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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If the contractions of the intestinal muscles, which digest the food, are irregular, they may cause stomach-ache, diarrhoea and/or constipation. This is known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Doctors are yet to find the cause and cure for IBS. However, they suspect that high stress levels and certain food items play a major role in aggravating the problem. People who have IBS learn to live with it and find their own ways to deal with it. If you’re yet to find a remedy that may give you some relief, try out these home remedies.

Know what’s not good for your intestine

  • Minimise eating or drinking items that have caffeine
  • Avoid eating spicy food
  • Cut down on fried foods, dairy foods, meats, oils, margarine, and other fatty foods. They aggravate the severity of IBS.
  • Avoid foods such as cabbage, brussels sprouts etc. that cause flatulence.
  • Avoid beer and wine. Beer contains carbohydrates and wine contains tannins, both of these can trigger the IBS symptoms.
  • Say ‘No’ to smoking because while the nicotine in the cigarette will aggravate the IBS symptoms, the air going to your digestive track will make the situation worse.
  • Don’t eat sweets or chew gums that have artificial sweeteners, because they are difficult to digest.
  • Don’t take too much food at once, rather have small portions of food at regular intervals. Overeating may overload your intestine and adversely affect your digestive system.
  • Don’t eat fast. You need to chew your food properly for it to become less difficult for the stomach to digest.

Eat foods that have fibre

  • Eat foods such as whole grains, green vegetables, beans, nuts, bran, and pulses. These items are rich in insoluble fibre, which helps the food pass through the intestine faster in IBS .
  • Porridge, beans, and fruits, such as apples, grapefruit, and strawberries are a very good source of soluble fibre. Also available as supplements in the medical store, soluble fibre makes the digestive process effective and faster.
  • Suddenly adding too much fibre in your diet may cause wind and bloating. Introduce fibre in your diet gradually with 8g of it daily and then take it up to 30g daily.
  • It’s an age-old remedy for IBS. Drink plenty of water- at least 2 litres of it in a day. This will keep the fibres moving in your digestive system and you will not feel constipated.

Say ‘Yes’ to yoghurt
Diarrhoea drains the good bacteria out of the body and that creates an open ground for the bad ones to flourish. Yoghurt contains L. acidophilus bacteria, which are good for the digestive system and can give relief.

Herbs to help you

  • Ginger tea can give you some relief in IBS. Grate a half teaspoon of fresh root ginger into a cup, pour in hot water, let it steep for ten minutes, strain and drink it. Ginger tea bags are also available in the market.
  • Peppermint tea may also give you a lot of relief, as it relaxes your intestinal muscles, reduces spasms, and relieves painful wind. However, if you’re prone to heartburn, taking peppermint is not advisable for you.
  • Aloe vera is known for its several healing powers. If you’re suffering from IBS, taking aloe vera extract will calm your stomach down. Take one to two tablespoons of aloe vera juice daily as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Camomile, fennel, and hops are the answers to your woes. They will reduce wind pain and relieve intestinal cramping. You may ask a medical herbalist to mix and make a tonic of these herbal extracts. You can also take each herb individually or in a combination as a herbal tea.

Maintain an exercise routine
Make special efforts to keep your body fit and active. A 30 minute exercise routine can work wonders for you. It will relieve stress, keep your mind and heart fresh, help your digestive system function smoothly, and make your IBS less severe.

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