Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) refers to a condition where the digestive system becomes unsettled. The resulting symptoms can be unpleasant, inconvenient and worrying. Those living with IBS may experience stomach cramps, diarrhoea, constipation and bloating.
IBS is extremely common in both men and women but it is more often diagnosed in women. In most cases the condition is chronic and has to be managed throughout a lifetime.
It is not fully understood why IBS occurs but it is thought to be linked to gut sensitivity and difficulty in digesting particular foods. Diet and emotional stress are often linked to the condition too.
Those diagnosed with IBS may need to make certain lifestyle changes in order to manage their symptoms. This may include avoiding trigger foods, introducing regular exercise and keeping stress levels to a minimum.
IBS is sometimes referred to as a functional disorder because close examination of the bowel tends not to show a direct cause for the condition.
Being constipated means that you are not passing stools regularly or you are unable to completely empty your bowel. The condition can leave you feeling uncomfortable with stomach ache, bloating, nausea and a loss of appetite.
The number of times an adult passes stools can vary. Some people may pass stools more than once a day whereas others may only do so a couple of times in one week. You do not need to pass a stool each day in order to have a healthy digestive system. However, if you notice that you are passing fewer stools than is normal for you then you may have constipation.
Stools which are hard and lumpy or particularly large or small may also be signs of constipation.
Most cases of constipation can be resolved effectively and do not lead to major complications. However, in a number of cases patients may go on to develop haemorrhoids, bowel incontinence or faecal impaction.
Diarrhoea occurs when excess fluid is secreted into the bowel resulting in excessively watery stools.
Bouts of diarrhoea can occur for a number of reasons. In the short term it is often associated with gastroenteritis caused by either bacteria, a virus or a parasite. It can also occur as a result of drinking too much alcohol, a food allergy, appendicitis, food poisoning or certain medications.
However, prolonged episodes of diarrhoea or loose stools may point to an underlying health condition or a poor diet.
It is important to stay hydrated when experiencing an episode of diarrhoea.
As with all homeopathic treatments the patient is looked at as a whole in order to determine the best course of action. Homeopathic treatments are said to improve bowel movements and calm the system.
There are numerous homeopathic remedies that may be used to help treat IBS, constipation or diarrhoea. The list is extensive but a short summary includes:
- Nux vomica
- Byronia Alba
A homeopathic practitioner will look to resolve the internal imbalance potentially causing the symptoms mentioned above.
Diet and lifestyle changes may benefit those suffering with these conditions.
If you notice blood being passed in your stools you should speak to your doctor, as they may need to carry out further tests and investigations to confirm a diagnosis.