Do you suffer from abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea or alternating diarrhea, and constipation? Are these ailments, occasional or chronic, ruining your life? Have all your medical tests turned out normal? The probable diagnosis: you are afflicted with irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome is sometimes difficult to diagnose because the intestinal mucosa shows no inflammation and no ulceration. However, your pain is real.

In people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, the lining of the intestine is extremely sensitive. The ingestion of certain foods and the presence of bloating caused by gas can cause pain. Although there is no cause, chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, because it affects the quality of digestive metabolism.

It is estimated that irritable bowel syndrome affects millions of people and that twice as many women as men suffer. One in four cases of irritable bowel syndrome occurs after an episode of gastroenteritis. For this reason it is important to rebalance the intestinal flora by taking probiotics.

Intolerances and Food Allergies

Some foods are often implicated in irritable bowel syndrome. These are: dairy, wheat (because of gluten), corn, coffee, cola, chocolate, citrus fruits, fried foods, and sugary foods…

In the presence of abdominal pain, it is recommended to stop the consumption of these products a while and reintroduce them one at a time to check which cause reactions.

Other foods are sometimes poorly tolerated because they produce gas. These are garlic, onions, leeks, turnips, beans and foods of the cruciferous family (cabbage, broccoli).

Solutions to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Fiber must be present in your daily diet, especially ground flax seeds, psyllium seeds, whole grain cereals and bran. They improve bowel function by casting the stool and increasing stool volume.

Natural solutions exist to facilitate the regeneration of the intestinal mucosa. The amino acid l-glutamine, NAG (N-acetyl-glucosamine) and aloe are nutrients that ensure the maintenance and integrity of the intestinal wall. To relieve pain, calm the spasms and assist in the expulsion of gas, fennel, slippery elm and peppermint are effective forms of plants. As for probiotics, they are essential to improve the quality of intestinal flora.

For therapy and personal advice, consult a licensed naturopath. Give yourself a chance to improve your quality of life.


Brenda Watson, ND and Leonard Smith, MD, Gut Solutions, Natural Solutions to Your Digestive Problems, Renew Life Press.