestines full of healthy bacteria. One should cut back on foods that offer low nutritional value or foods that create a digestive disturbance and replace them with simple, healthy foods.
On the emotional front, I’m not an expert although I have benefited from many therapies such as spiritual guidance, meditation, talk therapy and journaling. Today more than ever before it’s okay to be overwhelmed and seek help, regardless of how silly or weak it might seem to you. If your body is sending you signals, it’s important to pay attention.
Like the common cold, there doesn’t seem to be a cure for IBS, it’s just the way some of us respond to our environment. Fortunately it can be managed if we do the detective work and develop a plan for our own health.
Tips on natural behaviors that may help the IBS sufferer
- Include fermented foods with healthy bacteria in your diet such as non-sweetened yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sauerkraut, miso and kimchi.
- Slices of ginger before or with a meal, and ginger tea aid with digestion.
- Enjoying moderate daily exercise and getting good rest improves digestion and well-being.
- One raw or lightly steamed meal daily adds enzymes and fiber such as: mixed green salad, fruit, veggies and greens.
- Supplement with vitamins and minerals: Trace minerals and electrolytes, Magnesium/calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin D3
- High grade food enzymes and probiotics assure you of a proper balance of intestinal flora.
- Eat less, eat slower. Eat half as much as you would normally or do a periodic half-day fast.
- Avoid drinking iced drinks with meals.
- Avoid eating while driving, standing up, watching the news, or being heavily engaged in work. Create a calm space while eating.
- Don’t eat while upset. Wait until you’ve calmed down.
- Eat the last meal of the day three hours before you go to bed.
Universal Formulas’ products to support healthy digestion
Flora-Zymes has all the enzymes needed to digest fats, proteins, sugars and carbohydrates plus healthy bacteria for the colon and trace minerals with electrolytes.
EB Digestives is a high potency complex of enzymes needed to digest fats, proteins, sugars and carbohydrates plus healthy bacteria for the colon and trace minerals with electrolytes.
Bifidophilus are living microorganisms which improve intestinal microbial balance, thus inhibiting pathogens and toxin producing bacteria. It also plays an important role in immune response and balancing the pH in the colon.
Tracite has 77 trace minerals and electrolytes. Just a few drops a day for six months will dramatically enhance your entire diet; replenish lost nutrients and a host of other benefits.
Quint-Essence is a whole meal, high-grade multi-vitamin, multi-mineral, enzyme, probiotic formula that provides essential nutrition to boost energy and stamina, both physically and mentally.
Mag-Cal contains two of the most needed minerals for overall health. Most adults require more than can be provided in a multi-vitamin, mineral supplement. Mag-Cal can be taken at bedtime and will not keep you awake but actually promote good sleep. It’s essential for proper nerve and muscle function, a healthy digestive system and emotional well-being.
For more clinical information on IBS: www.mayoclinic.com