Since returning from Spain l6 months ago I’ve suffered from chronic diarrhoea sometimes five or six times a day, with terrible wind and bloating. My stomach feels upset all the time. I’ve had every conceivable test including laparoscopy, colonoscopy, barium meal, CT scan, urine tests, stool samples and blood tests, which have all been negative. My specialist tells me I have irritable bowel syndrome. It is making my life a living hell. What treatment can you suggest?
I am sure your specialist is right irritable bowel syndrome( lBS) is not a disease, as no cause is known (although many doctors tend to regard it as a psychological problem). If a specific cause were to be found – such as candidiasis gut fermentation, giardia, parasites, diverticulitis or Crohn’s disease- the diagnosis of IBS would be invalid.
A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that may or may not be linked to one particular organ or system, or to a single cause. IBS is characterized by heartburn or indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence, abdominal cramps, fullness of bowels even after evacuation, stomach bloating shortly after eating, and food intolerance manifesting as diarrhoea shortly after eating certain types of food. As you can see, all these are related to the gut.
At my Medical Centre around one patient in five comes to us because of this problem. Twenty years of experience have shown me that the best way is to help the digestive system heal itself by eating food stuffs that are easy to digest and beneficial to the body.
Here are the main points:
* Eat slowly and chew your food very well so that your stomach doesn’t get exhausted having to churn the food, producing more acid in the process.
* Do not drink water 45 minutes either side of meals, so that the gastric juice doesn’t get diluted, impairing digestion; during the meal sip a little to help swallowing.
* After lunch, rest for 15 to 20 minutes; after dinner, walk slowly for a mile. This helps the digestive organs to function better.
Avoid the following:
* Citrus fruits and sour foods, which contain acid that causes indigestion because it neutralizes bile, which is essential for smooth digestion.
* Yeast which causes gut fermentation, leading to gas, bloating, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.
* Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and cola, which cause gut muscles to tense, leading to cramps.
* Fried food, which is difficult to digest and puts a strain on bile production and supply.
* All alcohol, which is particularly bad for IBS sufferers; for example, white wine and champagne cause acidity,. and beer causes gas.
* Sugar and sugary foods, which feed yeast and candida.
* Fizzy drinks.
*Canned products, which contain lots of preservatives, causing acidity and bloating.
* Roughage (fruits, vegetables other than root, cereals and milk) for one or two months until the diarrhoea stops.
This is what I suggest you eat:
Breakfast Soft boiled eggs, or pancakes made from buckwheat flour with cottage cheese and honey, plus milk less tea to drink (ginger and peppermint are good). Lunch/dinner minced meat, chicken or turkey simmered with garlic, ginger and black pepper; olive oil mashed or boiled potatoes (peeled), carrots, parsnips, swedes, turnips; lentils soaked overnight, then cooked. Also boil the peel of one pomegranate in eight cups of water for l5 minutes, then cool and strain. Keep in the fridge and, to settle the stomach, drink half a cup twice daily, morning and evening, for seven days.
* Take a multivitamin and mineral daily for three months to compensate for the lack of fresh fruit and salad.
* Detox Tea: soak in a cup of hot water overnight, strain and drink in the morning for three months.
* Stomach Formula: take two tablets twice daily for two months
* Diarex: take one tablet every other day for two weeks if you have diarrhoea.
Regular exercise, such as walking, swimming or yoga, aids digestion.
Play a relaxation/meditation tape or CD in bed at night.
Rub and stroke your abdomen clockwise with sesame oil every morning for two minutes.