Causes, Symptoms, & Natural Remedies for Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

by Shaun Dmello, expert review by Meghna Unhawane, B.Sc. (Home Science & Nutrition)
Published on In Health1 Comment

Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS), also known as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), is a chronic digestive disorder that affects the lining of the intestines, causing inflammation and ulceration. IBS symptoms like severe diarrhea and painful stool passage can vary in severity, increasing the risk of indigestion and nutrient malabsorption considerably.

While there are many diseases included under the term IBS, the two most common ones are:

  • Ulcerative Colitis – causes inflammation in the large intestine
  • Crohn’s Disease – usually affects the small intestine but if not treated in time can also harm the colon

IBS Causes & Risk Factors

  • Genetics
  • Weak/malfunctioning immune system
  • Smoking

IBS Symptoms

The most painful symptom, however, would be the development of anal fissures. This refers to the condition of wear and tear of skin around the anal canal. A common problem among IBS patients, anal fissures typically develop as a result of severe diarrhea and faulty eating habits.

The condition is classified as acute or chronic, depending on the duration and severity of symptoms, which include bleeding from the anal canal and sharp pain or itching around the anus before or after the passage of stools. Acute anal fissures usually heal within 6 weeks without intervention, while chronic anal fissures require treatment prescribed by a doctor.

IBS Foods to Avoid

  • Yeast
  • Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Gluten (if allergic)
  • Dairy products

Natural Remedies for IBS

Follow An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

IBD mostly occurs in people who do not follow a healthy diet. Some foods that you should include in your diet are cod liver oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, ginger powder, and turmeric powder. A review of clinical and experimental studies confirmed the therapeutic potential of many of these foods in the treatment of IBS.  These foods provide relief from IBS symptoms of inflammation, while helping strengthen the digestive system.

Drink Water

At times, getting relief can be as simple as increasing your fluid intake! IBS puts you at risk of severe dehydration, making oral rehydration especially important. If, like many of us, you have a tough time remembering to drink water, set reminders or use a water reminder app on your phone.

Herbal Teas

Instead of sipping on cup after cup of coffee or tea, cut back on the caffeine and stay hydrated with herbal teas. Ginger and green tea are highly recommended for gastrointestinal diseases like IBD because of their proven anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. As pointed out in the study “Polyphenols in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and acute pancreatitis”, many of these benefits could be attributed to the presence of anti-inflammatory polyphenols like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea.

Eat Gut-Healing Foods

To hasten recovery, promote healing, and relieve inflammation of the intestinal lining, make it a point to include coconut oil in your diet. The use of aloe vera juice for IBS recovery can also help, as it stimulates good gut bacteria, while its enzymes assist in the breakdown of food. You can also use Ayurvedic treatments like Kairali Shaddharana Choornam to treat indigestion and bloating.

The Bottom Line

Although not a life-threatening condition in itself, if not treated properly there is a risk of IBS complications that can be fatal. Depending on the severity of the condition, pharmaceutical and surgical intervention may be required, but in most cases, lifestyle and dietary changes prove adequate in the management of IBS. So, get moving and protect yourself with these natural remedies for IBS instead of delaying it to the point where you require expensive and invasive treatments.

References:

  • Ghasemian, M., Owlia, S., & Owlia, M. B. (2016). Review of Anti-Inflammatory Herbal Medicines. Advances in Pharmacological Sciences2016, 9130979. http://doi.org/10.1155/2016/9130979
  • Shapiro, H., Singer, P., Halpern, Z., & Bruck, R. (2007). Polyphenols in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and acute pancreatitis. Gut56(3), 426–435. http://doi.org/10.1136/gut.2006.094599
  • Langmead, L., Feakins, R. M., Goldthorpe, S., Holt, H., Tsironi, E., Silva, A. D., . . . Rampton, D. S. (2004). Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis [Abstract]. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 19(7), 739-747. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2004.01902.x
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Comments

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