IBS imageDo you frequently experience abdominal pain, bloating, excess gas or irregular bowel movements? If so, you may be among the 15% of the US population affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).1

Symptoms can be brought on by a number of triggers including anxiety, insomnia and stress. Although there is no known cure for IBS, there are numerous treatments to help relieve symptoms. At Mill-e-Moto, both Ryan and Misako have 10+ years of experience treating IBS and IBS-related symptoms; to learn more about our treatment styles (click here).

Below is information regarding recent research, easy to try home remedies and options that we can provide. Questions? Feel free to contact us to discuss how TEAM Mill-e-Moto can assist you.

 

Herbal Therapies

Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) often uses herbal remedies to treat a number of ailments and diseases, including IBS. At Mill-e-Moto we often prescribe a classical Chinese herbal formula to addres the symptoms and root cause of IBS. Most often a combination of herbs are selected based on your unique pattern/presentation (read more here). Some examples of single herbs that you can try at home are:

  • Peppermint

    Peppermint leaves

    Peppermint has been studied and used to help treat IBS discomfort. A natural antispasmodic, peppermint can help decrease muscle spasms in the GI tract. Common ways to use peppermint include peppermint tea or peppermint oil, both can be found at your local health store and often in your back yard!

  • Ginger works as an anti-inflammatory and is thought to strengthen the gastric lining and assist with abdominal function. You can buy prepared ginger tea, or make your own by boiling water with a few slices of ginger root.
  • Fennel

    Fennel Flowers

    Fennel can help bloating and gas due to IBS. Fennel is considered a carminative, meaning it has properties that prevent the formation of excess gas in the GI tract. Fennel can also decrease heartburn, indigestion and common stomach pain. You can find fennel tea (or seeds to make your own) in your local health food store.

 

Acupuncture

Hair-pin

As thin and flexible as a human hair

Acupuncture is commonly used to treat chronic abdominal pain, bloating and other IBS-related symptoms. A recent study from the UK suggests that acupuncture, in addition to usual care, is beneficial for the treatment of IBS.2 In addition, acupuncture has been shown to relieve pain and stress, common triggers for IBS.  Although individual treatment protocols vary, at Mill-e-Moto we usually recommend ~10 acupuncture sessions, often starting twice per week; results are often noticed by the sixth treatment. Feel free to contact us to discuss how TEAM Mill-e-Moto can assist you.

 

Probiotics

193px-Bulgarian_yogurt

Bulgarian-style yogurt

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that normally live in your gut. One theory is that those with IBS do not have enough healthy bacteria (probiotics) in their GI tract. You can easily add probiotics to your diet by eating foods such as miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt (try Bulgarian Style, richer in probiotics). Kombucha and kefir are drinks that also include probiotics. We love the Kombucha sold by Soma; grab a free sample a block from our clinic every Saturday at the Beaverton Farmers Market. Another option is to use a supplement; we have a wonderful Probiotic from Standard Process available here at Mill-e-Moto.

 

Meditation and Exercise

BodhidharmaYoshitoshi1887Both are excellent stress relievers and in turn can relieve IBS symptoms (stress & anxiety are common triggers). Not only does exercise release endorphins (helps fight stress), but regular physical activity can help regulate your GI system. A daily walk may be just what you & your ‘gut’ need!

Be Mindful of your Gut…Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that women who practiced mediation had a 38% reduction in symptoms, significantly better that the 12% reduction for those in a traditional support group.3 In a separate study, researchers reviewed the literature to locate mindfulness-based mediation studies and combined their results. Their findings suggests that the effects are beneficial for several disorders; from IBS to fibromyalgia.4

Meditation focuses on deep breathing, visualization, and gentle movements to relax the mind and body. At Mill-e-Moto we offer meditation classes twice per week (Monday’s @4:45pm & Saturday’s @7:30am). Classes are suitable for beginners and experienced individuals. With no experience required, you only need to make time to come!

 

References

  1. Brandt LJ, Bjorkman D, Fennerty MB, et al. Systematic review on the management of irritable bowel syndrome in North America. Am J Gastroenterol. Nov 2002;97(11 Suppl):S7-26.
  2. MacPherson H, Tilbrook H, Bland JM, et al. Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: primary care based pragmatic randomised controlled trial. BMC gastroenterology. 2012;12:150.
  3. Gaylord SA, Palsson OS, Garland EL, et al. Mindfulness training reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome in women: results of a randomized controlled trial. Am J Gastroenterol. Sep 2011;106(9):1678-1688.
  4. Lakhan SE, Schofield KL. Mindfulness-based therapies in the treatment of somatization disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2013;8(8):e71834.