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Home > Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndromeby Dave Foreman
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common ailments of the bowel (intestines) and affects an estimated 15% of US citizens. IBS is best described as a functional disease, meaning either the muscles or nerves that control the organs are not working normally. The nerves that control the organs include, not only the nerves that lie within the muscles of the organs, but nerves of the spinal cord and brain. It is for this reason that chiropractic therapies can be beneficial for those with IBS.
WHAT CAUSES IBS?
In IBS, the movement of the digestive tract is impaired, but the cause is still unknown. No test can diagnose IBS. And because the symptoms of IBS occur with so many diseases, a long list of conditions must be ruled out before IBS can be diagnosed.The main symptoms are abdominal pain or discomfort occurring with constipation or diarrhea. Other common symptoms are bloating, mucous in the stools, and gas. Symptoms often are so mild folks are not prompted to see a doctor. Since we don't understand what is causing IBS, it is good to know what the potential risk factors are. About 80% of IBS sufferers are women; it is more likely to occur in people in their teens through their 40s. People with stress are at risk, as are those with sensitivities to food (gluten, eggs, dairy, beans, etc), and those taking certain medications, especially antibiotics and antidepressants.
I feel that by controlling certain lifestyle factors, you can achieve a "cure" for this condition. The dietary changes are relatively simple. First, remove all foods that you sense can trigger or exacerbate your condition. If you are unsure, then keep a food diary for at least 30 days. In one column, write down everything you put in your mouth. In the other column, keep track of how you are feeling throughout the day.You will soon notice a pattern and can eliminate the offending foods. Also, since food sensitivities play a role, look into the ELISA test.
A sedentary lifestyle leads to a lazy digestive system. Get up and move.Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day will have marked improvement on your digestive woes. Mind and spirit are also key. Since many people with IBS have stress management issues, getting your mind/body straight will have almost an immediate impact. Positive thinking, prayer, meditation, whatever you can do to change your stress levels will help get you on the path to better health.
Last but NOT least, supplements will have an immediate impact. Most Americans don't get enough fiber. I recommend flaxseed fiber. Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, lignans and EFAs, which all benefit this condition. If you are not accustomed to using fiber, I suggest increasing your daily intake by 5 grams per week until your daily intake (diet included) is 35-40 grams per day). Make sure to drink plenty of water (at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day) with your fiber. If you don't, your condition may get worse before it gets better.
The combination of Peppermint,Thyme and Rosemary oils in an enteric-coated capsule has been shown extremely helpful in decreasing spasms, cramping, bloating and reducing inflammation. Chamomile has a similar benefit.
Cleansing the liver and then maintaining liver health with digestive bitters like artichoke or dandelion can provide added benefits for IBS patients. I would start with a "whole body" cleanse and then move to a Liver Cleanse (Enzymatic Therapy or Renew Life). After these cleansing programs, add either of the herbs mentioned above or milk thistle.They should help your symptoms over time.
Lastly, I suggest taking digestive enzymes.To help with digestion I recommend protease, lipase, amylase and cellulose. If you're lactose intolerant, make sure your enzyme contains lactase. Here is my protocol:
Renew Life makes an incredible product that can be used instead of Chamomile tea. Intestinal Bowel Soother helps bowel health in many ways and provides an abundance of help for IBS suffers.