Nearly 20% adults are affected globally by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), an illness that is seen more commonly in women as compared to men. Stress has been strongly implicated in the development of the condition. The problem seems to lie in the improper interaction between the nervous system and gastro-intestinal tract. Being a functional disorder, IBS is usually identified or diagnosed by the characteristics of the symptoms after ruling out other possible causes. While some patients with IBS are particularly sensitive to certain foods, others develop the problem after an infection or due to imbalances in their immune system.
Conventional treatment is symptomatic, using laxatives or binders to treat diarrhoea or constipation respectively, along with counselling, dietary modifications, and painkillers in case there is abdominal pain. Homeopathy, being a unique science that acts on both the mind as well as body, can help to decrease the intensity and frequency of the symptoms by tackling the root cause, thereby reducing the dependency on regular medication, thus improving the quality of life. Homeopathy, with its holistic approach, treats the individual and not just the disease. The treatment is tailored to suit the patient’s constitution. For example, Argentum Nitricum is an excellent remedy for nervous personalities who suffer from diarrhoea from eating sweets and abdominal bloating due to gas; whereas, Nux Vomica will be useful in in treating IBS in irritable people who, being quarrelsome and finicky by nature, have frequent urging for passing stools along with an unfinished feeling even after defaecation. A six year study at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital revealed that 70% patients with IBS reported positive health changes after the homeopathic treatment.
There is no standard diet for IBS. Cut down on your intake of red meat, fats, sweets, and spices. Alcohol, caffeine, and chocolates can worsen abdominal cramping; hence reduce their consumption. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Avoid carbonated drinks and gas forming foods like beans, cabbage, and broccoli. Chew your food well. Have small, frequent meals and maintain a food diary to know what aggravates your condition. Homeopathic treatment along with just a little lifestyle change can help an IBS patient heal the natural way.
Article by Dr Mukesh Batra
L.C.E.H., F.H.M.A. (U.K.), F.R.S.H. (Med) P.(Lon), M.D.H. (U.S.A.), F.B.I.H.(U.K.)
Published in Times of India on 19 October 2009