Date: Tue, 30 May 1995 15:26:51 PST
To: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>
Subject: Re: Irritated Bowel Syndrome

: My girlfriend has just been diagnosed with Irritated Bowel Syndrome. She has been recently been plagued with intense bloating, constipation and a few bouts of diarrhea. Her diet is relatively healthy and there have been no changes in her life (other than me). She is starting to chart foods and see if there is a relationship to the symptoms.
: Does the group have any suggestions, herbal remedies etc.
: Thanking you in advance

The two biggest correlatives are coffee and fruit. Frozen desserts cause this problem too, but that usually comes under 'fruit' these days. Discontinuing fruit can often have a big benefit for these cases.

--Paul || p_iannone.pop.com

From: "<Denise Williams>" <gbcb03.UDCF.GLA.AC.UK>

>My girlfriend has just been diagnosed with Irritated Bowel Syndrome.

Contrary to some advice too much fibre in the diet can aggravate irritated bowel syndrome. If her diet is healthy she probably takes in a fair bit of fibre so try reducing this. E.g. change from brown to white bread, cut right back on fruit, veg such as brussell sprouts, porridge and other high fibre foods as well as very spicy foods. Hope this helps.

From: Mary and Loren Testa <mtesta.MAIL.MOTHER.COM>

>Contrary to some advice too much fibre in the diet can aggravate irritated

I am not a doctor, so any suggestions or comments following are simply that.

I've had ulcerative colitus for 24 years (not always in an active stage) and have experienced various results from different fiber forms. For example, wheat bran was too harsh and I felt that it did not help the condition. Fruit fiber on the other hand, tended to produce a loose-stool that would be rash forming. I've tried psyllium (with good results), it seems to have its own bulking and lubricating mechanisms which have been an important aid to me in healing. Other fiber forms such as wheat grass tablets, and cooked vegetables also seemed very helpful.

What I have found over the course of time and experimentation with my own body is that everyone is different, or that enough differences exist that it might be worth experimenting with some different (healthy of course) fibers, and noting any responses in the body's system. Water intake seems also to be a very important aspect in regulating the colon. Coffee seems to be detrimental.

Hope this information helps.

Regards, -Loren

From: Liz Vose <liz.ERVOSE.MV.COM>

>My girlfriend has just been diagnosed with Irritated Bowel Syndrome.

I have had IBS for years. I have changed my lifestyle alot because I was under so much stress that it just worsened an already unpleasant illness. I started having panic attacks because I never knew when the bloating, gas, ect. would occur. I have now managed to find a way to live with this illness by finding out what causes this in my body and by cutting out stress. For me, grease is a major problem, as is milk sometimes, and acidic fruit. Sugar also causes problems.

I don't eat these things when I am going through a bad period. I have found that IBS comes and goes. My stomach sometimes seems to stay calmer with peppermint tea.

I think your girlfriend is definitely taking the correct approach. I just thought it was ME for way too long and should have gotten help much earlier. I also applaud your desire to help her.


From: Andrea Hoerr <ahoerr.PIPELINE.COM>

> Coffee seems to be detrimental.

I have to agree with the statement about coffee - I had problems with my lower intestinal tract and colon for years. One of many things that sets me off is coffee and chocolate. I have also found that dairy products are very problematic, probably because of their mucus-forming qualities. Interestingly enough, I worked with a "holistic" chiropractor for about 4 months, and one of the things we discovered was that I was subconsciously clenching the muscles in my colon area. I notice that I still tend to hold any tension in this area, and have to make a conscious effort to relax. I don't know if massage would work, but I found the chiropractor to be wonderful. He wasn't a "bone-cracker," but a doctor who worked with various pressure points in the body.

Good luck


From: Jacqueline Soule <soule.WSUNIX.WSU.EDU>

Judy seemed to think all the IBS seen lately is due to diet.

I am more inclined to agree with Adam Van Wirdum who wrote:

> There seems to be a lot of this being diagnosed at the moment.

and thought it may be due to a cryptic virus.

but wish to take this one step further.

Three years ago I was diagnosed with IBS. five doctors later I have found the real reason that my life has been hell for three years: subacute ameobic dysentary (picked up on a trip to Guatemala). This last doctor stated that if I had not been eating so well as I do, and been exercising daily, he may have not pursued my complaints so dilegently.

Also, last year Discovery Mag. had an article about the "Yuppie virus" that was called 'something' fatigue syndrome. A recent analysis showed that about 10% of the people diagnosed with it actually had a real problem, the other 90% had something else wrong, and were MISDIAGNOSED.

Doctors jump on bandwagons too.

Jacqueline Soule

From: Sandra Hoffman <sandrap.DRAGON.ACHILLES.NET>

I don't take anything for the IBS I had diagnosed 9 or 10 years ago. I keep it pretty much under control with diet and lifestyle changes. I discovered that the major dietary trigger for a major episode of spasms is citrus. My son is allergic to citrus so I didn't have any while I was nursing him. When he weaned I really binged on orange juice at a friend's house one day and had one of the worst episodes ever. For those who have IBS it was one of the doubled over with pain episodes.

Other triggers for me in descending order are stress. I treat the IBS as an early warning system now to get my stress levels under control. High fat diet over several days. Low roughage diet over several days. These two usually go hand in hand though. If I'm eating high fat the fat is usually displacing the roughage. And last but not least commercial beers and wines. I've had homemade no preservatives or additives beers and wines, on occasion to the point of being drunk, with no IBS problems, but one commercial beer or a few glasses of commercial wine can double me over in pain.

When I was first diagnosed I was on a pharmaceutical smooth muscle relaxant. This was prior to my really getting into herbs so I never looked for an herbal that would have the same effect, and as I said since then diet and stress reduction have kept me from needing anything extra.

From: Colette Gardiner <coletteg.EFN.ORG>

Some people have experienced relief with using mucilaginous herbs, the one I've seen work most frequently is slippery elm . Take 1 tablespoon in a glass of water 1 - 2 times daily. Although it can act as a laxative on people who are constipated, it's really a balancer and it helps stop diarrhea as well. While it does act in a similar manner as a bulk laxative by absorbing water and adding bulk to the stool its mucilaginous nature (i.e. slimey, slippery, soothing,) coats and soothes mucous membranes, thus avoiding the irritation that occurs with fiber, often absorbing excess fluids and naking for firmer bowels.

Another underlying factor is stress in many cases. Mild nervine type herbs that are soothing to the stomach as well could be helpful. Some examples: chamomile or catnip tea 1 cup ½ hour before meals. Possibly stronger nervines may be required in addition for severe stress. The specific formulation would vary of course from individual to individual.

As many have observed diet can be a major factor. I also have seen fiber, grease, alcohol, tobacco and coffee irritate many stomach conditions, howevever there may be additional foods that specific individuals need to avoid. Mild food allergies can also play a role in creating or contributing to irritable bowel syndrome. People commonly think of dairy, wheat and corn as "allergenic" type foods to be avoided, however many other foods can be culprits, i.e. soy, fish, eggs, nuts etc. Even pineapple is a somewhat common allergen. If possible research foods that caused reactions as a child, often these foods cause no noticable effect later in life but can still be mild allergens. I've also seen that occasionally when there's a stomach disorder people will develop temporarily a rection to certain types of foods until their digestion is stronger. I don't want to over emphasize the allergy thing since I feel it can be overdiagnosed but it's possibly something to check out. Basically don't eat what doesn't agree with you even if it something you think of as "healthy".