In my acupuncture practice, I encounter a huge variety of digestive disorders. This isn’t terribly surprising to me, though, given that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) currently affects 20% of the adult population and is among the disorders most frequently diagnosed by doctors. IBS symptoms vary tremendously from person to person, and the disorder’s etiology is not well-understood. While effective pharmaceutical management of IBS has been unsurprisingly lacking, there are a number of more natural methods to regulate the digestive system and help treat common digestive problems.
Treating Common Digestive Problems and Disorders Naturally
Peruse those listed below, based on the symptoms relevant to your digestive issues.
Try reducing (or eliminating) consumption of:
Coffee, including decaffeinated
Ice Cold Beverages
Artificial Sweeteners, including Splenda
Try increasing consumption of:
For intestinal disorder of any sort:
Probiotics - Probiotics improve the health of the entire digestive tract by promoting the flourishing of the ‘good’ bacteria that populate the intestines. It is especially important to experience all of the benefits of probiotics due to the widespread use of antibiotics, which effectively kill the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut – causing numerous health issues. Look for a ‘soil based’ probiotic to ensure the organisms will survive in stomach acid and pass into the gut.
Psyllium or Acacia Fiber – Great for helping to treat common digestive problems, insoluble fiber helps build bulk in the intestine and therefore serves as a sort of natural ‘vacuum.’ Increase consumption gradually and drink plenty of water to allow your body to adjust and avoid bloating. Work up to taking a tablespoon full nightly before bed to soothe and regulate intestines.
Aloe Vera Juice
Psyllium or Acacia Fiber
Follow the BRAT Diet - Eat bananas, rice (white), applesauce and tea (or toast, depending on who you ask!) to get an acute episode of diarrhea under control.
Carob - Try mixing a tablespoon or two with applesauce and a mashed banana. Carob, apples and bananas are all rich sources of pectin, which binds loose stools.
Above all, listen to your body. Just as we are all unique individuals with a unique set of desires and needs, our bodies have unique requirements and responses. While the remedies listed above tend to produce certain results for most people most of the time, take time to reflect on each adjustment you make and notice how it works for your body before deciding if it is for you. Trust your gut, literally!