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Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] is a vague label for myriad symptoms that can occur in the digestive system. These include:

1. Flatulence

2. Abdominal pain during or after eating

3. Frequent stools [or constipation]

4. Heartburn

5. Indigestion

6. Burping or bloating after meals

7. Fatigue and lethargy

It can contribute to all manner of disease in the body such as; bowel cancer, mal-absorption of nutrients, Candida, Arthritis, skin problems.

It is vital that if you are suffering any discomfort in the digestive tract, that you go and talk to your Doctor – they will be able to identify exactly what the problem is – you do not want to be dealing in guesswork where your health is concerned.

IBS is painful but it is not terminal and with wise lifestyle and diet changes, you can recover.

What could those changes be?

Read through the following list and select those that feel right for you.

Do them for a while and see if you feel an improvement.

We live in a toxic world and an occasional de-tox improves the functioning of our entire body. When the body doesn’t have to expend so much of its energy on neutralising and eliminating toxins, that energy can be used on troubleshooting and repairing the body.

Try 48 hours of water or vegetable broth fast. You may feel worse at first as the toxins begin to leave the body. A fast of this kind does put stress on the Liver; consider taking the supplement Milk Thistle to support the organ when its load is increased in this way [also a useful supplement if you have a few glasses of wine].

After detoxing, look with an honest eye at your everyday diet. It is pure commonsense that foods loaded with chemicals are not good for us. Formulate an eating plan that will support rather than weaken you. Get food tested, or test yourself for a truly individually tailored diet. I personally use the jug test to see what suits my body chemistry and will therefore be more easily metabolised, digested and eliminated.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, consider the following:

· Increase your water intake and eliminate/reduce: tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol.

· Avoid gluten and any wheat products which can often be an irritant.

· Avoid dairy products which the body can find difficult to process.

· Cut out sugar – any food that has sugar in its top 3 list of ingredients should be dropped – pronto.

· Ask yourself: “Would a caveman eat this?” – if the answer is ‘no’, then neither should you.

· Keep your diet non-irritating – let’s say subtle and bland versus fiery and hot.

· Chew your food, take your time, put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. Chewing is digestive magic, it can make a huge difference to how your intestines react to the food you eat.

· Graze lightly throughout the day.

· Include high fibre fruit and vegetables, brown rice, vegetable juices, fish and chicken.

Because there can often be a problem with malabsorption. Take any supplementation in a tincture form, it will make it easier for the body to absorb and utilise the supplement, rather than it passing through only partially absorbed. BioCare is an excellent brand that offer many tinctures. Some supplements you could consider, include:

· Slippery Elm soothes the intestinal tract

· Aloe Vera soothes and heals the tract

· Chamomile [Manzanilla] Tea – calms the tract and is an easily available alternative to coffee when you are out. As is Peppermint Tea.

· St John’s Wort can be taken to address stress or anxiety which will be exacerbating the IBS, or even causing it. If you are in USA try Kava Kava tea. From the area of the Pacific Islands, it is a gentle sedative.

· B Complex improves the intestinal muscle tone.

· Acidophilus will help repopulate the intestines with ‘friendly’ flora.

· Garlic aids digestion and is so easily available over here.

· Flaxseed oil protects and lubricates the intestinal tract.

· Pau D’arco capsules will sooth the gut.

· Psyllium Husks help regulate bowel movements.

· Lethicin is a great aid to digestion [it helps break down the food]. Also a must if you suffer from high cholesterol.

Above all, you need to look at your stess levels. Are you a swan on water? Outwardly in control, floating gracefully along life’s river but underneath paddling away like crazy!

Stress is THE key factor with IBS, it is imperative therefore that you find a way, that suits your lifestyle and that you enjoy, to reduce your reaction to stress. It could be: a brisk daily walk, meditation, yoga, energy medicine exercises, listening to music, making music, sitting and reading a book. In fact, make a regular date with a book you fall in love with. Create time every day just for you, even if it's only 30 minutes, it will be good self-medication.

Get a hobby that demands your attention, it will stop the chattering of your mind.

One exercise that can help is: THIGH MASSAGING, that’s right, massage the outside of your thighs, exactly where the seam of your jeans sit. Really dig in and massage from hip to knee [if you are constipated] or knee to hip [if you are suffering loose stools]. Do daily for 40 seconds.

Another tip is to use a plastic stool under your feet when you sit on the loo. Squatting is the optimum posture for ‘evacuation’; the colon is in natural alignment with the rectum and anus, everything is open, gravity can lend a hand your ‘movement’ will be strain-free, more complete, quick and easy – as Nature intended. However, I can’t see myself squatting on top of my loo – it would probably collapse. So raising feet on the stool and bending forward slightly will imitate that optimum position.

Olive Oil can be your friend. Use externally for a deep abdominal massage [in a clockwise direction] and/or take loads as a dressing on your salad.

Massage internally by deep breathing into the abdominal area, hold the breath there for a few seconds before breathing out slowly and pulling your navel in to touch your spine [okay, so this is physically impossible, but you get my meaning].

Colonic Irrigation is a great option for IBS. I promise you it is not as bad you think it might be – quite relaxing, in fact almost pleasant! It is not necessarily something you will do every week for the rest of your life, but it can ‘kick start’ your intestine into a more normal function.

Finally, I cannot resist ending with an esoteric thought: Large Intestine sits in Metal Element and that is related to ‘letting go’ – so what is it in your life that you need to now let go of? I leave you with that to reflect upon.

You might like to refer to my little book ..... COPING WITH CANDIDA or my other one .... YOU'VE GOT GUTS - both available on Amazon.

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