Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is primarily a lifestyle disorder; however, a family history does play an important role in the development of IBS. It is divided into three types; IBS-D: Diarrhoea predominant IBS, IBS-C: Constipation predominant IBS and Mixed IBS: Altered expression of diarrhoea and constipation.In the current article, we will focus on IBS-D, particularly when it comes to home remedies.
In majority of cases IBS is diagnosed after several years of sufferings. In IBS-D, patients present with diarrhoea along with passage of mucus. Almost always, diarrhoea is treated by antibiotics without considering the exact cause, which can be harmful or rather contraindicated in IBS. In such cases, proper history plays an extremely important role, since IBS is a chronic condition and diarrhoea in IBS occurs even without consuming outside or stale food. In short, this type of diarrhoea can result without an infection.Till date IBS was considered to be a disorder of developing countries but now it is commonly seen in Indians as well.Irritable bowel syndrome is the best example of a disorder showing good results to home/ herbal remedies rather than medical treatment because of several reasons:1. Not a single but several pathophysiological aetiologies are responsible for IBS. 2. Patients generally approach GPs for the symptoms and thus diagnosis is delayed.3. Investigatory options are limited, scarce and some of them are still not available even in cities like Mumbai. (e.g., hydrogen breath test) 4. Available investigation and treatment options are costly and thus cannot be afforded by all in a developing country like India.India is blessed with a rich history and sources of herbal remedies for almost all ailments. If these remedies along with other management options are properly used for treating these patients, IBS-D can be brought under control to a great extent.It is observed that when a person creates a search for home remedies for any disorder, most of the times the searches are available from foreign sites mentioning herbal remedies from their countries, which are not easily available in India or even if they are available, they are sold at a very high cost.
Some easily available home/ herbal remedies available in India along with lifestyle measures are stated in the below section, which can help patients with IBS-D to make their life easy.1. Stress management, extremely important and neglected factor playing a role in IBS. A. Go for meditation and not just for 5-10 minutes but a minimum of 20 minutes, if you can spare more time, great… You can opt any type of meditation e.g., relaxion of entire body part by part, concentrating on breath, mindfulness or the easiest chanting “Aum”, which is associated with added benefit in IBS.B. Be active: Do some exercise, at least for 20 minutes, don’t enjoy exercise? Plug your headphones (not earphones) and go for a leisure walk for 20 minutes minimum. Still not motivated? Attend some dance or physical activity class? Still don’t want to get up? Go and play with kids/ children for some time.You don’t have an excuse to stay away from exercise, it is a must if you want to bring your IBS under control. 2. Vitamin D, less commonly identified factor in IBS.A. Shine yourself in some sunshine. Anytime is good to get some sunshine, from morning 8 to evening 5. Sit under the sun for a minimum of 10-15 minutes. Don’t bring the thought of skin cancer in your mind. Being an IBS person it’s normal for you to overthink but don’t worry, we Indians are not at high risk of developing skin cancers by sitting under the sun just for half an hour.B. Hope you are not applying that SPF bla bla sunscreen while going out on a sunbathing session. No vitamin D will be created in your skin if you are wearing a sunscreen. Avoid full clothing, don’t worry about the tan; formation of vitamin D is more important than that and yes there are again several home remedies to remove the tan as well.3. Drink lots of water and fluids, a minimum of 8 glasses. Say bye to coffee.4. Don’t overthink, no no no… Strictly no excuses for that, if you get plenty of time to overthink, go ann get yourself busy in any of the recreational activities. 5. A strict no to antibiotics neither for cough and cold, nor for diarrhoea and mucus. A. It is important to improve your immunity to stay away from cough and cold rather than treating it later. Eat vitamin C regularly in any form of your choice. Gooseberry or amla, is my favourite option for consuming vitamin C. Eat it with salt or grate it, squeeze it and consume a tablespoon of juice. Other options are lemon juice, orange, sweet lime etc.B. What if you still get cough and cold. Remember that you are going to experience symptoms for 3-4 days no matter what you try, home remedy or medicines from your doctor. So, take a homemade herbal tree made up of fistful of tulsi, licorice root/ powder AKA jesthimadhu/ jesthimadh/ yasthimadhu, clove, a black pepper, cardamom and patri or khadi shakkar (small cubes of sugar that particularly have medicinal use). You can also use jaggery. White onion and garlic though not palatable enhance the efficacy. Sip a cup of this tea thrice a day for 5 days along with golden latte for my foreign friends, while haldi ka doodh in local language and gargling with salt and turmeric water in the morning.C. Raw garlic or cooked garlic is quite helpful in controlling diarrhoea not only caused by IBS but also caused by infection. (Don’t forget that severe cases of diarrhoea need doctors’ attention). Sip ginger tea to sooth intestines, some cardamom powder will enhance the benefit. Black tea/ ginger tea without sugar is also helpful.D. Don’t forget to eat light food, preferably curd rice and boiled veggies. Fruits like banana and apple are good. Consume homemade curd as much as you want since it does contain friendly bacteria. If the curd is made from cow milk, all the way better since it is easy to digest over curd made from buffalo milk.E. Now the time for most stubborn entity… the mucus. No more stubbornness will be tolerated. Go for a couple of pieces of bel murabba (easily available in local ayurvedic shops) after every meal for better digestion and removing mucus.F. Consume 2 teaspoons of flaxseeds AKA alsi (roasted and powdered one is palatable). You can swallow it with water. It helps in absorbing toxins and plays a great role in IBS-C but also useful in IBS-D. Since patients with IBS-D are rarely constipated, some may not be comfortable with asli. So, it’s their choice and can be kept for option.G. Jesthimadh powder once again will help in absorbing extra mucus.6. Patients with IBS often experience flatulence (or gas in lay term). A. The easiest home remedy is to eat saunf/ anise seeds (roasted) or jeera or ajwain/ carom seeds after meals for better digestion. Good news for those with IBS-D is jeera and saunf both have some constipating properties, so another reason to consume these but remember that overconsumption may lead to proper constipation in patients with IBS-D as well. B. Another easiest way to control your gases is boil a fistful of peppermint (pudina) not a spearmint leaves in water for 10-15 minutes and drink it.Do use these DIY IBS-D hacks at your home. Believe me, they are useful and let me know your experience.