Do you find yourself running to the bathroom for hours on end? Do you dread eating because you don't know how your digestive system will respond or if you will end up paying for your food later with frequent trips to the bathroom and vicious stomach cramps over the next few hours? If you do, you may be one of the many sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Unfortunately, the cause of IBS is really unknown. It is a real problem, but doctors don't yet understand what the root problem is. That doesn't mean you're powerless to help yourself, though. Here are 7 ways you can fight back against your IBS.
1. Drink tea. To help stop the spasms and cramping in your intestines, best health says to drink some tea. Peppermint tea is great for stopping the cramps with some people, although not everyone gets the same results. This should definitely be tried. Be sure to get real peppermint tea, not peppermint flavored tea. Drink 1 to 2 cups a day. Ginger tea is also good for stomach problems, so you can try this one. Drink 4 to 6 cups a day of ginger tea.
2. Eat regular meals. Eating at the same time every day gives consistency to your system. If you battle IBS, don't skip meals or cram your stomach full of food. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating lots of small meals throughout the day if you suffer from diarrhea and larger, fiber-packed meals if you struggle with constipation.
3. Increase your fiber. Tracking your diet is important if you battle with IBS. Most sufferers will find that increasing their fiber helps tremendously. WebMD encourages eating a diet that includes raspberries; pears; apples; carrots; green, leafy vegetables; whole-grain bread; wheat bran; kidney beans; and garbanzo beans. Avoid gas-causing foods like cabbage, peas and broccoli.
4. Consume probiotics. Probiotics can replace missing bacteria from your stomach that help digest your food. A great source of live bacteria according to best health is yogurt. You can even get different types of bacteria depending on the yogurt you eat, so read your packaging.
5. Acupuncture. The Mayo Clinic shares that acupuncture has proven to be somewhat effective at treating IBS symptoms.
6. Reduce stress. Stress is thought to be a contributing factor to IBS, so Healthline recommends doing things that help alleviate your stress. Take up a hobby, sit outside in the sun with a water element, go for a walk or try deep breathing exercises. All of these are good for you.
7. Exercise regularly. If you decide to take up walking, you may be able to kill two birds with one stone. According to WebMD, regular exercise stimulates contractions of the intestine and helps keep your bowels functioning properly. Making time daily for exercise should become a priority, even if it's just taking a walk.
IBS doesn't have to ruin your life. Take the time to figure out what foods trigger your problems, so you can avoid them. Maybe add some tea to your daily diet and find ways to reduce your stress. You may be able to take back control of your life.