Irritable bowel syndrome is a common health condition affecting up to 15 percent of Americans.1 While some have severe symptoms requiring medical treatment, many people who have IBS can ease the discomfort with simple home care measures.
What is IBS?
Abdominal pain, cramping, gas and bloating are the hallmark signs of IBS. You might also notice changes in the frequency or appearance of your bowel movements. Many people with IBS experience either diarrhea or constipation, but some have both or even experience alternating episodes.2 Other symptoms may include:
- Constantly feeling like you need to have a bowel movement
- Exhaustion or fatigue
- Mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety
- Urinary incontinence
- Sexual dysfunction
Doctors don't know exactly what causes IBS, but contributing factors may include stress, previous infection, family history, nervous system or muscle abnormalities.
5 Ways to Relieve Symptoms of IBS...Fast
If you're experiencing symptoms of IBS, we bet you could use some tips for helping IBS symptoms like yesterday. These five strategies can alleviate IBS symptoms and improve your quality of life with this chronic condition.
1. Cozy Up with a Heating Pad
Heat therapy can comfort the cramping intestinal muscles that sometimes cause IBS pain. To safely use an electric heating pad, place it on your abdomen over a layer of clothing (never on bare skin). Do not use sports creams like Icy Hot with a heating pad, as the combination can cause serious burns. Make sure to turn off your heating pad before you go to sleep or choose a model that turns off automatically with a timer.
2. Keep a Food Journal
Understanding possible IBS triggers can help you avoid these foods and beverages. Start keeping a food journal to write down what you eat along with IBS symptoms that arise. You can then identify foods that seem to worsen your IBS and eliminate them from your diet.
If the elimination does not resolve the symptoms, that particular item may not be your trigger. Some of the most common foods and beverages that exacerbate IBS include sodas and other carbonated beverages, milk and other dairy products, cabbage, beans, citrus, and wheat.3
You can also focus on foods that promote good gut health. For example, high-fiber choices such as broccoli, berries, avocados, whole grains and apples can resolve IBS symptoms.
3. Take a Chill Pill or Do Some Relaxation Exercises
Stress is another common IBS trigger. As you keep your food journal, you may also want to note times when you felt overwhelmed, anxious or otherwise stressed. Taking steps to soothe these feelings can potentially also soothe your symptoms. Try deep breathing exercises, guided meditation or yoga when you notice your stress level rising. If you find you can't control feelings of stress, depression and anxiety, consider talking to a therapist who can provide support.
4. Probiotic Supplements
Harvard Health Publishing reports that IBS may arise from an imbalance between the "good" and "bad" bacteria in the digestive tract.4 Without enough good microorganisms, or probiotics, the harmful microbiota can overpopulate the intestines and cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and other discomforts. Taking probiotic supplements helps keep this balance in check, which often improves IBS.
In addition to probiotics, essential oils and supplements may also resolve IBS symptoms. ACG says that peppermint can be particularly beneficial for abdominal pain, so try it as an herbal tea to calm uncomfortable muscle spasms. Psyllium powder is a type of soluble fiber that supports gut health. According to research published in the journal Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, you can reduce IBS symptoms by drinking one teaspoon of the powder mixed with a glass of water each day.5 Doctors also recommend chamomile and ginger teas for stomach issues.
5. Take Your Polisorb
If you experience IBS with diarrhea, Polisorb can help relieve your symptoms, in less than 15 minutes. And regular use of the five-day Polisorb digestive tract cleanse can help keep your bowels regular and reduce these painful instances. The formula binds to bacteria, viruses, toxins, and allergens, attaching to these baddies and swiftly removing them from your system. Polisorb is free of gluten, dairy and animal products, with no artificial colors, dyes, additives or preservatives. In fact, it consists of a single ingredient, silicon dioxide, that naturally occurs in the body.
PRO TIP: Polisorb has no laxative properties, so skip Polisorb if you're experiencing constipation.
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Bonus Ways to Help
You can also try these strategies to feel better with IBS:6
- Exercise regularly to encourage healthy bowel movements.
- Take over-the-counter and prescription medications as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Call your doctor if you have new symptoms or your symptoms get worse.
Understanding how to relieve IBS is an essential part of your treatment plan if you have this condition. Talk to your doctor if you experience the symptoms described above at least once a week for three months or less frequently but often for six months. You should also seek immediate medical attention if you experience rectal bleeding, anemia, vomiting, fever or unexplained weight loss in conjunction with IBS symptoms.