Treatment for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome, commonly known as IBS, is a medical condition that affects the body’s digestive system. Nearly 6-18% of the world population is said to be involved with IBS. It is a lifelong problem and there is no permanent cure; the symptoms are only manageable through diet and lifestyle. In addition, the exact cause of the disease is unknown, but physicians have explained few probable causes.  


What is IBS? 

Irritable bowel syndrome occurs with a group of symptoms that irritates the gastrointestinal system. The classic sign includes intermittent diarrhoea and constipation. Studies have proven IBS as a functional gastrointestinal disorder. Functional gastrointestinal disease happens due to gut-brain interactions. In the case of a more sensitive gut, abdominal pain and bloating are symptoms. The muscle contractions in the bowels leading to intermittent diarrhoea and constipation.  

What are the causes of IBS?  

  • Muscle contractions in the intestine: Patients with IBS suffer from the susceptible colon. The muscle layers inside the intestinal wall help to move food through the digestive tract. The contractions in these muscle layers might become strong and last longer than usual, causing irritation, bloating and diarrhea. On the other hand, weak intestinal muscle contractions can slow down food particles’ movement and make them hard or dry stools.
  • Nervous sensitivities in the digestive tract: Any abnormalities in the nerves of the digestive system lead to abdomen discomfort, flatulence, or frequent feeling of passing motions. Poor gut-brain interactions can cause the body to overreact to the process of digestion, resulting in abdominal cramps, loose stools or constipation.
  • Inflammatory conditions in the intestines: Patients suffering from IBS might have increased inflammatory cells. These may lead to diarrhea associated with pain abdomen.
  • Infection in the Gastrointestinal tract: Irritable Bowel Syndrome can develop post any infection to the stomach caused by bacteria or viruses. Sometimes IBS flares up due to excessive growth of gut bacteria.
  • Effect of serotonin: the neurotransmitter serotonin, produced in the gut, acts on digestive nerves. Persistent diarrhea leads to increased serotonin levels in the gut. Conversely, patients predominant with constipation has decreased amount of serotonin level.
  • Change in Microflora: The gut bacteria or microflora are the good bacteria present in the intestine and have a significant role in maintaining health. The constitution of bacteria will be different in the case of people suffering from IBS compared to normal gut bacteria.
  • Studies have proven 70% of the categories who suffer from IBS are women. In addition, changes in hormones may trigger the symptoms of IBS.

What are the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?  

Depending on person to person, the signs and symptoms may vary. Common clinical presentations are – 

  • Abdominal pain or cramps which is relived after passing the stools 
  • Abdominal bloating 
  • Excess flatulence in the stomach 
  • Alternative episodes of diarrhea or constipation 
  • Passing mucous with the stools 

When to visit a doctor  

Visit a doctor when there are intermittent changes in bowel habits or if any of the above discussed symptoms persist. This condition should not be neglected as it may lead to severe diseases like colon cancer. Other symptoms may include: 

  • Severe weight loss 
  • Frequent diarrhea at night 
  • Regular rectal bleeding 
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Unexplained vomiting 
  • Difficulty in swallowing food 
  • Persistent abdominal cramps, which gets better after passing gas or motions. 

Ayurvedic medicine for Irritable bowel syndrome  

Ayurveda gives prime importance to the concept of Agni (our digestive system). Acharya Charaka and Sushrutha explained the disease Grahani, which can be correlated to irritable bowel syndrome. Ayurveda considers Ggrahani as a part of the small intestine. Grahani is caused due to imbalance in the Agni. This may lead to diarrhoea, indigestion, abdominal cramps etc. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends IBS treatments in detail.   

While considering the Ayurvedic medicines for IBS, these qualities are to be noted –   

  • Deepana: The medicine should improve the Agni (digestive fire) and possess carminative property. 
  • Pachana: The medicine helps to promote digestion. 
  • Sangrahi: Medicine which helps to increases the absorption capacity of the intestines. 

Panchakarma Treatments:

Based on the condition, analyzing the dosha and reason of Grahani, Panchakarma treatments like Virechana, Vasti, Dhara etc., are advised to patients. This promotes gut motility, improves and corrects the Agni (digestive fire). In addition, they help in restoring intestinal health and regulates bowel patterns.  

A healthy diet is the only effective natural remedy for treating IBS. Know your stomach and consume the food. Healthy food such as whole grains, oats, quinoa, black rice, plant-based diet etc., are more apt to take under irritable bowel syndrome diets. Avoid having raw foods, which can give more load for your digestive fire.  

Intake of probiotics helps to enhance the microbiome in the body. A natural remedy for IBS include a mix of dried powder of ginger, black pepper and rock salt in equal proportion, mix well and take this powder in ¼ tsp with warm water after food.