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Alternative Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome


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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very difficult disease to diagnose and even more difficult to treat because each case is so unique in both origin and symptoms.  Roughly one third of IBS sufferers will display symptoms of constipation, another third will have diarrhea, and still another third will suffer with alternating bouts of both.  There is also a long list of associated symptoms which fade in and out of the picture unique to each situation.


Quite often IBS will raise its ugly head after a patient has completed a long course of antibiotics without sufficient supplementation of probiotics when finished.  Antibiotics kill indiscriminately the good and the bad bacteria in the gut.  Unless the good bacteria are reinstated (via probiotic supplements or food) the bad bacteria get a jump start on repopulating the intestinal tract unopposed and hence an imbalance occurs which can lead to IBS.


Foods that can help calm IBS

Naturally fermented "live" probiotic foods such as fermented vegetables, dairy and soy products are usually best.  Sauerkraut, clabber, yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, kefir, natto, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, tofu and unpasteurized beer are some of the most complete probiotics available.


Things that may help irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

According to Dr. Marcus Laux, there are two types of IBS.  Constipation-predominant IBS and  diarrhea-predominant IBS.  Constipation-predominant IBS may be a result of elevated norepinephrine levels -- which causes serotonin levels to decrease.  (Serotonin is made in the intestines, which is also where 95% of the body's supply is located -- most of the rest is in the brain, with trace amounts in the blood and other organs.)  Conversely, plasma serotonin is typically elevated in people with diarrhea-predominant IBS.


Since the drug Zelnorm imitates serotonin in the GI tract, it has recently become the constipation-predominant IBS treatment of choice.  Zelnorm moves the bowels by acting on nerve cells in the gut.  It aggravates diarrhea-predominent IBS, and is not generally effective for men or people over the age of 64.  Additionally, in cliical trials, Zelnorm was only 5% to 11% more effective than a placeby -- which means it doesn't even work for most women.  According to the package insert, Zelnorm works best during the first month of use and its benefits fade after three months.


Natural alternatives to Zelnorm

Enteric coated peppermint oil (inexpensive, safe and available) has been shown to be effective in reducing bloating, pain and discomfort.  However, if you have acid reflux or heartburn, you should first consult an informed healthcare provider for advice.


Fennel seed tea promotes healthy digestion and is also anti-spasmodic and therefore good for diarrhea-predominant IBS.  It can also be a welcome relief for bloating and gas pain -- which are often the hardest IBS symptoms to overcome.  It is a standard medical tea in Germany for dyspepsia.  Organic seeds are best and Heather's Tummy Tea is a good product.  The longer you steep the tea, the more powerful it will be.  Crush and break the seeds a bit between two spoons before steeping for maximum release of potency.


Gamma oryzanol is a powerful extract from rice bran oil that has gastrointestinal mucus-protecting properties and exerts a regulation effect on the nervous system.


IBStrol, based on the ancient Tibetan formula Xijizhuba, is the latest development in gastrointestinal health.  The formula contains rhubarb, myrabolam, ginger, and Tibetan inula. It is good for abdominal distention, bloating, epigastric pain, acid regurgitation, and heartburn.  Although it is not a cure, more than 90% of patients find relief from symptoms.  It is a completely nontoxic treatment that is extremely safe without any harmful adverse effects.


For more information on the IBS related topics below, be sure to log in to to read the rest of this article:

  • Diet can play a big role in easing symptoms of IBS.  Diet Suggestions and how to introduce them.

  • Helpful Natural Supplements and how to take them, including slippery elm and Sialex.

  • Food Triggers for IBS

  • Things that may aggravate IBS


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