IBS – Addressing acute symptoms with homeopathy

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Anyone who has ever suffered with IBS will know how debilitating a flare up can be. Sometimes there seems to be no obvious cause for the sudden onset of those all to familiar symptoms that leave us anxious and stressed, and then these mental states in turn exacerbate the condition. We reach for the Immodium or the Buscopan in the hope that it might work for us, this time.

If this is how your life feels sometimes, or most of the time, then maybe it’s time to consider a different approach? Homeopathy for many has been a way to take back control and avoid using medications that can have some undesirable side effects. If the meds aren’t working then maybe it’s time to consider homeopathy? I did, and it completely changed my life, and ultimately my career.

Whatever type of IBS you suffer from, there are remedies you can try to help get you through the acute symptoms.

Constipation:

Great Urge: You have the urge to go, yet nothing happens, much straining and effort to only pass a tiny amount. Never feeling like you’ve gone properly? Nux Vomica is ideal for ineffectual urging, constipation, heartburn & hemorrhoids. (Nux is a great remedy for the after effects of overindulgence of food and alcohol. It’s a remedy of excess, and this can be from working too hard or burning the candle at both ends) If you are feeling irritable and frustrated with the inner workings of your bowel then give Nux Vomica a try.

Inactivity of Colon: Chronic severe and relentless constipation. Pulsating sensation in rectum. Much straining and effort. Painful urging for great lengths of time. Hard and dry stools, great dryness of all mucus membranes. Aluminum Oxydata (Alum) is a good remedy for chronic and severe constipation and very useful for constipation in infants and the elderly too (I often use this remedy after patients have come off of laxatives, to help restore some kind of peristalsis in the rectum, long term use of laxatives can make the colon inactive)

Constipation with bloating: Food allergies/intolerances, noisy stomach, sensitive to fermented foods, bread, and hard to digest foods (onions, wheat, beans, lentils etc) Alternating with diarrhoea, stools that start as hard and difficult to pass and then become loose. Lycopodium Clavatum(one of my most prescribed IBS remedies! A real go to for weak digestion, bloating and food sensitivities)

Diarrhoea:

Sudden onset of diarrhoea that causes us feel chilly, with great anxiety and panic, accompanied by violent burning, cramping pains in the bowel, watery diarrhoea with or without nausea/vomiting – Arsenicum Albumwould be my go to remedy. (Arsenicum is also our No 1 Food poisoning and gastroenteritis remedy and worth having in the house)
I use this for people who have IBS that alternate between D & C

Frequent urge with diarrhoea: Burning pains in the rectum after going to the toilet. Constipation & diarrhoea, symptoms usually worse in the morning, upon waking and accompanied by much gas & colicky pains. Dioscorea (also indicated for bloating, see below)

Emotional & Anxiety causation: If your IBS-D flares up when you are upset or anxious then Argentum Nitricum could be great for you. Nervous stomach issues, anticipatory anxiety with diarrhoea, panic, distension and that feeling that your stomach is restricted by a tight band. Try Arg Nit. (Sugar cravings and symptoms made worse by sugar are a good indication for use of this remedy)

Sudden Urge after eating: That all to familiar uneasy sensation in the rectum after (or during) a meal. Weak feeling in the bowel, driven out of bed in the morning by the urge. Noisy digestion. Mucus in stools, watery diarrhoea. Nausea and feeling of stomach contents rising up, often accompanied by headache. Aloe Socotrina (Aloe)

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Bloating:
Possibly the most uncomfortable feeling in the world is when our stomach bloats for no obvious reason. We scrutinise what we ate that day. What is going on? We’ve eaten that bread before and this didn’t happen!

Trapped Wind If this bloating is eased by flatulence, or if it is caused by trapped wind then Carbo Veg is a potential remedy for you. Suitable for that sudden stomach inflation after a meal, when you have to loosen your trousers. Carbo veg can also be used for constipation or difficulty passing even a soft stool. Another useful hemorrhoid remedy (of which there are many!)

Fruit: Does fruit cause you to bloat? Is there a lot of noise and fermentation happening in you gut? You have the urge to burp, yet this does not help the bloating or pain? China Officinalis is a wonderful remedy for these symptoms (also excellent for post operative gas and dehydration caused from prolonged diarrhoea or vomiting)

Pain: Extreme pain and distension forcing you to double up or hold onto your stomach? Pain that comes in waves and radiates around the navel? Colocynthis is well indicated for these symptoms, when your intestines feel like they are being gripped hard.

Weak Digestion: When we’ve eaten too much, or eaten the foods that disagree with us then Dioscorea can help settle the bloating. Burning pains in the stomach and much belching and flatulence. Pain forces us to double over, but this makes the pain worse. We stretch up and bend backwards to try and release the pressure. Sharp pains in the pit of the stomach, radiating from stomach to back, and even chest and arms (pains can quickly change location and be felt in fingers and toes!) passing a stool does not alleviate the pain.

There are hundreds of remedies for the symptoms of IBS. Above is a brief summary of the indications for use of some of the more well known remedies. As our symptoms are all unique and differ, so are remedies unique in their application and action.

IBS has a trigger, as a homeopath I want to help find and address that cause with you. Whether it’s stress, anxiety, leaky gut, etc… I do this by asking you about your life, your symptoms, how they make you feel, when they started etc

Triggers: Often we live under prolonged times of great pressure, sometimes it never lifts, and we adjust to living in such a way. The first place you tend to physically notice this ‘adjustment’ is in the gut.
Homeopathy can help the way we deal with our emotions, and can help assist us to find ways to acknowledge and release stress in a way that is much less detrimental to our health and wellbeing. I work with people to help the physical and debilitating symptoms of IBS whilst also working on the deeper issues that can hold us in a place of ill health.

I am always happy to have a no obligation chat about your symptoms and whether homeopathy could help you

Photo by Victoria Palacios on Unsplash
First published to Steemit March 2018

IBS – Taking Back Control Of Your Body

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition I see frequently in practice as a homeopath. With more and more people diagnosed with IBS, I thought it appropriate to explain a few things about the gut and why it can become so problematic.

Firstly IBS is merely a medical catch-all term for any bowel or gut condition that has no pathology attached to it. In order to arrive at this generic diagnosis you would usually (if your doctor is thorough enough) have been through a few basic tests to see what is happening in your digestive system. Colonoscopies, endoscopies, blood & stool analysis, to rule out Crohn’s, Colitis, Proctitis, Coeliac disease, H-Pylori or other IBD related conditions.

So what do you do now?

Usually, the best a GP can offer you is antispasmodics, laxatives, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) or loperamide medications like Imodium, depending on your symptoms.

IBS is categorised into 3 types:

Type 1: Constipation – Pain and congestion of the intestines, cramping pains, bloating and delayed or infrequent bowel movements. Hard stools. We also see piles and fissures alongside this due to congestion and straining.

Type 2: Diarrhoea – Pain and discomfort, frequent bowel movements, with urgency. Loose stools.

Type 3: Constipation & Diarrhoea – an alternating and altogether unpleasant mix of the above 2!


IBS sufferers may suffer with all 3 types at different times throughout their life

Laxatives are often prescribed for Type 1 & 3 – If constipation is your nemesis then a laxative can seem like welcome relief when things are at a standstill. The body dislikes statis, it needs to flow. Here’s the deal with laxatives, and why they don’t actually do you any favours.
Depending on the type of laxative, they can take up to 3 days to work, long term use can cause the bowel to lose its ability to contract efficiently.

The bowel or colon is a continuous tube from the small intestines, it is categorised into 3 parts, ascending, transverse and descending. The descending colon finishes in the sigmoid colon and contents pass from here out of the anus.Usually stools that are passed come from the last section of the colon (descending) the rest of the contents from the ascending and transverse section then slowly contract around to form the next toilet trip (anywhere from 12 -24 hours later)
However, a laxative does not respect this order, it is not patient and its job is to clear all sections of the colon as quickly as it can.

So why is this a problem? pain

Well, there is nothing left in the large intestines now. It could take anywhere from 2-4 days to have any content worth ejecting. Plus its getting lazy. Why contract so efficiently if it doesn’t need to? We then panic. “I haven’t had a poo in 3 days so I must still be constipated!”. Laxatives become habitual in our quest for a daily poo!

Type 2 IBS sufferers are often reliant on Imodium to be able to leave the bathroom and house in the morning. Anxiety and panic over where the nearest toilet is on their commute or school run. Scrutinising every food they consume, food diaries, allergy tests and a growing list of intolerances.

Whichever type you may be, the toll on our mental and emotional health is massive for an IBS sufferer. I know this, i’ve been there and I understand how crippling this condition can be..

There are many triggers for IBS.

Antibiotics – This is a big one, destroys all your gut bacteria, good and bad. We need those to keep a healthy gut biome. Long term antibiotic use can wreak havoc on your gut. It can take many years to balance itself. The gut biome becomes weak and defenceless. Probiotics can be really helpful here. A good quality Probiotic can do wonders for the gut and beyond. The market is flooded with options. Ideally you need a good multi-strain probiotic that can survive the acidity of the stomach and survive to repopulate the gut.

Leaky Gut – When our intestines become permeable, through damage, inflammation, long term medications etc. Waste products, bacteria and undigested food particles can pass directly into the bloodstream. The body is under attack and creates antibodies to protect. It cannot differentiate between extremely toxic waste and a bit of part digested wheat, so it mounts a full on defence. Hence the increased intolerances and allergies to allergen foods. I have seen many clients who have a list of foods as long as my arm that they can no longer tolerate.

Stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, panic attacks, adrenal overload and hormone disorders also affect the workings of the digestive system. It’s a well honed machine, it aim is to get back on track, and for the most part we are the ones who hinder this process, albeit unwittingly.

Now for the good news! I found a way out of this myself, as a homeopath I help people with their IBS symptoms, I look at each and every person’s case as an individual. I identify triggers and use homeopathic remedies that support the digestive organs. Whilst I class myself as a constitutional homeopath, meaning I find a remedy that encompasses all your symptoms (Gut and beyond) I do also use remedies as organ support. I also use bowel nosode remedies and I have been seeing some excellent results using these in my practice. These are used to help convert non lactose fermenting (bad) bacteria into more gut happy bacteria. The effects of bad gut health extends far beyond the mechanics of digestion. I see skin problems, brain fog, mood issues all being directly influenced by the gut biome.

If you’re sick of living at the mercy of your bowel, then take your health in hand then let me see if I can help you.

originally published to Steemit Jan 17