IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects more than one - fifth of the world’s population. It is more widespread in women than men, although it appears to be somewhat predominant before age 35 -but, infrequently after age 40 - in half of the affected individuals.
Statistics too suggests that IBS affects an estimated 10.5 per cent of the population. Research suggests that there may be a certain familial tendency, or ‘genetic’ vulnerability, which predisposes us to IBS, no less. Homeopathy addresses this likely predisposition; it treats the individual, not just one’s intestinal and bowel symptoms, or the disorder by its name alone. This is because no two individuals with IBS present with the same symptoms - their reactions, or responses, their likes and dislikes, what makes their symptoms better or worse, not to speak of their temperament, which may be as different as chalk and cheese.
IBS is one of the most common conditions treated by professional homeopaths in the UK, as also elsewhere. There is, in addition, large-scale ongoing clinical research, in Europe and the US, regarding the evidence-based safety and effectiveness of homeopathic treatment for the syndrome. The results are promising - clinicians believe that this could lead to better understanding and more effective treatment outcomes for patients presenting with or having long-standing IBS.
Causes & Symptoms
The word ‘syndrome’ in IBS includes all types of symptoms, including bloating and digestive pain, a typical presentation, although IBS, in effect, refers to a condition where the bowels have extreme reactions - such as alternating constipation and diarrhoea - which come and go on their own accord. Some clinicians refer to IBS as a form of depression - ‘depression of the intestines’ - highlighted by reduced amounts of the ‘feel-good’ chemical, serotonin, which also occurs in psychological, or emotional, depression. Here is how it happens. The nerve cells in the intestines synchronise digestion; they trigger the muscle of the intestines to contract. When serotonin levels are inadequate, the intestine gets uneasy. This leads to alternating bouts of too much or too little activity, or general distress. The worst part is symptoms may get aggravated by chronic constipation - not a pleasant prospect.
The sequel is predictable. When toxic waste resides in the colon, for long, the smart and bright nervous system in the intestines alternate between primary panic and paralysis, while giving you diarrhoea to get rid of the toxins, and making you bloated, at the same time.
Research suggests that IBS could be healed naturally by restoring serotonin production to its optimal level and removing toxicity, through detox, although the idea is still in its nascent stage. This is paradoxical, because it was conventional (allopathic) medicine that first ‘pioneered’ the idea of treating IBS patients with antidepressants.
The protocol evolved unintentionally, after some patients with depression were treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They unexpectedly, but expectedly, were relieved of IBS. This was not surprising, given the physiological action of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, and the extent of suffering - something that in extreme cases could also lead to unwanted surgeries, such as cholecystectomies (surgical removal of the gall bladder), hysterectomies (surgical removal of the uterus), appendectomies (surgical removal of the vermiform appendix) and back surgeries.
It may be mentioned that when antidepressants are prescribed to certain patients’ ‘psychological’ symptoms it eases bowel conditions so tangibly that the treatment is today a standard protocol for IBS - whether the patient is emotionally depressed or not depressed. Yet, the irony is, no serious debate, discussion or long-term clinical study, has gone into why SSRIs help IBS patients to progress, or feel better. So much for ‘evidenced-based,’ or extraordinarily ‘funded,’ research in conventional (allopathic) medicine!
There is also a theory that IBS may result from abnormal contractions of the intestinal walls. Yet another factor may be food sensitivity, or increased sensitivity to certain foods, such as fruit, or the artificial sweetener, sorbitol, contributing to the condition. IBS, as some clinicians point out, may also sometimes occur after a gastrointestinal infection - more so, in individuals with a family history of IBS.
Healing With Homeopathy
There is no real, effective medication for IBS in conventional medicine (allopathy). Homeopathy, on the other hand, has safe, effective remedies to treat IBS from the ‘root.’ IBS is one of the most common functional conditions treated by professional homeopaths worldwide, as highlighted at the outset. It is also a growing area of homeopathic clinical research - to establishing more effective, evidence-based treatment protocols for the disorder.
In a study conducted, at a large group of homeopathic clinics, on a group of IBS patients, treatment results showed an impressive ‘feeling better’ in 89 per cent of patients. It also highlighted the fact why more and more patients are opting for homeopathic treatment as the most ‘preferred’ and ‘proven’ alternative option in holistic healthcare.
Homeopathy addresses and treats the individual with IBS. Not just one’s bowel or gut symptoms, as they appear on the surface - all the more reason why clinical studies substantiate the therapeutic value, effectiveness and safety of homeopathic protocols in the treatment of IBS.
That IBS also accounts for more referrals to gastroenterologists than any other digestive disorder, with treatment outcomes being anything but spectacular, or long-lasting is a significant detail. It is classed as a ‘functional disorder,’ which means that the intestines appear normal, but do not function normally - this is obviously a key therapeutic area where homeopathy works best.
Research suggests that IBS individuals often benefit from eating low-glycaemic foods - such as oats. This is because low-glycaemic foods convert into sugar slowly in the bloodstream and prevent the expansion of ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut
Opt for low-fat foods. Low-fat foods are evidenced to be better, because they reduce inflammation, unlike fat-rich or junk- foods, which increase the chemical load in our body and heighten inflammatory responses in the gut
Increase your fluid intake - drink plenty of water, fruit or vegetable juice, derived from carrot, spinach, beet and cucumber
Drink two cups of green tea (without milk and sugar), 20 minutes before meal-time to improve digestion
Avoid or limit eating cabbage and broccoli; they may trigger ‘gas’ problems
Avoid alcohol, colas, soda, tea, coffee, hot and spicy food, chewing gum, and conventional (allopathic) drugs, such as aspirin, or pain killers (anti-inflammatory); they can irritate your stomach lining (gastric mucosa) and cause gastric distress
Eat nutrition-rich, small, light and frequent meals
Avoid alcohol and quit smoking
Take effective steps to control your stress by way of yoga, meditation, music, visualisation and other relaxation techniques
Follow-up with your homeopathic doctor on a regular basis.