That knife you feel twisting in your gut may be kidney stones if you’re a man (or very unlucky), but if it’s higher and centered, it could be IBS pain. If it’s the latter, you’ve got company – roughly 15% of the developed world has irritable bowel syndrome. Yet stats are one thing; what to do with it is another.
Some patients take anti-diarrheals and constipation medications for IBS pain. That’s the best way to go if your doctor says so. But in many cases you can address IBS pain with time, observation of your symptoms and some basic home remedies you should be doing regardless of your IBS symptoms.
You’ll want to watch your diet and get regular exercise, for example. Stress management can also help to keep IBS pain under control.
It goes without saying you need to watch what you eat if you have irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber can help if you have constipation. Think fruits like pears and apples, fresh vegetables (carrots and leafy greens) and whole grain breads and cereals.
Kidney, pinto and garbanzo beans are also high in fiber, but should be avoided if gas is a problem.
Your doctor may recommend a fiber supplement like psyllium – found in Metamucil, for example. You’ll need to follow the label instructions on any fiber supplement before using the product.
Drink plenty of fluids too, so your urine is clear or light yellow. That’s a sign you’re well-hydrated.
Remember also to keep a food journal, and note which foods trigger your IBS pain and related symptoms. That’s one of your best defenses in your fight against irritable bowel syndrome and the havoc it brings.
Exercise can reduce IBS pain, or at least make it more bearable. It can also improve quality of life factors, with better sleep, more energy and improved emotional state. Getting more exercise doesn’t have to be hard either – one study found that people with IBS boosted their activity levels with 20 to 60 minutes of mild to moderate exercise three to five times a week.
Think about walking, jogging, swimming and cycling.
The same study found that patients who did not increase their physical activity saw their IBS symptoms actually get worse.
Exercise is shown to reduce IBS pain, constipation, diarrhea and the lower quality of life that comes with irritable bowel syndrome. Do it often and stick with it. You may find it makes life more bearable.
Dr. Steven Lamm calls the gut ‘your surrogate brain’. There’s a reason for that – there are more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gut from the esophagus to rectum. Scientists call this your enteric nervous system (ENS). While it can’t think or do cognitive tasks, it communicates with your brain to create mood changes and affect your emotional state.
That may in part explain the higher-than-normal rate of depression among IBS patients.
The point we’re getting at is that it’s important to understand that connection between stress and the effect it has on your IBS pain. Lower your stress and your gut will thank you. That’s easier said than done, but the following steps are a good place to start:
Keep a Food Journal – We’ve touched on this already. A food journal helps you identify your symptoms and the events that occur with them. Write down the foods you consume and what happens when you eat them in this journal. From there you’ll begin to see patterns that can help moving forward.
Exercise Often – We’ve spoken about this too. Exercise not only helps reduce IBS pain, it lowers stress as well. Swimming, jogging or even brisk walking can all lower tension and make your life a little less stressful.
Get a Hobby – Sometimes it’s good to distract your mind from IBS pain. A hobby might help with that – be it sports, blogging, crafts, or anything else that floats your boat. Just do it often and try to have a little fun.
Join a Support Group – You’re not the only one living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Between 10% and 15% of people in the United States alone know the strife of IBS pain and the trouble it brings. So talk to them – look for an IBS support group to get you through the rough times. Find one here.
Talk to a Professional – There’s an interesting connection between the mind and the gut. We’ve talked about that already – in fact, that connection is so deep that one study links hypnosis to a 52% reduction in IBS pain without touching a laxative. Read this article on natural treatments for IBS to learn more about the mind-gut axis, and consider speaking with a psychologist, hypnotist, counselor or social worker to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome with the power of your brain.
There are no quick fixes for IBS pain. You need a well-rounded approach to reduce IBS – one that includes diet, exercise, stress management and an ongoing dialogue with your health care provider.
Still, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest probiotics can reduce IBS pain. You’ll get probiotics and other digestion-friendly herbals and nutrients in Intensive Colon Cleanse by Digestive Science – a gentle, 10 day cleanse designed to sooth the GI tract and reduce inflammation.
It’s not a quick fix, nor is it a 48 hour blitz of your gut that will do more harm than good. Rather, it’s a two-part natural system of two natural supplements designed to reduce IBS pain, improve digestion and help get your body back on track. The system is:
Intensive Colon Cleanse – Made with psyllium husk, magnesium, brown rice fiber and other gut-soothing nutrients, Intensive Colon Cleanse is designed to lower GI inflammation. You may find it improves digestion, with less constipation, bloating, gas and IBS symptoms, and may even help other, more visible areas, like skin and hair condition.
Maximum Digestion Probiotic – This is 10 strains of probiotics – the ‘friendly’ bacteria that help balance good vs harmful microflora. Maximum Probiotic Digestion is designed to reduce IBS pain and help the immune system.
Intensive Colon Cleanse by itself won’t get rid of IBS pain. But it’s another tool in your IBS help kit – one that uses natural remedies to soothe a troubled GI tract. Think of it as part of your comprehensive plan to identify your IBS symptoms and keep them manageable.
There’s hope for people with IBS pain. It’s a long road, admittedly, and bumpy at times, but a journey you’ll want to take to bring peace to your gut and your quality of life.