Natural Treatments for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a gastrointestinal condition that is becoming increasingly common. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea. Affecting roughly 15 percent of the American population, dealing with IBS can be frustrating, uncomfortable and costly. In fact, it is one of the primary reasons for absenteeism in the workplace.

While there are a few prescription drugs that can help with specific symptoms, other drugs have been banned by the FDA due to potentially dangerous side effects. This is why many frustrated sufferers with IBS turn to natural treatments. Studies have shown that several natural treatments can help ease uncomfortable IBS symptoms. In some cases, these treatments prove to be safer and more effective than prescribed medications.


Stimulating acupuncture points along the meridians of the stomach and large intestine helps to draw heat and dampness from the area, which eases IBS symptoms. Simultaneously, reinforcement techniques help to strengthen the immune system while reducing techniques help to relieve stress. All of these methods combine to help prevent future IBS symptoms.

Studies have suggested that acupuncture can provide relief from IBS, however patients must have regular treatments to benefit. Fortunately, this treatment is now covered under most insurance policies.


Because food is a common trigger of IBS symptoms, many sufferers participate in an elimination diet, which removes common allergens like corn, dairy, soy and wheat. Research shows that the removal of these allergens can help ease symptoms of IBS.


Often used in teas, dandelion root and burdock root are rich sources of inulin, which helps promote good liver and digestive health. Inulin is a pre-biotic or non-digestible food item that serves as fertilizer for the good bacteria in the colon.

Because it possesses antibacterial, antispasmodic, gas-relieving, and bile-producing properties, peppermint oil has been the focus of extensive research for treatment of IBS. Published in Phytomedicine, a 2005 review assessed the value of peppermint oil capsules for treatment of chronic abdominal pain and IBS in children.

Eight out of twelve studies reviewed determined that peppermint oil was more effective than a placebo. Three studies found that peppermint oil was equal to prescribed medicines for relaxation of intestinal smooth muscles.

To avoid breakdown of peppermint oil in the stomach resulting in potential esophageal reflux, experts recommend enteric-coated peppermint oil tablets.


For good health, the digestive tract requires certain quantities of "friendly" microorganisms. Probiotics are friendly, live microorganisms that are comparable to those found in the digestive tract. Probiotics can help ease and prevent a variety of health issues, particularly those that are digestive in nature. Scientists have conducted a number of promising clinical trials examining different probiotic strains. Daily Start is the best multivitamin with natural probiotics on the market. This natural probiotic supplement from the Institute for Vibrant Living can help support a healthy digestive tract.

Stress Management

Because a network of hormones and biochemicals links the brain to the gut, negative thoughts and feelings can affect digestion. Like many other health conditions, symptoms of IBS tend to worsen with stress. Studies show that techniques for stress management like deep breathing, hypnosis and yoga can improve symptoms of IBS.

Dealing with chronic symptoms of IBS can grow tiresome. Individuals who experience abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea may want to try any, or all of the natural methods mentioned above. Before starting a supplementary regimen however, always check with a health care provider. Also, make sure to purchase supplements from companies that adhere to good manufacturing practices for the most reliable and safe product

Read more on this topic:
The Best and Worst Foods for IBS
Simple Tips for Relieving Common Digestive Issues

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