Alternative Treatment for IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disease suffered by an estimated 25-45 million people in the United States. Symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, bloating, excess gas and irregular bowel movements. Symptoms can be brought on by a number of triggers including food allergies, anxiety, insomnia and stress. Although there is no known cure to IBS, there are alternatives to prescription medication that can help relieve symptoms. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are great alternative treatments for IBS. In addition to the information here, we’ve got a free IBS self-help tips sheet for you.
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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses herbal remedies to treat a number of ailments and diseases including IBS. Here are some you can try on your own:
Peppermint has been studied and used to help treat IBS discomfort. Because it is a natural antispasmodic, peppermint can help decrease muscle spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. Common ways to use peppermint include peppermint tea or peppermint oil, both can be found at your local health store and most grocery stores. Peppermint is cooling, and may help if you have acid reflux, and/or burning abdominal pain.
Ginger can also be used to help IBS symptoms. Ginger works as an anti-inflammatory and is thought to strengthen the gastric lining and decrease nausea. You can buy ginger tea as well as make your own by boiling water with ginger root. Ginger is warming, and may help if you have have nausea, low appetite, gas and bloating.
Fennel can immensely help bloating and gas due to IBS. Fennel is considered a carminative, meaning it has properties that prevent the formation of excess gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Fennel can also help heartburn, indigestion and common stomach pain. You can find fennel seeds in your local health food store to make tea.
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat chronic abdominal pain, bloating and other IBS symptoms. There has been at least one study done that specifically looked at acupuncture as a treatment for IBS. Acupuncture has been shown to relieve pain and stress, which are common triggers for IBS. This is done by regulating blood flow and Qi (pronounced “chee”) through acupuncture points.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that normally live in your gut. It has been thought that those with IBS do not have enough probiotics in their intestinal tract. You can easily add probiotics to your diet by taking probiotic supplements found at your local health store.
Meditation and Exercise
Qigong, meditation and exercise are excellent stress relievers, and in turn can relieve IBS symptoms that are commonly caused by stress and anxiety. Not only does exercise release endorphins that help fight stress, but regular physical activity can help regulate your gastrointestinal system.
Research done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on meditation and IBS found that women who practiced mediation had around a 38 percent reduction in symptoms, according to U.S. News. Meditation focuses on deep breathing and staying in the moment to relax the mind and body.
Alternative treatment for IBS, including TCM and acupuncture can largely decrease your IBS symptoms and help you live a more pain-free life! Your acupuncturist can diagnose your triggers and prescribe the correct herbs to help your individual symptoms. In the meantime, get my Free IBS Tips . Please let us know if you have any questions, and to find out how we can help you feel better now.