How to Manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome Without Drugs

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. The cause of IBS remains unknown, but risk factors include stress, strong emotions, poor diet and bad lifestyle choices. Health experts also believe that genetics can be a factor to developing this condition. Usually, IBS is treated with a combination of drugs but you can deal with this disorder without using medications at all:

Stick to a Healthy, Balanced Diet

The most important thing to consider when managing IBS is to eat healthily and cleanly. Eliminate foods that trigger the IBS symptoms and boost your consumption of high-fiber foods. Fiber is an essential nutrient that bulks up the stool and reduce constipation. Loading up on berries, vegetables, grains and legumes reduce the risk of an IBS episode. If you’re not getting enough fiber from the food you eat, then consider taking fiber supplements such as psyllium or wheat dextrin.

Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise helps ease IBS symptoms. Working out can improve the quality of your life and diffuse stress. A study found that adding 20 to 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activities 3 to 5 times per week could ease IBS symptoms effectively. Biking, jogging, and running are great exercises to add to your new fitness routine.

Managing Stress

One of the most common triggers of IBS is stress. When you’re stressed out, the gastrointestinal tract becomes stressed out as well. This is why severe anger triggers abdominal cramps among patients who suffer from IBS.

There are many ways to cope with stress and the method you’ll use is a matter of preference. You can do yoga after work hours to release stress or take a long walk to calm frayed nerves. Vigorous activities such as swimming or brisk walking, helps reduce anxiety and release tension. Finally, you can reach out to support groups and interact with people who are also suffering from IBS. From here, you can get tips on how to cope with stress effectively.

Avoid Gluten

Gluten is a compound that accumulates in the intestines and gums up the gastrointestinal tract. This compound can trigger a wide range of digestive issues, including IBS. Avoiding the usual suspects – such as varieties and derivatives of wheat – is easy but some foods contain hidden gluten too. We recommend researching what types of foods contain hidden gluten so you can avoid them completely.

Reduce Dairy Consumption

Apart from eliminating gluten from your diet, reduce your dairy consumption too. Just like gluten, the lactose in dairy product is hard to process. Too much lactose can cause digestive problems and gastrointestinal issues. You don’t have to eliminate dairy products completely from your diet. You just need to be selective on the kinds of dairy products to get. It helps if you can take supplemental enzymes that can help you process lactose.

Be Wary of Laxatives

Laxatives may or may not help you recover from IBS symptoms. The effects of these drugs are dependent on how they were used. According to health experts at Mayo Clinic, be wary of OTC anti-diarrhea meds and laxatives such as Kaopectate or Imodium, polyethylene glycol or milk of magnesia.


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