Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), is a motley combination of intestinal woes that can be difficult to tame…A classical case study: Karl, an on-the-go 44 year old male, complains of abdominal cramps often resulting in sharp, burning stabs. He suffers from raging indigestion – bloating, belching, gas and sometimes nausea. His bowel movement resembles that of a seesaw with bouts of constipation and diarrhoea. Stress, sedentary lifestyle and diet ignorance steer him in the direction of junk food (slap chips, hotdog rolls and chicken mayo sarmies), fizzy drinks, a cup or two javas and some antacids in his jacket. No time for breathing…. Time is always of the essence! To add insult to this perfect picture is that his doctor can’t tell him what causes IBS. Symptoms may also include mucus diarrhoea and anorexia.
A few contributing factors have been identified:
• Intestinal flora imbalance.
• Body chemicals such as gastrointestinal- and reproductive hormones.
• Bacterial Gastroenteritis.
• Depression, stress and anxiety.
• Food sensitivity.
1. Coffee, Carbonated drinks and Alcohol.
2. Refined, fried and fatty foods, Dairy products (especially cheese).
3. Large meals and High-protein diets.
4. Artificial sweeteners.
5. Gas forming foods: Brussels sprouts, Onions, Cabbage, Beans and Broccoli.
IBS is a syndrome and not a disease and comprise of a group of characteristic symptoms. It is also sometimes called mucous / spastic colitis or intestinal neurosis. The rhythmic muscular contractions of the digestive tract become uncoordinated and irregular. Movement of food and waste products are inhibited and results in the accumulation of mucus and toxins in the intestine. A partial obstruction occurs of the digestive tract, trapping stools and gas, which in turn causes distention, bloating and constipation. The entire GI tract may be affected.
Diagnosis of IBS requires ruling out disorders such as Chrohn’s Disease, Diverticulitis, Lactose Intolerance and Ulcerative Colitis.
Many other diseases can be related to IBS, including candidiasis, amebiasis, giardiasis, ulcers, colon cancer, malabsorption disorders, diabetes mellitus, pancreatic insufficiency and gallbladder disease. An interesting fact is that Arthritis (peripheral) is linked in about 25% of adults with IBS. Level of liver enzymes may also appear abnormal in blood tests and this is why I recommend treating the liver as well as the digestive tract.
Treatment Regime recommended (Always consult a regd. Healthcare professional):
• Milk Thistle (Silymarin): Liver detoxification.
• Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) contains vit A, C, E and vit K4: Build Flora for proper digestion and Chlorophyll for healing and cleansing of bloodstream.
• Aloe vera (Aloe Babadensis): Healing to the digestive tract.
• Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) -tea/enteric coated capsule: relieves “too-full” feeling, upset stomach and gas.
• Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis): settle nerves that regulate intestinal muscle function. Take at night.
• Lipotrim capsules (Ayervedic product obtainable from good health stores) contains Garcinia Cambogia (used as a weight loss agent but effective for numerous bowel complaints).
• Garlic (Allium sativum): Aids in digestion and destruction of toxins in colon.
• Vitamin B complex: Proper muscle tone in GI tract.
• Vitamin B12: Proper absorption of foods, metabolism of carbs and fats, protein synthesis and prevention of anaemia.
• Lactobacillus Acidophilus / lyophilised Saccharomyces boulardii: Lines and protects gut, restores and maintains intestinal flora.
General helpful pointers:
1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water.
2. Low-fat Diet.
3. Use supplemental fibre such as Psyllium powder.
4. Avoid Alcohol (especially beer) and No Caffeine (direct stimulant of GI tract).
5. No over indulging. Chew your food well. Do not eat right before going to bed.
6. Wear loose-fitting clothing.
7. With an intestinal upset switch to organic baby food or have some blended nonacidic fruits and veggies.
8. Half a teaspoon of Butter a day – rich in butyric acid which is believed to nourish the cells of the intestinal wall.
9. Add papaya (papain) and pineapple stem (bromelain) to your breakfast – good digestive enzymes for breakdown of foods.
Hippocrates stated correctly that all disease begins in the gut! Trust your gut feeling and start taking care of your gut.
By Dr. Pierce van Tonder (D.Herb)(SA), a Board Certified Medical Herbalist (AHG: USA) and Phytotherapist. He is in private practice with a special interest in Chronic disease and General-Well Being of Society. He is a qualified Iridologist, Nutritionist, La Stone Masseur, Reiki Master & Dance Movement Therapist. For more information, call 079-346-0001 or visit www.naturalmed.co.za
PO Box 753140, Gardenview, 2047
“Where Body, Mind and Soul Collide”