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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Conventional and Alternative Treatments

 

Conventional medicine has little in the way of actual treatment for IBS.  The most your health care practitioner can do is to help alleviate and control your symptoms.  The medical community has no cure for IBS.

 

For mild cases of IBS, itís relatively easy to control the symptoms of this chronic disease.  Most people find that learning how to manage their stress and making alterations in their diets and lifestyle provide immense relief.The challenge in treatment 

comes, so it appears, when your symptoms are moderate or severe.  Your IBS may need more help than just a few lifestyle changes can provide.

 

When you visit your health care practitioner for IBS, sheíll no doubt offer some Ė if not all Ė of these suggestions.

 

Take fiber supplements daily.  Psyllium based supplements like Metamucil or Citrucel taken with fluids may help control the constipation associated with IBS.

 

Donít be afraid to try an anti-diarrheal medication.  There are plenty of over-the-counter medications for this problem.  You may want to try one that contains loperamide.  All you need to do is read the label to see if this ingredient is included.

 

Donít eat foods that give you gas.  Okay, so this may seem a little obvious.  Itís still crucial to say.  If you have bloating or you pass significant amounts of gas following consumption of certain foods, stay away from them as much as possible.  Some people discover that this means cutting out a whole category of foods including raw fruits and vegetables, salads, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower Ė as well as carbonated beverages.

 

Your health care practitioner may prescribe an anticholinergic medication.  These drugs work on certain activities of the nervous system to help relieve bowel spasms.

 

If your symptoms include pain or an accompanying depression, there are a number of routes your health care practitioner may take to help you.  He may decide to prescribe you a tricyclic antidepressant or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.  These medications  work in two ways.  First, they help to relieve your depression.  But they also inhibit the activity of neurons that control your intestines.

 

Tricyclic antidepressants are especially useful at relieving diarrhea and abdominal pain.  These drugs include imipramine and amitriptyline.  They, though, have been known to produce side effects.  Some of the more common ones are drowsiness and constipation.

 

Some individuals find that counseling helps them with the daily stresses in their life that aggravate their IBS.  If you believe that you might benefit from this, your health care practitioner may help you find a professional in this area.

There is only one drug that is available to treat the symptoms of IBS.  Thatís alosetron, sold under the brand name of Lotronex.  Itís a nerve receptor antagonist.  This means that it relaxes the colon and then slows the movement of waste through the lower bowel.

 

However, this medication carries severe side effects.  At one time it was taken off the market due to it being linked to at least two deaths and severe side effects in at least 113 other people.  Only doctors who are enrolled in a special IBS program can prescribe this medication.  It is, additionally, only intended for the most severe cases of diarrhea-predominant IBS in woman who havenít responded to any other treatment. Alosetron has not been approved for use by men.

 

IBS:   Complementary and Alternative Treatments

While the medical community seems at a loss to treat IBS, that doesnít mean that there arenít several natural methods that help provide relief from this chronic condition.

 

Many individuals say that undergoing the ancient Chinese treatment of acupuncture helps them.  The therapy, they explain, helps to relax the muscle spasms of this disorder and helps to improve bowel function.

 

If youíre not familiar with acupuncture itís a treatment based on the natural meridians of your body.  An acupuncturist uses very slim, small needles and places them along certain pathways of your body.  Depending on the pathways chosen, this treatment helps to alleviate various symptoms.

 

Others use products that are referred to as probiotics.  These are the ďgoodĒ bacteria that normally live in your intestines.  Theyíre found in some foods, especially yogurt, as well as some dietary supplements. 

 

The theory is that individuals with IBS may be lacking in the amount of good bacteria their systems have.  Adding probiotics to the body may help to relieve your IBS-related symptoms.  There have been several studies that have shown that probiotics can actually help reduce their severity.

 

Still many other people find relief through the use of herbal remedies.  One of the best is peppermint.  A natural antispasmodic, it works by relaxing the smoother muscles of the intestines.  If you decide to use this herb as a supplement, be sure to buy the enteric-coated capsules.

 

One of the side effects of peppermint for some people is heartburn.  If you find this occurs, you may want to try a different herbal remedy.

 

Many suffering with IBS choose chamomile as an alternative for alleviating their symptoms.  This legendary herb is renowned for its ability to soothe the digestive tract.  Itís also a noted anti-spasmodic.  Chamomile can be taken as a tea or as a capsule.

 

You may also want to try the herb ginger.  This has long been noted by professional herbalists to relieve a variety of gastrointestinal problems.  Ginger, additionally, helps to improve the muscles of the intestines.  This herb also possesses some anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Before starting on any supplement program with herbs, you want to be sure to check with your health care professional.  Heíll be able to tell you if any of the herbs youíre planning on taking will interfere with any of your current prescription medications.

 

Additionally, itís also a good idea to consult a professional herbalist prior to choosing an herbal regimen. She may also be able to provide you with even more alternatives in this area that may relieve your specific symptoms of IBS.

 

Since stress has the potential to play a vital role in the severity of your symptoms, you may want to discover a way to manage your stress without the use of drugs.  You may find that meditation helps you to tolerate the ups and downs of your life a little better.  Many individuals find relieve in self-hypnosis.  Still others discover the calming effects of yoga for both the body and the mind.

 

Any of these activities can be self taught.  Or you can join classes to learn the basics of these therapies.  All of these require a certain amount of discipline.  The benefits, many individuals discover, though are really worth the effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

 

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