Top tips for bowel soothing
Bloating, wind, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhoea can be unpleasant and embarrassing to cope with. These symptoms are very natural during periods of stress, but some people suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) daily. We know that in IBS sufferers the type and number of gut bacteria are different, and the bowel may become slightly inflamed as a result. Here are some tips to try for bowel soothing and to reduce these negative symptoms:
Trial a week without brassica and allium vegetables. These include sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, onions, leeks and garlic. Although these are very good for you, they can make the problem worse because the gut bacteria like to feed on them!
Trial a week without pulses such as dry roasted peanuts, beans and lentils, as they can commonly cause problems.
Trial a week without stone fruits such as apples, pears, peaches and plums, as they are high in sorbitol and fructose, which are both hard to digest in the small intestine. This tough digestion can result in the fruits fermenting and causing gas.
Don’t have too many sugar alcohol sweeteners. For example eg glycerol, sorbitol, mannitol or xylitol are perfect meals for gas producing bacteria. Cut out chewing gum because it can have lots of sugar alcohol sweeteners and it makes you produce more stomach acid.
Don’t swallow air. Gulping food down too quickly or having chewing gum can make you swallow air that eventually needs to escape. Try to eat slowly food and take over 15 minutes to eat a meal.
If you are deficient in vitamin D3 treat it! Vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to intestinal inflammation and gut bacteria changes, potentially making bloating worse so get your vitamin D3 tested with your GP to find out.
Try green tea if peppermint tea doesn’t work. Green tea has been used in inflammatory bowel conditions as it has anti-inflammatory properties.
Trial lactose free milk and dairy produce for 2-4 weeks. Lactose can sometimes cause wind and bloating and IBS-type symptoms. If it makes no difference, then return to using ordinary milk and dairy products.
Curcumin extracted from turmeric is known to be anti-inflammatory, reducing IBS symptoms in some people. If adding turmeric in food makes symptoms worse try curcumin capsules.
Set aside time to eat. Don’t go too long between meals as the stomach will become acidic, producing gas which will have to move through the bowel after you eventually eat. Create a calm atmosphere and chew food slowly. If you are stressed, consider relaxation therapies in addition.
Try a probiotic for 4 weeks. These must contain live bacteria in large amounts, and many strains such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the same dose may be of benefit. If it contains a ‘pre-biotic’ though, it may initially make bloating worse. There are other supplements which may help if probiotics do not.