What is IBS??
Irritable Bowel Syndrome(or IBS as it is more commonly known) is a symptom-based diagnosis characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits. There is no known cause and “currently” there is no known cure. I say “currently” as you never know what will be discovered today or tomorrow and I dislike intensely the words “there is no cure”. I believe these are some of the most cruel words that can be said to someone with a chronic illness – it can take away any thoughts of hope that one day there might be a cure and often the sufferer just gives up trying to find a way to get better.
It is thought that 1 in 10 people suffer from IBS at some stage in their lives.
Although the symptoms of IBS can be troublesome, the condition does not pose a serious threat to your health. It can be painful and debilitating, and can have a negative impact on your quality of life. However, with appropriate treatment you should be able to live a normal, full and active life.
So what are the symptoms and how do you help ease them?
The symptoms of IBS are usually worse after eating and tend to come and go in bouts.
Most people have a flare-up of symptoms that lasts two to four days. After this time, the symptoms usually improve but do not disappear completely.
The most common symptoms of IBS are:
- abdominal pain and cramping – often relieved by emptying your bowels
- a change in your bowel habits – such as diarrhoea or constipation or sometimes both
- bloating and swelling of your abdomen
- excessive wind (flatulence)
- an urgent need to go to the toilet
- a feeling that you need to open your bowels even if you have just been to the toilet
- a feeling you have not fully emptied your bowels
- passing mucus from your bottom
Due to the embarrassment, pain and discomfort of IBS, many people with the condition also have feelings of depression and anxiety
Is there something that I can do longer term to help myself?
First and foremost get advice from your GP if you think you may have IBS – it is important to have this diagnosed properly.
There are some things you can do for yourself straight away…..
- eat regular meals – little and often
- don’t skip meals or eat late at night
- don’t eat too quickly – take your time
- sit down to eat and chew your food well
- take regular exercise
- make time to relax and relieve stress
There are other tips for ways to help ease the symptoms of IBS – you will find these on the NHS site http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Irritable-bowel-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx It is certainly worth a read.
Treating IBS the Natural Way
Dealing with Stress:
If you are particularly stressed or have stressful situations in your life you may wish to try some form of excercise like tai-chi or yoga, or perhaps meditation to help you de-stress. You can easily download some really good meditation tracks from itunes.
I can recommend listening to Tim Row’s Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) which can be found at http://archive.org/details/YogaNidra/:80/a
I found it to be one of the most relaxing meditations I have ever listened to – but please if you are going to try this, use headphones and make sure you won’t be interrupted for the duration of the meditation.
Digestion of Food:
Try this “Mindfulness” way of eating your next meal. It isn’t easy and doesn’t feel natural at first but it will really help your digestive system. By chewing your food properly and eating more slowly your digestive system doesn’t have to work so hard!
Place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesn’t matter what the food is, but make it something you love to eat – if it’s a hot meal make sure it is nice and hot and served on a pre-heated plate (you’ll know why when you try this!!)
Now comes the hard part. Once you have taken the first mouthful put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. You’re hungry.
This experiment in eating, however, involves becoming aware of that reflexive urge to plow through your meal like you are staving to death. Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. Chew slowly. Stop talking. Really tune in to the texture of the food, the flavour of the food, the colour and the aroma of the rising steam.
Chew until you can chew no more and make sure you have swallowed it (and allowed the food to go right down to the stomach) before you take another fork full.
Continue this way throughout the course of a meal
This way of eating has two major benefits – 1) it will really aid the digestion of your food and 2) an added bonus of helping you to lose weight – when you eat your food this way it gives your stomach time to signal the brain to tell it when the stomach is full and so you don’t want to eat so much. When you eat your food quickly, you are able to eat more because you aren’t giving your stomach the time to signal to the brain before you have over-eaten.
Forever Living Products Aloe Vera Drinking Gel may also help you. This gel is as close to the fresh gel that is harvested from the leaf as it can possibly be with approximately 99% aloe gel. For Aloe Vera products to be effective they need to have a high concentration of Aloe Vera Gel (aloe barbadensis). The remaining 1 percent of components pack a powerful portion of vitamins, minerals, plant sterols, salcylic acid, amino acids, enzymes, sugar, lignins and more. The polysaccaraide part of the leaf has antibacterial and antiviral properties. The vitamins in aloe consist of antioxidants A, C and E, as well as thiamine, riboflavin and B12, choline and folic acid. Aloe consists a variety of minerals as well including iron, chromium, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium. With such an expansive list of good ingredients it is easy to see how there could be many benefits to using aloe vera. Taken from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/255743-what-is-an-aloe-barbadensis-leaf/#ixzz2QTF4152A
We have had great feedback from clients who believe the gel is easing their IBS symptoms. If you would like more information please get in contact with me on 07973 422632 or have a look at my website http://www.geraldinelay.myforever.com The drinking gel I refer to is the one in the yellow bottle.
There really is no need to put up with the symptoms you are suffering – there are so many ways out there to help and I hope this encourages you to find the way that works for you.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor am I medically trained and am not offering any medical advice. If you are suffering from IBS I do recommend you see your own GP