Natural Treatments for Digestive Problems and Fibro Pain
Since what you eat and drink directly affects your digestive system (and indirectly affects every other system) begin to mend your digestive breakdown with your food choices, supplements and meal habits.
In some cases, one change can make a world of difference, and some find that a total dietary makeover relieves their discomfort for good.
Follow an Elimination Diet
By eliminating any and all suspect foods from your diet for several weeks, then reintroducing them one by one, you can find out if any one ingredient has been causing your digestive problems. Remember to wait several days between reintroductions in order to easily isolate the culprit. There’s no universal problem food, but watch out for caffeine, dairy, beans, citrus fruit and cruciferous veggies, which have all been known to cause stomach cramps, and both constipation and diarrhea in susceptible people.
Add Soluble Fiber
If your tummy troubles mainly involve gas, bloating and constipation, you may want to try a soluble fiber supplement. In a recent study of IBS patients conducted by researchers out of New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center, about 9 percent of patients found relief with a boost in soluble fiber.
Use Peppermint Oil
Many people are suspicious of holistic alternatives, but the same study out of New York returned surprising results on the use of peppermint oil: an astounding 40% of IBS patients found that peppermint extract relieved their discomfort. Peppermint has been shown to improve the function of the stomach and intestinal muscles, and it has a calm numbing effect on the entire GI tract. Look for high volatile oil peppermint tea, or enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules for an appropriate dose of the therapeutic herb.
Make Gradual Changes to Your Diet
A big swing in the healthy direction may seem like a good idea, but any sweeping change can shock your system. Avoid the unnecessary discomfort by making little changes over time: the first step is to eliminate processed food and additives (they contain unnatural compounds that are incredibly difficult to digest), and then consider an elimination diet, or increasing whole grains while lowering saturated fat.
Safe and Effective Medications for Both Conditions
Although the root causes of IBS and fibromyalgia are still not entirely understood, the fact that they’re physiologically related suggests that certain treatments could help both conditions.
While no one medication has been shown to relieve symptoms for everyone, some options include:
- Antispasmodic medication (drugs like Levsin and Bentyl may help relax your digestive tract)
- Antidepressants (some antidepressants can relieve abdominal pain, and help with constipation)
- Anti-anxiety medications (both IBS and fibromyalgia flares can be triggered by anxiety)
Nothing can be solved overnight, but rest assured that there is a lot you can do about your digestion as you treat your fibromyalgia. Consider making some dietary changes while you take your prescribed medication, but make sure you don’t start or stop any course of medication before consulting with your doctor.
Exercise is an excellent remedy for digestive problems and fibro symptoms, so be sure to stay moderately active most days, if not every day of the week. Often, a change in your diet and exercise regime can bring the quickest – and most powerful – results.