Your digestive tract is a complex system of several organs – from the mouth all the way through to the anus. Because there are so many parts, lots of things can go wrong. When your digestive system is not working, your whole body is deprived of the nutrients and energy it needs to be healthy.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a just one digestive system disorder. IBS has a range of symptoms that include abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, increased gas, bloating (distention), cramping and food intolerance. IBS is a ‘functional’ disorder of the digestive system – that means that there are changes to the way your digestion functions, rather than actual damage to the structure of the organs.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Bowel Dysfunction
So much is said about using antiseptics to kill harmful bacteria in preventing disease that we don’t usually think of microbes as good. The truth is that your bowel contains trillions of beneficial bacteria known as intestinal flora, without which you would not digest your food. It is important to distinguish between good and bad bacteria and support the symbiotic germs that help us survive.
Dysbiosis is a medical term for an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the bowel. This condition and food sensitivities are the most common source of bowel dysfunction. This can lead to IBS, “leaky gut,” constipation, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, and so on. So a simple way to improve your digestive system is to eat foods that support intestinal flora and avoid those that destroy them.
Besides an imbalance in intestinal flora, a high fat intake is correlated to a high incidence of colon cancer. This includes refined animal and vegetable fat. When exposed to air, animal fat can form malonaldehyde, a chemical which studies have found may increase the risk of colon cancer.
Restoring your Digestive System Health, Naturally
- The most important step is to correct any imbalance in the intestinal flora in your digestive system by doing the following things.
- Avoid foods you are sensitive to.
- Eat a diet composed of mainly unrefined foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds).
- Drink at least 6 glasses of water daily.
- Get lots of exercise.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, greasy food, margarine and refined sugar.
- Stay off all dairy for one month and see if your condition improves.
- Evaluate and treat, if necessary, your liver, thyroid, adrenals, stomach and small intestine. All can affect your colon.
- Chew your food well; don’t drink fluids with your meals.
- These herbs are reportedly healing and a tonic to the colon: mullein, sumac berries, slippery elm and red raspberry leaves.
- If you suspect you might have a spinal misalignment that is affecting your colon (especially if you suffer from low back pain) see a good chiropractor.
- One reflex area is extremely helpful in colon problems. The whole outside of the thigh (right and left) should be rubbed vigorously daily for two weeks. When you find particularly tender areas spend a little extra time on them.
- A heating pad over the bowel can often relieve pain there.
- If you suffer from diarrhea, find the cause. To relieve symptoms a hot half-bath is helpful, as is an enema. Eating unrefined carob or chewing on a guava leaf can also relieve diarrhea.
- Eating a high roughage, low refined carbohydrate diet, will do much for constipation.
- Magnesium citrate, 3 or more capsules daily, will usually correct constipation.
- A warm or hot compress to the abdomen, or a hot sitz bath can be helpful in relieving constipation.
- Try to develop regularity in bowel habits and don’t inhibit the natural urge to defecate, whenever possible.
- Senna is a very strong laxative and its use should be discouraged. Cascara sagrada is reported to tone the bowels as well as act as a safe laxative and when withdrawn the bowels should continue to work fine due to its tonic effect.
- For a leaky gut, after the imbalance in intestinal flora has been corrected, try supplementing with a good probiotic, as well as L-Glutamine.
Supreme Supplement Recommendations