Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Diarrhea
Alternative Therapy for IBS continued...
Studies on herbs have been mixed. Peppermint has been used to relax colon muscles. The Mayo Clinic advises anyone who'd like to try it to get the enteric-coated capsules. A possible side effect is heartburn.
It is really important for people who want to try herbs to go to a trained specialist, says Jonathan Gilbert, who has a diplomate in herbology and acupuncture from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Going to a registered herbalist, says Gilbert, assures IBS patients that they are receiving the best care for their individual symptoms. "We'll adapt a formula (of herbs) to suit the actual patient," he says. "That will be determined by talking to the patients, looking at their symptoms, and doing a traditional diagnosis."
If you want to try acupuncture or herbs for your IBS symptoms, talk with your doctors first. Some herbs can interact with other medications.
Treating IBS can be frustrating, largely because it's a complex syndrome. Not every treatment works for every person. And your symptoms may change as you are treated for IBS. You may have diarrhea now, but suffer from constipation in a few weeks, and then have diarrhea again.
Your best bet? Find a doctor who understands IBS, and work together on your treatment plan, says Waring. Your doctor can help you determine the best course for you.