Home remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

I’ve been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for the last 10 years. The severity comes and goes.

My doctor has prescribed me Paxil. I, however, do not like the side effects. It makes me really drowsy. The medicine also makes my mouth dry. And Paxil has dampen my libido. Please explain to me why a doctor would prescribe me an Anti-depressant for IBS in the first place?

He said I can try muscle relaxers to calm down the cramping. I read the list of side effects, and I find the possible side effects quite scary.

I am looking into alternative treatments. I just started a calcium/magnesium supplement. I haven’t noticed any changes so far. Has anyone tried any supplements that successfully tamed IBS symptoms?

I also have questions about diet. Some foods seem to set me off, but it’s really hard to tell if it’s from IBS or something else like food poisioning or just a normal reaction to harsh foods. I would like to compare notes.

Tomato sauce
Olive oil
Shredded wheat
Peanuts and Peanut butter
Caffeine and alcohol
Large cups of slushies

I would like to know what your IBS symptoms are; constipation, diarrhea or alternating diarrhea/constipation? Do you have abdominal bloating?

The reason your doctor gave you Paxil is that the gut responds to the same chemicals as the brain does and often, lower doses will reduce a patients symptoms. It is usually given at a lower dose than what is used for depression but many patients with IBS do suffer from depression as well. I am not sure what muscle relaxant your doc prescribed, possibly an antispasmodic such as Bentyl or hyosciamine they are not the same as those used for back injury but of course there are still side effects as with any medication.

Unfortunately there is not always a specific dietary source but I would advise you to review the “FODMAP” diet which may provide some relief. Common sources of bloating include high fiber foods, lactose products and ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS but any sugar can produce bloating as gut bacteria feeds on these sugars and the byproduct is gas.

Routine exercise often helps as it will increase bowel motility and aid in stress reduction.

Have you been evaluated for Celiac disease?

I hope this helps.

I’ll tell you what works for me, but bear in mind YMMV.
An increase in iron intake. A multivitamin with extra iron does wonders for me.
Also adding more leafy green vegetables to my diet keeps me regular. Bok choi, kale, collard and turnip greens are my best medicine.
I don’t know what sets it off in me or anybody else, and I don’t think doctors know either. I just know how to control it with vitamins and diet. No medication. Try it for a few days and see if it works for you too.

<blink, blink>
I just hit the wiki for the FODMAP diet, what the hell can you eat? Everything listed there is what I normally eat [but then again I have a failing gallbladder, not IBS]

I gave up wheat - I don’t think I have celiac, but instead a gluten senstivity.

Thank you so much for your wisdom, GZ.

I have not been evaluated for Celiac, nor any other bowel disorders besides IBS. Sometimes I do wonder if there’s something more going on than an irritable bowel.

Here’s an example of my symptoms and possible food triggers:

For our anniversary, hubby took me to an Ethiopian restaurant. I had an appetizer called, “lentil sambusas”. It is similar to samosas, but it was filled with lentils instead of potatoes. It also had garlic, onions, and hot green peppers. I hesitated eating them. But they were really small, and it was only two of them. And I didn’t want to hurt my husband’s feelings, because he was the one who suggested them.

About 2am I woke up with severe stomach pain and chills. I also felt like I was about to literally explode. I rushed to the bathroom. I will spare the graphic details, of what happened next. After I flushed, I could barely stand up. I felt a little lighthead and somewhat tired. My face was red and I was trembling. At the same time I felt slightly euphoric, similar to a runner’s high. I collapsed back into bed and slept very well.

My doctor doesn’t believe my symptoms point to anything serious and claims it’s just IBS. What do you think?

Home remedies are all I can use.

I was taking Mesalazine (5ASA) for IBD but it caused peripheral neuropathy. Worked perfectly otherwise but I had to give it up. I asked my idiot specialist what could be done about this. Could the dosage be tweaked, a different medication used? He said “It’s either this or surgery. See me in three months”(December 25th that would have been). That was the last time I ever saw the dude.

Now I use Curcumin, and peppermint oil.

Curcumin keeps me out of the O.R. Slippery Elm works like a charm as well, but with a side effect of peripheral neuropathy (for me, not for everybody).

If you’re dealing with IBS then coffee is pretty much a “go directly to the crapper” card. Whether that’s from irritating, or stimulating, the gut, idk. I expect alcohol would have a tendency to inflame the gut also, and it’s probably best avoided, or its use kept to a minimum at least.

Posting to bookmark this thread. I was recently diagnosed with IBS. Stool samples, colonoscopy, endoscopy etc have ruled out everything else. For me, I had unrelenting cramping and diarrhea. It seems to have cleared up these past few days.

Testing for celiac would start with a blood test.

Something I didn’t think worth trying was an elimination diet - you take out basically everything except brown rice, chicken, bananas and vegetables that aren’t culprits (that FODMAP diet is a good place to start), and go for a week. If you IBS doesn’t clear up, than you have some issue other than food sensitivity (or a weird one to something like chicken or rice). If it does - slowly add things back to your diet until you find yourself running to the bathroom - now you have a suspect.

Its a pain - that’s why I didn’t do it, I just went for the “big two” - milk and wheat - added back milk and still was 90% better than before - so called it a wheat sensitivity and moved on. I still sometimes get it - when I’ve overdone wheat (! - I cheat from time to time if something looks really good or if I’m more afraid of my hunger and mood swings than of IBS and need something quick) or sometimes if I’ve eaten something either very rich or very spicy - but its much more manageable now. Last night wasn’t good - we had gluten free lasagna and gluten free poundcake and maybe a little too much wine for a late Christmas - and I just think the cheese and alcohol sent me over the edge.

The most underrated food allergy is to the nightshade family, which is tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, all my favorite foods, but if I eat too much from that food group I have symptoms similar to yours, especially from hot peppers. I’ve also heard from sufferers of the various bowel syndromes that coconut water (the clear liquid in the center of a fresh coconut, not the product sold as coconut milk) is a big help, in fact my Mexican friends call coconut water chorro (which is also Mexican slang for diarrhea) because it is the traditional country remedy for that great equalizer.

My irritable bowel syndrome went away the exact the day I decided to get a divorce and moved back home to my parents. True story.

And believable.

Step 1 - stay away from Taco Bell. But I find that it’s often hard to predict, but you can deal with it. Onions are all pretty bad, but red (purple) onions are the worst. But grilling onions takes out a lot of the stomach bite, so get Animal style at In-N-Out. Peppers are of course always suspect. Some foods have a longer onset to symptoms, so by that point you may not associate the two. Keeping a journal may help, if you keep up with it.

Also, IBS is very comorbid with mental disorders, maybe a symptom of them (but cause != correlation, of course). If you’re anxious, so is your stomach. I guess they have better tests for it now, but in the past, you would be diagnosed with IBS only if they ruled out everything else that they could test.

Well if the doctor prescribed the OP an MAOI instead, they’d be able to stick to a diet since those drugs forbid all the fun foods and drinks. FODMAP looks less bad (note: I am going on the Wikipedia page, which seems incomplete). But no beans? Fine with me. MAOI’s no meat or beer? I’ll deal with crippling depression. :slight_smile:

Incomplete vasovagal syncope? The whole trembly lightheaded funk sounds like hypoglycemia almost to the point of passing out the way it hits me so combine the vasovagal response to gut stress without the complete faint. I have never actually fainted, but I have gone hypo almost to the point of passing out. Beats my friend Matt going the other way and hitting 700+ and crashing his car from the ‘drunk’ effect.

And the very next day Merneith’s parents came down with IBS! I made that up. :smiley:

You have to order Animal Style to get onions grilled? In my quadrant of the galaxy, I can get a regular In-N-Out burger with grilled onions; no need to go Animal Style just to get grilled onions. (Of course, their Animal Style stuff gets you a lot of other extra fixins too.)

No, but if you’re taking that step, why not go all the way! It’s like eating breakfast without bacon.

Concerned lactose’s contribution to the problem is hard to diagnose… lactose problems can grow…literally its a problem with gut flora… It doesn’t just come from the first day or two of milk… its from weeks and weeks of exposure to (too much) milk. The lactose is feeding the wrong bacteria, so the problem can develop slowly or quickly… besides an incident of IBS can then be the trigger for lactose intolerance…

All those food you listed would seem to accelerate food through the small intestine… So it may be lactose will always contribute to the problem of IBS .

When you have lactose in the small intestines and then have IBS… the IBS then moves the contents of the small intestine through to the end too fast… lactose takes time to break down , so the faster movement puts lactose into the non-acid environment of the large intestine… the wrong bacteria grow… for some reason lactose feeds the gut flora problem, especially in the low acid environment. (The small intestine is high acid… and then the acid is neutralized in the large environment.)

Anyway, the lactose intolerance issue can cure slowly or quickly… so anecdotes from one person or the average person , are no good… you need to test if your problem is lactose related over a long time.

Cut out dairy products (or just use lactose free milk.) and cut out fat too. ( as fat contributes to the fast speed of food moving through the GI , and to poor intestinal flora makeup… )

Try a vegetable diet, try any muesli that doesn’t contain gluten. Changing to a diet with lots of fibre ,eg muesli and vegetables like potato, carrot, pumpkin, and even plain rice … may help slow down the rate of food passing through … which is good for various reasons.

Get tested for Celiac. If that’s negative, the next time you have diarrhea, try a BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast.

If that helps or even clears up the problem, you know the issue probably isn’t wheat. That’s more like “traditional” IBS, and responds well to a diet low in insoluble fiber, acidic foods, etc. Just add foods back in slowly until you find one that triggers problems.

If BRAT doesn’t work, try FODMAP. If FODMAP works, try adding wheat back in. If that doesn’t work, gluten might be your problem.

And if gluten is your problem, you probably don’t have to use FODMAP. I can essentially eat anything I want so long as it doesn’t have gluten in it. Before, I couldn’t eat much of anything. I couldn’t eat even most of the allowed foods on the FODMAP list, and my list of forbidden foods got longer every year.

BUT START WITH CELIAC TESTING. No joke. Start with the testing. Celiac cannot be tested for while you are on a FODMAP elimination diet, and you will want to know if it’s Celiac. The testing for Celiac takes a while and you must continue to eat gluten in order to get viable test results.

Also eggplant (aubergine) is in the nightshade family. The only cultivated one from the old world.