Medicine Information

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Simple Self-Help Tips


If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you will know how difficult it is to treat. Doctors can be dismissive of IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating, and when treatment is offered it may only help for a short while before the distressing symptoms return.

Sufferers often find that they have to deal with the symptoms themselves, through self-help methods and supplements, rather than by using conventional medicines. However, this does not mean that there is no hope of improvement. By sharing their experiences, sufferers can learn a lot about what really helps to ease IBS.

All the self-help tips in this article have come from IBS sufferers who have found a way to control their irritable bowels. Before trying any form of self-help, please make sure that you have your doctor's approval, and do check that anything you try will not interfere with any medication you are taking.

Calcium tablets

Linda, who suffers from severe diarrhea, says: "What has helped me for more than two years is calcium carbonate, an over-the-counter supplement. I take three tablets a day, one at each meal. The most success has come from using any formula of calcium supplement that is like Caltrate 600 Plus with vitamin D and minerals. The only side effect is at the beginning of taking the calcium you may have some gas or indigestion, but this usually goes away after taking a regular dose for a few days."

If you suffer from constipation rather than diarrhea, you could try magnesium supplements instead, as these can have a slight laxative effect.

Digestive enzymes and probiotics

Kim, who also suffers from bad diarrhea, says: "I tried taking digestive enzymes with acidophilus and found significant relief within three days. I am not afraid to eat now, but find that I still cannot eat very much refined sugar or high fibre vegetables. I have also added a cup or two per day of peppermint and chamomile tea. When I do have an episode it occurs late in the day and by the next morning I am feeling back to normal."

Looking at your diet

Laura describes how a close examination of her diet helped her IBS: "I was placed on every kind of medication, and sometimes they worked in the short term, sometimes they didn't work at all. The doctor finally suggested trying to alter my diet in cycles, and we discovered that eating meat was my problem. I became a vegetarian and no longer have constant problems. Sometimes I even go years without any pain at all. It's worth all the effort you put into it when you finally feel better."

Mina also found that dietary change helped control her symptoms, alongside traditional medication: "I've made a number of changes to my diet. I've eliminated milk and mostly any dairy, fried foods, sugar for the most part, pop, alcohol, potato chips, spicy food, rice, pasta and bread. Most recently I'm eliminating flour. But my best friend for the last couple of years has been Imodium Quick Dissolve tablets. I don't ever leave home without them. I just have to make sure I don't overdo it. If I ever become immune to the wonder drug I am gonna be a real mess!"

Flaxseed

Watching your diet is sometimes not enough to completely control the symptoms, and natural or herbal supplements can help, as Marion discovered: "After about six months of a horrendously restrictive diet (ultra low-fat vegan with no raw veggies or fruit except banana) and a lot of Metamucil, I managed to get it sort of under control. But if I deviated from the diet, the chronic diarrhea would come back. Someone I met told me that she had helped her IBS by taking a tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed with a glass of water or juice every morning.

I thought it was another crackpot cure, but eventually I decided to try it. She had told me that pre-ground flaxseed didn't work because flax seed starts to oxidize as soon as you grind it and that whole flax seeds are no good either, because they cannot be digested properly. After years of IBS, in about two weeks it just went away. I cannot believe that I now have perfectly normal, regular bowel movements."

Fiber, water and yoga

Pam, who struggles with constipation, has developed a combination of things which work for her: "I drink Metamucil (psyllium fibre) every day and try to relax, pray or meditate, even do a little yoga. The more I make myself relax and take time to de-stress the better I can manage my problem. I know time for yourself is very hard to come by sometimes but I have to if I'm going to manage this. I try to drink at least three bottles of water a day. This is also hard sometimes but I have to take care of me the best I can. I also take a mild anti-depressant. This has helped a bunch in my stress department and in turn has helped my IBS."

Stress and IBS

Daniel believes that his symptoms are related to his emotions and stress: "I thought that when I was stuck on the toilet, experiencing the most severe cramps, thinking I was about to pass out from the pain, feeling like I was about to throw up, I was the only one. I'm still trying to work it out but I believe it has a lot to do with my psychological state. I say this because although I don't get too stressed out at any one moment, I do have general worries about money and life. I tend to find when I'm not worrying about these things I don't get the pain as much, if at all.

It's easier said than done of course, I can't just stop worrying about money or my future, but being aware of these things seems to help - being optimistic and knowing that everything is only temporary. I have been taking Colpermin (peppermint capsules) as a preventative which often helps and for a while I took painkillers which I think helped."

Soluble versus insoluble fiber

Some nutritionists believe that IBS sufferers' intestines react differently to soluble and insoluble fiber, and this has been Stu's experience: "After trying all kinds of drugs and healthy eating, my pains were still there. I found by accident that it wasn't so much what I ate but whether I ate it on a full stomach or not. My failsafe is pasta on an empty stomach, I get no reaction - it is soluble fibre that settles the colon apparently. I quickly searched on the internet for recipes high in soluble fibre and I have improved.

Most significantly though I am on no medication and this puts me in control of the IBS, not the other way around. I think this is important as stress certainly can trigger the symptoms off. I don't avoid insoluble fibre as it is essential for the body, but I recommend that you eat it on a full stomach."

Sophie Lee has suffered from IBS for more than 15 years. She runs the IBS Tales website at http://www.ibstales.com where you can read hundreds of personal experiences of IBS and self-help tips.


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Science Daily

Distinct human mutations can alter the effect of medicine
Science Daily
By mining existing data sets they have mapped the extent to which mutations occur within GPCR drug targets in individuals and studied what impact these mutations could have on the therapeutic effect of medicine. "We estimate that an average of 3 ...

and more »


UCSF News Services

2018 Precision Medicine World Conference to Feature UCSF Faculty
UCSF News Services
For the third consecutive year, UC San Francisco is co-sponsoring the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) in January 2018 to share the latest in the rapidly evolving space. Renamed from the Personalized Medicine World Conference, the annual ...



International Atomic Energy Agency

Remarks at Conclusion of International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine
International Atomic Energy Agency
I understand that it has been a productive meeting. I thank all of you for taking part and sharing your insights and experience in this very important area. Nuclear and radiation safety is a national responsibility, but the IAEA's 168 Member States ...



Healthcare IT News

Siemens Healthineers buys Fast Track Diagnostics for precision medicine tech
Healthcare IT News
Adding Fast Track Diagnostics molecular-testing technologies enables hospitals to target conditions such as respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis, hepatitis, infections of the immunosuppressed, tropical diseases, sexually transmitted ...

and more »


Newsweek

History of Medicine: Ancient Poop Reveals Parasitic Worms Described by Hippocrates 2500 Years Ago
Newsweek
Researchers studying prehistoric poop on the Greek island of Kea have finally identified the parasitic worms that Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician widely considered the father of modern medicine, described in his famous medical texts 2,500 ...

and more »


Mirror.co.uk

Why you should never take cough medicine when you're ill
Mirror.co.uk
Coughs and colds are rampant in the UK at the moment after a sudden turn in the weather. People probably regretted playing in all that snow as soon as they started sneezing. And in the run-up to Christmas, desperate to be well for the festive season ...



Personalized Medicine Faces 4 Key Challenges in the US Marketplace
AJMC.com Managed Markets Network
The landscape for the regulation of personalized medicine is still in its infancy. Despite the FDA's strides in producing draft guidance and other documents that concern a regulatory pathway for personalized medicine diagnostics (such as the 2017 ...



Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Study prompts new ideas on cancers' origins
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
“As scientists, we have focused a good deal of attention on understanding the role of stem cells in the development of cancers, but there hasn't been a focus on mature cells,” said senior investigator Jason C. Mills, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in ...

and more »


Science Trends

The Missing Link For Effective Regenerative Medicine: A Novel Source Of Highly Differentiable Stem Cells
Science Trends
Finding a reliable source of cells with wide differentiation capacity in adult organisms would provide a promising tool for regenerative medicine, specifically in facilitating autologous treatment. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are classified as ...

and more »


KXLH Helena News

Medicine Springs Mineral Therapy makes Top 10 list
KXLH Helena News
Medicine Springs Mineral Therapy, a Montana business featured last year in our weekly Montana Made segment, has been named one of the best products of 2017 by a national publication. Vitamin Retailer Magazine named Medicine Springs Mineral Therapy to ...

and more »

Google News

home | site map | Dr. Thad Thomas
© 2006