Natural Strategies for Cranky Bowel
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a motility disorder of the upper and lower GI tract. Symptoms include some combination of constipation, diarrhea, or alternating constipation and diarrhea, flatulence, colic (gas pains) relieved by bowel movement, abdominal distention after eating, or mucous in stools.
The cause of IBS is unclear, since no anatomical lesion is consistently found.
Contributing factors may include food allergy, altered bowel flora, intestinal parasites or yeast overgrowth, lack of dietary fiber, and lack of digestive factors (enzymes, hydrochloric acid (HCL), bile salts). Highly refined Western diets are implicated. Psychological factors often play a role.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS
- Include fiber-rich foods in the diet (vegetables, fruits, and whole grains).
- Chew food thoroughly. Do not eat when rushed or under strain.
- Evaluate for food allergies and avoid aggravating foods.
- Avoid GI-irritant foods: caffeine and caffeine-containing substances, chocolate, alcohol, white sugar, white flour, fatty foods.
- Drink 64 ounces of pure water daily. Dehydration contributes to constipation and altered bowel flora which can trigger the cycle of IBS.
- Regular exercise, especially walking, helps normalize bowel function.
- Practice relaxation techniques if stress seems to aggravate or initiate the condition.
- Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of vitamins A, C, E, beta carotene, folic acid, B12, and zinc are particularly important for correcting IBS.
- Omega 3 fatty acids:
Flax seed meal, 2 teaspoons per day with food
Flax seed capsules: 2-4 caps, 3 times per day (target dose range: 6-12 caps per day)
Flax seed oil: 1 tablespoon per day
Max EPA (Omega-3 rich fish oil): 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals (target dose: 3-6 caps per day).
- Fiber: Maxi Fiber, 1-2 teaspoons, 3 times per day before or between meals, OR Fiber Formula: 3-6 caps 2-3 times per day between meals. Be SURE to take a full 8 ounces of water with each dose. Start with smaller doses and gradually work up, since sudden increases in fiber can cause aggravation.
- Similase: 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Take an additional 1 cap with snacks.
- SupremaDophilus (high potency probiotics): 1 capsule once a day before bed.
For acute symptoms:
- Mentharil (enteric coated peppermint): 1-2 caps, 2-3 times per day between meals. Peppermint acts as an anti- spasmodic BUT it must be “enteric coated” so that it is not absorbed before reaching the lower bowel.
- Activated charcoal: 6 caps with water. If symptoms persist beyond one hour, take a second dose of 6 charcoal caps.
DR. MYATT’S COMMENT
It may take some time and exploration to find the causative factors in IBS, but patients tell me it’s well worth the effort. Refer to the complete bowel retraining program, Healthy Colon Priority Protocol on page 9 in your Holistic Health Handbook. If self-help measures fail to bring relief, I am available for telephone consultations.