Do you suffer from IBS-D daily?
Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea not only makes you feel miserable but also wrecks your confidence.
You dare not leave your home or go anywhere. You want to be near a toilet.
Instead of relying on medications for relief, you can try the following natural remedies without worrying about the side effects.
1. Digestive enzymes
These supplements weren’t included in the review, but Dr. Saito-Loftus says that they may be helpful, particularly for people with diarrhea-predominant IBS. “It may simply be that there’s no data on them, but I can tell you that a lot of my patients come to me already taking them,” she says.
Dr. Saito-Loftus says the risk of trying these is low, and the potential benefits anecdotally, at least are high. “I’ve had patients who swear by them, and others who have not,” she says. “It comes down to reading the bottle and considering the price and making the decision whether it’s worth it to give them a try.”
2. Take Your Fiber
Fiber supplements to ease constipation or help resolve diarrhea. Products marketed as Benefiber, Citrucel, and Metamucil* increase the amount of fiber in the diet. You can get fiber in either a pill or a powder supplement, or special food products such as wafers and cereals.
Soluble fiber draws in and absorbs water, enabling stools to move through more easily and a little bit more slowly, which is beneficial in cases of diarrhea
If you have loose stools and frequent bowel movements, it will help with stool formation and decrease the frequency of bowel movements.
TIPS: Good sources are beans, oatmeal, and some fruits, such as apples, strawberries and grapefruit.
When people with irritable bowel syndrome supplemented conventional treatments with acupuncture, 49% got relief for up to a year from symptoms like pain, constipation, and diarrhea, according to a 2012 study. “We found that acupuncture is an effective IBS treatment when used as a supplement to more traditional therapies,” says study author Hugh MacPherson, PhD, senior research fellow in the department of health sciences at the University of York in the UK.
4. Eat yogurt
There is also some evidence that probiotics, “healthy” bacteria normally found in the gut, help some people with IBS. A study of one type, Bifidobacterium infantis, found that it greatly improved IBS symptoms and day-to-day life after people took it for 4 weeks. Research on another type, lactobacillus, has had more mixed reviews.
Having diarrhea can drain away good bacteria that help prevent harmful bacteria from growing out of control. When you’re having IBS-related diarrhea, eat plenty of yogurt containing active bacteria, such as acidophilus. Or take supplements of acidophilus*. The usual daily dosage is one pill containing 1 to 2 billion live organisms. Take it on an empty stomach.
An amino acid called L-Glutamine is the best remedy I’ve come across for diarrhea and it works very quickly (within 2-3 days usually). It’s virtually tasteless and dissolves easily in water. Start with 1/4 tsp. per day mixed in cold or room-temperature water and drink it on an empty stomach. If that’s not enough, increase to 1/4 tsp. two or three times a day. Then increase the dosage gradually (if you need it) to 1/2 tsp. then 3/4 tsp., up to 1 tsp. two or three times a day. L-Glutamine* directly nourishes and heals the mucosal lining of the intestine and causes the bowel to reabsorb the water in your stool, thus reducing the number and frequency of bowel movements. Do not use if you have any liver or kidney disease.
6. Avoid Certain Foods
A 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that for one-quarter of IBS sufferers, their symptoms were “caused or exacerbated” by eating “fermentable, poorly absorbed carbohydrates, including fructose, fructans (present in wheat and onions), sorbitol, and other sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols, often found in low-carb or sugar-free foods, are hard for your body to absorb and can cause bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Watch out for diet drinks, sugar-free candy and gum, and artificial sweeteners, and eliminate all trigger foods that make your symptoms worse.
Home remedies for IBS include avoiding certain foods that “trigger” or worsen diarrhea, bloating and gas such as cruciferous vegetables (for example, cauliflower, wasabi, kale, and broccoli), and legumes (for example, black beans, edamame, soy nuts, and fava beans).
Caffeine, tobacco and other stimulants can irritate the bowels and worsen diarrhea. Decaffeinated coffee can have the same effects.
7. Peppermint oil
This works by relaxing the smooth muscle in the intestines, reducing painful spasms. Many IBS sufferers get significant relief from the minty supplements* (available in natural foods stores); they’re more likely to help if you suffer from diarrhea.
Most studies show that about a 0.2 ml gel capsule two to three times a day would be sufficient. You should not expect instant relief as it can take up to a week to feel better.
One word of warning. You should not take peppermint oil if you have frequent heartburn.
Yoga can calm the digestive system and help relieve symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. Gentle stretches can be stress-relieving too, easing one of the condition’s common triggers.
9. Make Mealtimes Count
Eating at regular mealtimes to help regulate bowel function. For diarrhea, small, frequent meals may make you feel better. Sitting down to eat, and restraining yourself from multitasking, will minimize the frantic, overdrive feeling that shadows us though so much of our daily lives.
10. Vitamin D
People with IBS-D tend to be low in vitamin D. Some studies reveal that supplementation of vitamin D* can stabilize bowel movements.
Some of the strongest scientific evidence for the effectiveness of vitamin D treatments comes from a study conducted by researchers from the University of Sheffield, England, and published in the journal BMJ Case Reports in December 2012.
“I… have had IBS for about 20 years… in August 2009…I began taking 3000 IU of Vitamin D… surely but slowly, I stopped having the crazy urgency to go, and began to have normal bowel movements… I then began taking 5000 IU of vitamin D a day… and since then … I feel I have turned the tide.”