Irritable Bowel Syndrome Alternative Ibs Treatment

Increasingly, irritable bowel syndrome sufferers are turning to alternative methods of IBS relief. This may be as an adjunct to conventional irritable bowel syndrome treatment or an attempt to seek a holistic solution and a “natural ” remedy for the individual symptoms of IBS.

Findings from a study of 225 people suffering from IBS concluded that more than half of all patients diagnosed with the condition turn to alternative remedies instead of traditional forms of treatment (Royal London School of Medicine, 2000).

Herbal and Natural IBS Relief

Popular natural supplements and herbal remedies for controlling symptoms and providing IBS relief include:

  • Chamomile has a soothing and anti-spasmodic effect on the digestive tract.
  • Peppermint oil has an anti-spasmodic effect on the colon.
  • Acidophilus reduces harmful bacteria in the gut.
  • Psyllium provides relief from constipation and diarrhea.
  • Evening primrose helps reduce aggravated symptoms experienced by some women during their menstrual period.

A Word of Caution

Before taking herbal, alternative or over-the-counter remedies, always consult with your physician. This is important because certain herbs may have harmful effects when taken with conventional medicines.

Stress Management Techniques

Emotional stress is a known trigger of IBS flare-ups. Learning to manage stress can help provide some IBS relief.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) teaches participants to calm body and mind and to control negative thought processes and their harmful consequences. CBT enables patients to re-assess their reaction to potentially destructive situations and to think in a more rational manner.

Biofeedback Therapy: Biofeedback therapy works by re-educating the patient ‘s neuromuscular bodily functions. Sensors are used to determine whether the body is performing these functions correctly and results are recorded on a computer screen. The information is analyzed and the patient is taught how to modify and re-align any abnormal bodily functions.

This process is particularly useful for retraining a defective bowel and re-establishing normal function. Patients can be taught how to change bowel habits they have assumed were normal since early childhood.

Chinese Medicine: Today, Chinese medicine is becoming increasingly recognized throughout the Western world as a viable alternative for relieving symptoms of bowel disorders, including IBS.

Studies of the benefits of Chinese medicine in irritable bowel syndrome treatment found that Chinese herbs brought significant relief that persisted for up to fourteen weeks (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998).

Acupuncture: Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH, 1998) concluded that acupuncture can provide some IBS symptom relief, especially abdominal pain. It can also improve bowel function, reduce muscle spasms and have a generally relaxing effect on the patient.

Resources (updated 2005). Treatment strategies for IBS.Bensoussan, A., Talley, N.J., Hing, M., Menzies, R., Guo, A.,