Thousands of years ago, Hippocrates theorized that “all disease begins in the gut.” This theory of human health then fell out of mind for centuries. However, science is now coming around to the idea that intestinal balance and a healthy gut is foundational for overall wellness.
April is IBS awareness month, which offers a prime opportunity to focus on gut health. IBS is all too common, and affects 1 in 7 Americans, many of whom suffer without proper treatment. Balance and health are possible for those with IBS, keep reading to learn more about how to achieve intestinal balance.
What is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS affects the large intestine. Common symptoms include gas, abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. Although IBS is a chronic, long-term condition, it can typically be managed with diet and lifestyle changes. The exact cause of IBS isn’t fully understood, but doctors believe that inflammation, imbalanced gut bacteria and gastroenteritis infections may play a role.
Dietary Changes to Manage IBS
IBS is often managed with dietary changes, hormonal balance, and stress management. If you have an IBS diagnosis or suspect you are struggling with IBS, it’s best not to self-diagnose. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider who can help you manage your symptoms. They may recommend a diet high in fiber and low in foods which trigger IBS, including gluten, alcohol, and caffeine.
Natural IBS Treatment Options
Some other natural methods of managing IBS symptoms include getting enough sleep, regular exercise, managing stress, and supporting healthy gut bacteria. Setting a healthy sleep routine and incorporating meditation into your schedule may naturally lessen IBS symptoms. Exercise is another proven way to relieve stress, potentially easing the discomfort and frequency of IBS flare-ups.
Supplements to Support Intestinal Balance
In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, supplements can play a vital role in managing IBS symptoms. Be sure to check with your care team before implementing new supplements into your diet to avoid negative interactions.
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that live in your intestines. Although probiotics can be found in foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, they are far more concentrated in supplement form. Studies show that probiotics can be beneficial as part of an IBS treatment plan as they may strengthen a healthy gut barrier and intestinal immune system. Boost your probiotic intake and improve your “good bacteria” with UltraFlora IB from Metagenics. This once daily capsule supports balanced intestinal microflora, as may provide relief from intestinal discomforts.
Aloe Vera Leaf
Extensive clinical trials show that aloe vera supplements can be valuable in the treatment of IBS symptoms. Aloe vera has an anti-inflammatory affect and can also work to decrease intestinal permeability. If you want to try a supplement which includes aloe-vera, we recommend I.B. Comfort from Douglas Laboratories. Each capsule contains organic aloe vera leaf as well as probiotics to naturally balance bowel function and healthy intestinal flora.
Enteric-Coated Peppermint Oil
Research has shown that in cases with IBS and diarrhea, a slow release tablet with peppermint essential oil may help ease the bloating and pain of elimination. If your health care team is on board, you may want to check out Peppermint Forte Clinical Strength from Terry Naturally. These capsules deliver four botanical essential oils in an enteric-coated soft gel that releases directly into the intestinal tract for soothing intestinal relief.
How you naturally treat IBS or support a balanced gut? Share your favorite products and best wellness tips with us in the comments section below.