Irritable Bowel Syndrome Rhinelander WI
New Berlin, WI
By Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa
In March, the FDA pulled Zelnorm, a popular drug for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation, from the market. The withdrawal came after a Swiss government review of 29 Zelnorm studies revealed that patients who used the drug had a tenfold increase in the chance of heart attack, stroke, or severe heart-related chest pain.
The revelation that Zelnorm’s side effects are far from the “norm” creates even more impetus for a natural solution to IBS. About one million Americans have this intestinal disorder, which causes constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The symptoms, though notoriously sporadic, provoke a striking amount of discomfort and stress. While doctors don’t know for sure what causes IBS, people with stress, fibromyalgia, and sicca complex (dry eyes and mouth) and women having their periods are more likely to suffer IBS symptoms.
Irritable bowel syndrome has numerous other monikers, such as colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, and spastic bowel, but none of these terms accurately describe it—IBS doesn’t involve inflammation and should not be confused with ulcerative colitis. Doctors consider IBS a functional disorder because the colon and intestines, upon examination, show no sign of disease, injury, or bleeding. Nonetheless, as IBS sufferers know, the condition is far from phantom. Still, you don’t have to risk a Zelnorm-induced heart attack to find relief; alternative medicine has a long history of treating the condition. First, identify and remove the IBS food triggers from your diet. Although trouble can erupt at any time, the common triggers include gaseous foods, large meals, chocolate, dairy, alcohol, fatty foods, and caffeine.
Next, give your intestines some help with probiotics—friendly bacteria that aid digestion and reduce the population of pathological bugs by competing with them for space. During a four-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 60 IBS patients, treatment with Lactobacillus plantarum probiotics significantly reduced painful gas—and the benefits continued a year after treatment. Shoot for 3 to 5 billion live organisms daily from live yogurt or probiotic supplements.
Peppermint oil may offer additional relief by relaxing intestinal muscles and soothing spasms. In one double-blind trial, four out of five IBS patients reduced their symptoms with enteric-coated peppermint oil. One to two capsules with each meal should do the trick.
Psyllium seed, another heavy hitter against IBS, mitigates diarrhea and pain. As this bulk fiber travels through the gut, it absorbs excess fluids, normalizing stool texture and calming cramps. One study revealed that 82 percent of people relieved their constipation with psyllium. Take 6 to 7 grams with each meal in capsules, chewable wafers, or drinks for a total of about 20 grams daily.
Author: Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa
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