As we said, there is no cure for IBS. However, home remedies, like a good diet, can help keep irritable bowel syndrome under control. The following kinds of foods -- and habits -- may be contributing to your symptoms, so try to avoid them whenever possible.
- Dairy products. Some IBS sufferers are also lactose intolerant, which means they can't digest lactose, the sugar found naturally in milk and other dairy products. (Yogurt and hard cheeses don't seem to cause any symptoms because their bacterial content converts much of the lactose to lactic acid before they're consumed.) To find out if you are indeed lactose intolerant, a physician can do a simple breath test on you to check. If you are, lactase enzyme is available in tablet form and even in some food products to help alleviate the symptoms. Whole-milk dairy products also contain fat, which may be an irritant. Opt instead for products made with low fat or skim milk. ©2007 Publications International, Ltd.As appealing as citrus fruits look, they are a no-no for thosewho suffer the painful effects of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Citrus fruits. Of all the types of fruit, citrus varieties, such as oranges and tangerines, seem to be the most common offenders.
- Gas producers. The last thing an IBS sufferer needs is more gas. Among the offenders: onions, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, red and green peppers, and carbonated beverages. Many of these offenders are rich in nutrients, however, so experiment with smaller amounts or different cooking methods or try the gas-busting additive Beano before removing these foods from your diet.
- Spicy foods. Forgo the spices in your dishes and see if that makes a difference.
- Wheat products. Those who find that foods containing wheat are a problem should consult their physician as to how to maintain or increase their fiber intake without using wheat.
- Sugar. Some IBS sufferers have what's known as fructose intolerance and have difficulty digesting fructose (fruit sugar). Sucrose, or table sugar, may also trigger their symptoms.
- Chocolate. It not only contains caffeine but high amounts of sugar and fat.
- Caffeine. Found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola, and even some medications, caffeine can stimulate the intestines and cause heartburn and cramping.
- Alcohol. Alcohol can cause diarrhea.
- Cigarettes. Smoking may have an effect on the motility, or movement, of the digestive system.
- Fat. Fatty meats, butter, and oils are more difficult for the body to digest.
- Sugarless gum and candy. Specifically, those made with sorbitol can aggravate IBS symptoms because the artificial sweetener is not digestible.
For more remedies for problems "down there", try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- To learn practical ways to treat diarrhea, read Home Remedies for Diarrhea.
- Home Remedies for Upset Stomach provides tips on relieving sour stomach.
- If you'd like advice on treating bladder control problems, read Home Remedies for Incontinence.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.