Published: 10/29/2015 - Updated: 10/29/2015
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
In spite of the fact that in the past, irritable colon was attributed to stress, today we cannot say that we actually know what causes Irritable Colon Syndrome. Stress could spark the symptoms, but it isn’t actually the cause in itself.
Unfortunately, there is no cure. But you can control it, and it has been proven to go into periods of remission. This is where the symptoms remain inactive for quite some time, sometimes even years.
It’s not all in your head
Sedative or anti-depressive medications used to be frequently prescribed to alleviate colitis, along with fiber for better digestion. Today, we know that this isn’t an appropriate treatment, because it doesn’t actually focus on the problem.
To restore digestion, you need to make a few dietary changes which are the protagonists in treating your irritable colon syndrome. And, because stress can aggravate the symptoms it is also a good idea to focus of therapies or activities that help overcome stress.
Making dietary changes can help keep irritable colon symptoms at bay. Following are the primary recommendations:
Avoid fatty foods: Fried foods, fatty cuts of meat, butter, mayonnaise, and other fatty foods are best eaten only in moderation. Avoid them as much as possible.
Don’t eat spicy food: Capsaicin is the substance responsible for the spicy flavor in foods like peppers, and it can cause spasms in the large intestine. This could also lead to diarrhea.
Avoid consuming stimulating beverages: Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages irritate the intestine. This creates a laxative effect which is why it is best to avoid them, especially if you are experiencing active symptoms.
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Avoid foods that cause indigestion for you: Some foods, like cabbage, broccoli, or cucumber, can cause inflammation and gas in certain people. If you have noticed that these foods don’t make you feel well, avoid them.
Avoid sweets or chewing gum that are flavored with sorbitol: Sorbitol and manitol are artificial sweeteners that are often times used to sweeten treats. It’s best to avoid them, as this has a laxative effect and could lead to diarrhea.
Drink enough water throughout the day: The recommend consumption amount is 6 to 8 glasses a day, which aids digestion.
Natural remedies to alleviate irritable colon symptoms
Although there is no cure to this day, you can prevent the symptoms that make it worse. First, apply certain dietary changes like those previously mentioned, but it would also be useful to focus on the following remedies.
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Control your stress: Stress can unleash an Irritable Colon crisis. This means that it activates the symptoms, which is why it’s important to keep it under control. Some activities help to relax, like yoga or breathing exercises.
Figure out which factors aggravate your symptoms: To do this, writing your symptoms in a journal is a good idea. Include the foods that you’ve eaten, as well as trips, or get togethers with your boss – anything factor that you consider to be relevant. This will be the easiest way to identify the symptoms as well as your relationship to some type of food or stressful event. This will help you get to know your disease.
Include fiber supplements: Fiber plays an important role in preventing symptoms. Generally you can consume plant-based foods, however if your diet doesn’t have enough fiber, it’s a good idea to include a supplement into your diet. Psyllium is a good alternative for irritable colon.
Eat yogurt regularly: Yogurt is a probiotic. This means that it provides beneficial bacteria for the intestines. It’s a good idea to consume it regularly to fight diarrhea and to keep your intestines healthier.
Drink ginger tea: This tea helps alleviate digestive problems and could be beneficial for Irritable Colon Syndrome. To make it you will need half a teaspoon of grated ginger root, and steep in one cup of boiling water. Allow to set for 10 minutes, strain and serve.
Drink mint tea: Mint tea helps reduce intestinal spasms and fights flatulence. We advise drinking two cups of mint tea a day. You could also take capsules with mint extract, however it’s best not to use this tea if you have gastritis or gastrointestinal reflux.
And lastly, it’s best to stop smoking, and to start exercising regularly, about 30 minutes of walking a day. These are two changes that can help reduce the effects of stress, and are beneficial not only for the irritable colon syndrome, but also for your health in general.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 10/29/2015
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