Naturopath Sydney

IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is an umbrella term for a variety of digestive symptoms like bloating, abdominal spasms and cramping, gas, alternating constipation and diarrhoea, mucus and bleeding. The pain that often accompanies IBS tends to be eased by a bowel movement.

It appears that both psychological and dietary factors can affect the muscles in the bowel wall, causing them to malfunction. This can cause pain and constipation for days, weeks, and even months. An IBS sufferer may also experience diarrhoea or loose bowel movements for an unspecified amount of time. Either situation can lead to many other symptoms such as back and leg pain, headaches, fatigue, irritability, nausea and depression. Some people’s symptoms are so encompassing, it disrupts their social life.

Our nervous system and our digestive processes are highly related (most people get the ‘urge to go’ before an exam or when we’re scared or excited about something). The bowels of the IBS sufferer however, tend to be extremely hypersensitive to any emotional, mental or chemical (food) triggers.

Whilst IBS most commonly affects young adult women, it can also affect any person at any age. The good news is that IBS can be treated successfully with natural medicine. Treatments vary depending on the individual, however they usually involve herbal nerve relaxants, antispasmotics, digestive tonics, dietary changes and supplementation. Food sensitivities are usually involved so it’s important to check for these. Fibre and water are obviously important, as are healthy bowel bacteria. Fruits and vegetables (especially bananas, asparagus, tomato, onion and garlic) are important ‘prebiotics’, meaning they encourage the growth of the friendly bacteria.

Tips for a healthier you

  • Sprinkle 1tsp of psyllium husks onto cereal or in a glass of water
  • Drink chamomile and fennel tea to settle an upset tummy
  • Reduce stress to directly reduce IBS symptoms
  • Probiotic capsule will help restore gut flora balance