Are you living with IBD? If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, an estimated 1.6 million Americans currently have irritable bowel syndrome, with roughly 700,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
Most of these people rely on doctor-prescribed medications to control their symptoms. But, some forms of alternative medicine have also shown great promise in treating IBD, as well!
In this article, we’ll introduce you to a few forms of holistic medicine that have been shown to effectively treat IBD sufferers. And we’ll help you decide which one is right for you.
Keep reading for all the details.
Low-Sugar and FODMAPs Diets
IBD and Crohn’s Disease are serious disorders affecting the digestive system. So, it only makes sense that diet has a huge part to play in symptom management.
FODMAP is an acronym representing different types of sugars created when your body digests food. Because these sugars take longer for your intestines to break down, they can cause painful and uncomfortable inflammation.
The idea behind the FODMAPs elimination diet is to remove specific foods from your routine, eliminating sensitivity and inflammation. Most people are able to add some of these foods back into their diet later on, once they’ve determined which specific things are causing digestive upset.
While the diet might sound restrictive at first, it’s worth it! This is a highly proven treatment option, with plenty of scientific studies backing it up.
Of course, the low-FODMAPs diet also requires you to eliminate simple sugars and carbohydrates found in snacks and sweets.
Inflammation is a major cause of uncomfortable symptoms for people living with IBD and Crohn’s. This is because the body’s own autoimmune response to stress (or the perception of stress) is causing the problem. This is also seen in people living with other chronic conditions like asthma and eczema.
Taking a daily anti-inflammatory supplement, like turmeric, fish oil, or resveratrol, may help. And, it won’t put you at risk of experiencing more uncomfortable digestive symptoms – common side effects of NSAID medications that treat inflammation.
When it comes to IBD and Crohn’s symptoms and flare-ups, the gut microbiome plays a vital role. This delicate balance between good and bad bacteria living in our bodies can impact overall health, affecting nearly every system in the body.
This is especially important for people living with chronic intestinal health concerns, who may struggle more than the average person to keep their gut bacteria healthy and happy.
There are many natural sources for probiotics. Many fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha are especially high in live and active cultures. But, you probably aren’t eating and drinking enough of these to make a major difference.
Living probiotic supplements can help ensure that you’re getting your daily dose of healthy bacteria, working to restore order to your digestive system.
Install a Bidet
While you’ll likely try one or more alternative therapies to reduce the symptoms of digestive upset associated with IBD and Crohn’s, you can also start feeling better by making this small lifestyle change.
During flare-ups, many people are forced to use the toilet far more frequently than they normally would. This means that they are not only experiencing painful internal symptoms – but external ones, too. Using abrasive toilet paper and wipes can lead to major skin irritation and even tissue damage.
Using a bidet might sound strange at first, but they are actually quite popular in some parts of the world. And, using water to gently clean can help reduce external irritation and inflammation fast.
There are plenty of electronic options and modern designs to choose from, including subtle options that guests in your home might not even notice.
Holistic medicine uses a whole-body approach to heal, including your mental state.
Reducing stress is good for your entire system, helping to reduce inflammation and improve your body’s functions. This is especially important for people with IBD and Crohn’s because their bodies are responding to perceived stress, resulting in painful and uncomfortable digestive unrest.
Taking time out of each day for self-care is essential if you are living with these symptoms. And, you don’t have to work hard to fit it in!
Just a few minutes of mindful practice like yoga or meditation can help you take a load off. You can also consider limiting your exposure to potential sources of stress, like social media. Instead, opt for a soothing distraction like quiet music or a good book.
Less stress in your life can also lead to a better night’s sleep – an absolute essential for a healthy body and mind.
If you’re thinking of getting started with holistic medicine, you should visit a holistic doctor first. These trained medical professionals use a combination of traditional western medicine and holistic, whole-body treatments; rather than relying on pills alone.
Your holistic doctor will likely offer multiple solutions, including the items on this list. Keep in mind; you don’t have to make all of these changes overnight. It’s perfectly normal to start with one or two and add the others over the course of weeks or months.
And, don’t get frustrated if you struggle to change your habits! Instead, refocus and try again. You’ll get there eventually!
During the first few months of treatment, your doctor will most likely want to see you more frequently. This will help to monitor your symptoms and make changes to your treatment plan. Eventually, you’ll be making these trips much less frequently.
Get Well Soon With Holistic Medicine
Now that you know a bit about using holistic medicine to treat the symptoms of IBD, you’re probably excited to make some major changes to your health. Congratulations! Reading this article could be the first step toward feeling better and living with fewer symptoms.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find posts about everything IBD and Crohn’s Disease-related – plus tons of pro tips on diet, medication, and more.