|How To Managing & Treat Your IBS Symptoms, Naturally
Around one in three Australians will experience Irritable bowel syndrome – commonly known as IBS – at some point in their lives. IBS can manifest through a range of uncomfortable and disruptive symptoms, which can make it hard to diagnose.
The good news is that IBS symptoms can be managed effectively through natural measures, all supporting your overall gut health.
Managing your gut health & treating IBS
Here at PGP Health, we know that modern lifestyles can be no friend to our gut. Poor gut health affects the way people live and function, and our approach is to support wellbeing holistically by allowing your body to heal itself.
Our team has gathered some information and tips around managing IBS naturally, so you can feel empowered about your gut health.
What is IBS exactly?
IBS is classified as a chronic condition, which means that it can affect people over a long period of time. It affects the colon (large bowel), and while the exact cause of IBS is unknown, it is thought to be linked to changes in the gut microbiome, stress, food sensitivities and infection.
The symptoms of IBS vary from person to person, but they generally include:
- Bloating and gas
- Diarrhea or constipation (or alternating episodes of each)
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Mucus in the stool
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and depression
These symptoms are also seen in more serious bowel conditions, so it’s important to speak with your GP or healthcare provider to rule these out and to receive an official IBS diagnosis.
Natural ways to treat IBS
Unfortunately, there is no magic cure for IBS – but there are several recommended ways to manage your symptoms and improve overall digestive health holistically.
1. Follow a low FODMAP diet
You’ve likely heard the term FODMAP being used – as it’s often the first port-of-call for those looking to manage their IBS symptoms. FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates found in many everyday foods that can be difficult for some people to digest. These include wheat, dairy and certain fruits and vegetables.
Many people with IBS notice that certain foods cause flare ups, and these foods vary from person to person. The low FODMAP approach can be a way to discover which foods are causing IBS symptoms to flare up.
Low FODMAP foods include:
- Non-dairy milk alternatives like quinoa and rice
- Gluten-free grains like quinoa and rice
- Low FODMAP vegetables like spinach, carrots and zucchini
- Low FODMAP fruits like kiwi, blueberries and strawberries.
A registered dietitian can work with you to help you follow a low FODMAP diet to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients, as it can be restrictive.
2. Increase your fibre intake
Fibre is a key component for maintaining digestive health and can also help alleviate symptoms of IBS in some cases. The focus here is on ‘soluble fibre’ – which is dissolvable in water and can help regulate bowel movements.
Some foods that are high in soluble fibre include:
- Oat bran
- Psyllium husk
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
If you are looking to increase your fibre intake to manage your IBS symptoms, it’s important to do so gradually to avoid digestive discomfort. And don’t forget: drink plenty of water!
3. Reduce stress
Reducing stress can be easier said than done; however, it’s an important factor to consider when it comes to managing your IBS symptoms. The brain and gut are inextricably linked, and anxiety and stress can trigger IBS flare ups in many people.
Just as your IBS symptoms may affect your mood, your mood can affect your IBS symptoms. Some proven ways to help manage stress include:
- Exercise (aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week)
- Counselling and psychological support
4. Consider probiotics
A healthy gut contains beneficial bacteria – which you might know as ‘gut flora’. If the gut flora is thrown out of balance, harmful bacteria can take over and affect your health. That’s where probiotics come in.
Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria, which can help to improve the overall health of the gut microbiome – which may be helpful in alleviating symptoms of IBS, particularly bloating and gas.
The probiotic market is crowded and there are many different strains available, so it’s important to choose a high-quality product that is specifically formulated for digestive health.
Your healthcare provider can help you determine an appropriate probiotic product with multiple strains that may be most beneficial to your situation and overall health.
There are also common probiotic foods which you could add to your diet, including:
5. Herbal remedies
Herbal remedies may be a helpful supplement to managing your IBS symptoms and overall gut health. These include:
- Peppermint oil in tea or supplement form (can relieve abdominal pain and bloating)
- Chamomile in tea or supplement form (can reduce gut inflammation)
- Ginger in tea or supplement form, or added to food (can reduce nausea)
Herbal remedies can interact with other medications or conditions, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before introducing them.
Support your gut with PGP Health Wear
At PGP Health, our approach is to improve your health holistically, starting with the all-important gut.
Our range of health wear uses unique compression technology to improve digestive function, allowing your body to heal itself. For those suffering from IBS, the gentle pressure on the lower part of the abdomen can help with the reduction of inflammation, elimination of toxins and breakdown of foods.
Following extensive textile testing and compression technology research, this new category of active health wear is the first product to market that lifts the gastrointestinal tract and supports healthy gut function—without supplements or medication.
The PGP Health VC1 is designed to gently lift and compress the gastrointestinal tract to support overall gut health, while improving posture to help you feel better – naturally.
- Designed for maximum compression to support healthy gut function
- Appropriate for daily wear with adjustable Velcro support belt for your comfort
- The lower abdomen is targeted to promote better gastrointestinal function and detoxification.
Explore our range of Health Wear here.