What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
It’s probably true to say that everybody has a digestive problem at some point in their lives. Most of us will have eaten something that “disagreed with us” and made us throw up, rush to the toilet for a poop, or both. Many of us will have caught a virus that had us running to the toilet frequently for several days. And most of us will have felt the discomfort of constipation, perhaps because of a change in our diet or because we haven’t been drinking enough water. But for some people, these problems are so regular that they interfere with the ability to live a full and happy life. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a term that is often used to cover these situations.
Basically, IBS is the name for a group of symptoms that affect the digestion. These can include:
- Bloating – when the abdomen swells, sometimes causing pain
- Cramps – sharp pains in the abdomen
- Gas – farting frequently or having foul-smelling farts
- Diarrhoea – needing to pass stools too frequently, usually with very loose or liquid stools
- Constipation – difficulty in passing stools, which are usually dry and hard
Irritable Bowel Syndrome And Your Food
You can try avoiding certain foods to see if the IBS is caused, or made worse by your food. It’s possible that, even if you are not allergic to some foods, you could have a food intolerance. A food intolerance is less serious than an allergy but it can still make you uncomfortable and upset your digestion.
The most common foods that cause intolerance are:
- Foods that contain lactose, such as milk and cream, butter, yoghurt, cheese and buttermilk
- Foods that contain wheat, such as bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits and crackers, crumpets and couscous
Other foods that could make your IBS symptoms worse include cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts), beans, onions and dried fruit.
Homeopathy and IBS
There are many remedies that can help people who are suffering from diarrhoea, constipation and other symptoms of IBS. Conventional treatment for IBS is limited. It can only deal with one or two symptoms at a time so you can end up having to take antacids for indigestion, laxatives for constipation, and binding medicines (usually made from clay) for diarrhoea. Homeopathy, as a holistic therapy, treats the whole person and tackles all your symptoms together.
As a homeopath, my aim is always to deal with the root cause of the problem, which can be different for each person. This is why, during your consultation, I will ask lots of questions about the way IBS actually affects you. I need to know whether you get either diarrhoea or constipation, or if you suffer from both. If the IBS is painful, I will ask where you feel the pain, how it feels, when it happens and what makes it worse or better. Because there are many things that can affect your digestion, it’s important to know about your emotions, about things that stress you out, the types of food and drink that you like/dislike, whether you feel better or worse after exercise, etc.
There are many remedies that are suitable for people who suffer from IBS. The key to a successful homeopathy treatment for IBS is to find a remedy that matches you as a person, as well as your digestive symptoms. For example, people who need Arsenicum are often very organised. They hate clutter and mess and often spend a lot of time cleaning and tidying their homes. They tend to complain about “burning pains” in their stomachs; these pains can often be eased by warm drinks. People who need Podophyllum peltatum usually find that their symptoms alternate. They may have severe episodes of diarrhoea, with liquid stools that seem to “explode” out of them, and a few days later they find that they struggle to pass stool at all. To find out which homeopathy treatment is best for your IBS, book an online or phone consultation.