Dealing With IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)


6 Min Read

Increasing dietary fiber (wheat bran) is recommended to those IBS sufferers who experience constipation. It is advisable to eliminate allergenic foods from your diet, the most common of which are foods rich in dairy and grains. Remove refined sugar and all it's products such as confectionery and pastries and replace with small amounts of local honey or maple syrup to wean yourself off your sweet tooth. Support your gut with nutritional food supplements like enteric coated peppermint oil preparations, fiber supplements, artichoke supplements, and turmeric.

According to statistics, around 1/3 of us are affected by IBS at some time during our life and if I had a 50p for every client I have seen with a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) by their GP, I would be an incredibly wealthy nutritionist.

IBS is not a condition; but rather a variety of symptoms that, if the cause is not found, can lead on to become a condition such as diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease. IBS is often called ‘a functional disorder’ of the bowel; which basically means, a disturbance in bowel function without any change in structure or obvious cause and when diagnostic tests such as blood tests or endoscopies are carried out, the results do not reveal any obvious abnormality.

What is IBS?

According to medical criteria, in order to diagnose IBS, there must be at least 12 weeks (which need not be consecutive) in the preceding year, of abdominal discomfort or pain characterized by a minimum of two of the following fundamental three features:

-It is relieved by defecation
-It’s onset is associated with a change in frequency of stool
-It’s onset is associated with a change in appearance of stool.
The following symptoms also cumulatively support the diagnosis of IBS:
-Fewer than three bowel movements a week
-More than three bowel movements a day
-Hard or lumpy stools
-Loose or watery stools
-Straining during a bowel movement
-Needing to urgently rush to the loo
-Rumbling noises and excessive passage of wind
-Sharp pain felt low down inside the rectum
-Abdominal pain that is relieved by going to the loo
-A feeling of ‘not quite getting it all out’, incomplete bowel movement
-Mucus (a white sticky or stringy substance) is present in or around the stool
-A feeling of fullness, bloating or swelling in the abdomen

Other symptoms frequently reported are: headaches, dizziness, backache, passing urine frequently, tiredness, muscle and joint pains, indigestion, nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety and depression.

The modern diets and busy lifestyles that we lead can leave us all vulnerable to some of the above at times but the cumulative effect of many of these symptoms together can lead to an IBS diagnosis.

Dealing with IBS

What all these symptoms have in common is that they relate to a disturbance of the colon or large intestine although there is no reported physical abnormality and therefore no physical ‘cause’ as such. However there is much that can be done effectively and naturally to address the symptoms and therefore each person’s experience of this health phenomenon. The five primary areas of focus for natural treatment are:

Increasing Dietary Fibre

This is recommended to those IBS sufferers who experience constipation. The type of fibre most commonly recommended is wheat bran. However as those with digestive vulnerability, such as those with IBS have a heightened chance of developing food allergy. Instead choose fruit (stewed for easier digestion) and vegetable sources such as apples, pears, figs, green leafy vegetables or root vegetables such as squash or beetroot. These are also dense in antioxidants needed to heal the inflamed gut wall. Include at least two varieties of fibre with every meal to boost your intake.

Eliminate Allergenic Foods

The most recent studies on IBS have further documented the association between food allergy and an irritable bowel. According to a double blind challenge, the majority of patients with IBS (approx two-thirds!) have at least one food allergy and some have multiple allergies! The most common of these being dairy and grains. If you think this could be your problem, you can consult me for a food allergy test and elimination diet.

Remove Sugar From The Diet

Meals high in sugar encourage small intestine bacterial overgrowth by decreasing intestinal motility. It also causes the glucose running through our bloodstream to rocket and when this happens it causes this muscular rhythmic flow to slow down even further. This in effect causes muscular paralysis in the gut and food matter become sitting tenants. The answer is to remove refined sugar (that’s the packaged Tate & Lyle stuff) and all its products such as confectionary and pastries and replace with small amounts of local honey or maple syrup to wean yourself off your sweet tooth. Also be aware of those hidden sugars in ready-made foods.

Addressing Psychological Factors

This is a tricky one. Many of us live a very busy life and because we ‘manage’ it day in and day out we may grow used to the stress that it brings with it. Unfortunately we are not always aware that are emotional and physical health is not managing this lifestyle quite so well and as a result conditions such as IBS can develop. Increased motility (the rhythmic flow again) of the colon in the gut, during exposure to stressful situations, has been shown to occur in those with IBS. The gut is also known as the ‘second brain’ because it has many of the neurotransmitters also found in the brain. This explains well the idea of having ‘butterflies in your tummy’ or a ‘gut instinct’ and further explains the link between emotions and gut function. Psychotherapy in the form of relaxation therapy, biofeedback, counseling or stress management training has been shown to reduce symptoms of IBS. Deep breathing is not only relaxing but provides the body with a greater source of oxygen for healing.

Support With Food Supplements

Sometimes the gut could do with a helping hand and the following nutritional supplements have been shown to be of much benefit:
-Enteric coated peppermint oil preparations (0.2-0.4ml) twice per day between meals.
-Fibre supplements (such as psyllium husks) 3-5grams per day before bed and with plenty of water. This has been shown to be effective in patients with both constipation and/or diarrohea.
-Lactobacillus Acidophilus or lactobacillus plantarum.
-Artichoke supplements produced an overall reduction in IBS symptoms in 71% within an average of ten days in a recent study. Take 320mg of Artichoke extract 3 times per day.
-Turmeric and its incredible anti-inflammatory properties may also help to relieve IBS symptoms.

Despite more research and public awareness of IBS, no cure has been found. Medical treatment may vary from advice on diet and relaxation to the use of anti-spasmodic drugs and low dose antidepressants.



Emma Olliff
Star Expert

Emma is a qualified Nutritional Therapist (DipNT CNM) and is registered with BANT (British Association for Nutritional Therapy) and CMA (Complimentary Medical Association). She is passionate about helping her clients achieve optimum health through diet and lifestyle.

Emma Olliff
Star Expert

Emma is a qualified Nutritional Therapist (DipNT CNM) and is registered with BANT (British Association for Nutritional Therapy) and CMA (Complimentary Medical Association). She is passionate about helping her clients achieve optimum health through diet and lifestyle.

Post a Comment
NicolaHeatley 5pts

My symptoms are managed by taking Forever Living aloe Vera gel . I just wouldn't be without it, so much so that I became a distributor and recommend it to all my friends & family whether they have digestion problems or not. www.nickaloe.myforever.biz/store

Tomas Paal
Tomas Paal 5pts

Hi all, I have had acid reflux, inidigestion and IBS problems for a long time. After my girlfriend got me drinking ionized alkaline water everything went back to normal within a couple of weeks. I encourage everyone to check out my link about ionized alkaline water http://www.hydrate.life/ and see the videos below. I hope this helps anyone who may need it. As it helped me! You maight also try peppermint oil gel capsules. Cheers

Sahel Oberoi
Sahel Oberoi 5pts

Why you don't explain the disease in Ayurvedic terms or else you shouldn't name this website Ayurveda. In AYURVEDA IBS is called GRAHANI and there are so many treatments available that can cure GRAHANI in just few days. You guys should go in depth and should only suggest TRUE AYURVEDIC remedies.

Terresa Endsley
Terresa Endsley 5pts

I tried some of these herbs and they work for me .....it all got better. Worth checking into.....peace.

Becka Hall
Becka Hall 5pts

My IBS was cured when I left my job for unpaid leave and I also was taking 2 different strains of probioticsStress and good gut Bacteria are all I needed to control :-)

Gary Wardell
Gary Wardell 5pts

Basically, if you eat glyphosate or other anti-microbial chemicals on a regular basis, like most people do, you devastate the gut micorbiome, and that can lead to all sorts of problems.I am healing form a leaky gut and have researched this.

Ayurveda 5pts

We will work on it! Thanks for your feedback :)

Gary Wardell
Gary Wardell 5pts

You don't mention leaky gut which has been shown to be associated with all of these symptoms, nor do you mention the gut microbiota which is important in this area.

Debbie Crostic
Debbie Crostic 5pts

This is basically what I've been following for the last couple of weeks, until Sunday! LOL

Deepi Sair
Deepi Sair 5pts

I am suffering from longtime, this is the one

Deepi Sair
Deepi Sair 5pts

Before go to bed with Warm water one tea spoon, check your tolerance how much you can take, overdose can cause loose motions

John Craft
John Craft 5pts

Thx for article! I also have IBS-C for five years and it is very hard to deal with this condition. I find this exercises http://www.ibs-relief.org/videos.html very helpful when it comes to pain, bloating and constipation.

Theo Connell
Theo Connell 5pts

Ibs is usually caused by a fungal infection like candida, fruits and vegetables and cutting out all forms of sugar and taking a lot of probiotics to restore gut flora will get rid of this so called ibs

Judy Jacobs
Judy Jacobs 5pts

Take a healthy cleanse to take out all impurities and this problem is solved

Manish Pawar
Manish Pawar 5pts

Thanks Jatin Wadhwa 1-2 Nye ilaj mile ...krta hu try ...as here written medical treatment to h ni iska desi trike hi dekhte h

Ginger Tarbuck
Ginger Tarbuck 5pts

I was told I had IBS for years, but what I really had had was Dyterverculytis. I lost 1 yard of my intestine due to this mistake.

Caitanya Dasi
Caitanya Dasi 5pts

Thanks for this. I subscribe to an IBS newsletter, which gives all this info. There is no cure at this time.

Theresa Hall
Theresa Hall 5pts

Is it normal to still have mild pains and diarrhea after a colonoscopy??

Manisha Budhiraja
Manisha Budhiraja 5pts

Dealing with calligraphy leak syndrome ... pls tel me wat I do ?

Jacki China Scott
Jacki China Scott 5pts

You were diagnosed with IBS. 9 out of 10 you've become allergic to milk ( dairy products) I myself was diagnosed with IBS the pills they prescribed made it worse and had me in a fetal position. I remembered that my baby brother was born with a milk intolerance. So I figured that maybe my body just became super sensitive to it all of a sudden. I took myself off of milk cheeses and processed foods. My stomach has been fine and I can rest at ease now when going to the bathroom. This is a lot cheaper remedy and will keep you off those nasty pills and away from their side affects. Doctors make money off of the pills they proscribe people. They make money off of you and get a compensation from the company for prescribing them to you.

Joan Marion
Joan Marion 5pts

So sorry to hear : ( You have my sympathies.

Indrakshy Owens
Indrakshy Owens 5pts

En un resumen: Sindrome del intestino irritable, se caracteriza por : Sentir alivio al defecar,cambios en las heces, puede dar diarrea O estreñimiento,urgencia por ir al baño, dolor punzante dentro del recto ,dolor abdominal que se alivia al ir al baño, sensacion de necesitar evacuar mas, mucosidad en las heces, sentirse inchado y muy lleno. El colon sufre disturbios ,pero no muestra alteraciones fisicas ni cambios,las 5 cosas primordiales a enfocarnos cuando se sufre de (IBS=SII) sindrome del. Intestino irritable son :1)Consumir mas fibra dietetica (frutas, verduras entre ellas manzanas, peras, higos, hojas verdes, vegetales de raiz)2) Eliminar alimentos que causen alergias como los lacteos y los granos.3) Eliminar los azucares de la dieta, ya que fomentan el crecimiento de bacterias en los intestinos.4) Factores. Psicologicos, ya que el cerebro y el estomago estan conectados,los problemas y preocupaciones como el estres son factores que hacen que esta enfermedad empeore,respiraciones profundas. Y relajacion ayudan mucho.5) Suplementos como : aceite de menta 2 veces por dia entre comidas. (0.2-0.4ml) Fibra como psyllium husks 33-5grams por dia antes de acostarse con bastante agua. - probioticos (bacterias saludables) Lactobacillus Acidophilus or lactobacillus plantarum. Suplementos de artichoca a reducido las sintomas de SII en un 71% en 10 dias en un studio reciente.tome 320 mg. De extracto de artichoca 3 veces al dia.