By Nurse Mark
I have a confession to make. I have suffered for many years with varying degrees of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S.) – also known as “cranky gut.” Like many people, I am fairly clear on what makes it better and what makes it worse, and also like most sufferers I have tried endless remedies in a search for something that will allow me to enjoy the foods I love without worrying about the um, “repercussions.”
Those of you who suffer from IBS know the routine: You eat something and almost immediately it seems that your gut is registering it’s displeasure – the belly rumblings are the first sign, then comes the gurgling from a little lower down telling you that whatever you just ate is going to be making a quick trip through you. Bloating, cramping, and volumes of gas follow, and a dash to the restroom completes the picture a short while later. Others may find themselves suffering the discomfort of constipation as their gut goes on strike in protest.
Often that quick dash to a restroom is not the end of it – your gut is now upset, and you know you are in for a few days or even weeks of discomfort, annoyance, and inconvenience until things settle down again.
There are a few simple things that I have found to be helpful for me – avoiding irritating foods is of course the most important. Things like cow’s milk or anything with lactose, simple carbohydrate-containing foods like breads and sugary sauces and desserts, and the “sugar alcohols” that are found in many “low carb” foods are almost guaranteed to get my insides into an uproar.
Lots of healthy fiber in the diet works wonders to keep me happy and regular. Myatt Bread and Myatt Muffins are a daily staple as are Super Shakes with plenty of Organic India Psyllium. Fiber Flow capsules are great for travel.
Like most sufferers I’ve been prescribed drugs – which have never really worked. And I’ve never been happy with the long lists of side effects and ill effects of the drug offerings. So aside from keeping some over-the-counter loperamide (“Immodium” is one trade name) for rare “rescue” use to stop out-of-control diarrhea I’ve just said “no” to the drugs.
Probiotics are helpful for many people – and they certainly help me. Dr. Myatt’s 35 Billion Probiotics are the most potent available and are enteric coated to ensure that all those happy little gut bugs make it all the way to where they need to be to reestablish your healthy gut garden.
If I think I’ve gotten into some “bad food” (it happens – especially when traveling), then Charcoal Capsules will absorb toxins and quickly stop diarrhea. We always carry a bottle of Charcoal Capsules when we travel.
Since IBS alters bowel motility meaning that digestion is altered for the worse, digestive enzymes can be very helpful. Similase taken with meals can work wonders and help to assure proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
But I’m saving the best for last. There is one remedy that has provided me with more relief than anything else. This traditional remedy has been used for centuries and is now even attracting the notice of conventional medicine with some researchers suggesting that this substance might be “the drug of first choice” for IBS.
What is this “the drug of first choice” for IBS? Peppermint oil. But not just any peppermint oil will do. It must be enteric coated so that it passes through the stomach where it could cause heartburn or stomach upset and into the bowel where it can work it’s magic. Mentharil Peppermint Oil Complex is a formula that also contains Rosemary and Thyme – two additional bowel-soothing herbs. Mentharil is enteric coated to reach the small intestine and then the colon where it releases it’s contents.
I usually take a couple of capsules each day – one in the morning when I get up, and one in the evening before bed. That seems to keep my bowel very happy and calm. When I first began using Mentharil I took one capsule three times daily between meals, just to get things “calmed down.” Some authorities have suggested higher doses, but I’ve never found it necessary – the relief that Mentharil gives is quick and profound at the lower dose.
Are there any “side effects” to Mentharil? None really that I have found or heard of – though some people notice a slight mint taste if they burp, and occasionally report a faint minty “tingle” when passing stools.
So, why suffer any longer? Mentharil is safe, natural, and effective relief for the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Why not give it a try?
Further reading and resources:
From The University of Maryland Medical Center:
One study examined 57 people with IBS who received either enteric coated peppermint capsules or placebo twice a day for 4 weeks. Of the people who took peppermint, 75% had a significant reduction of IBS symptoms. Another study comparing enteric coated peppermint oil capsules to placebo in children with IBS found that after 2 weeks, 75% of those treated had reduced symptoms. Finally, a more recent study conducted in Taiwan found that patients who took an enteric coated peppermint oil formulation 3 – 4 times daily for one month had less abdominal distention, stool frequency, and flatulence than those who took a placebo. Nearly 80% of the patients who took peppermint also had alleviation of abdominal pain.
From the National Institutes of health PubMed:
Taking into account the currently available drug treatments for IBS PO (1-2 capsules t.i.d. over 24 weeks) may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life.
Grigoleit HG, Grigoleit P. Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome. Phytomedicine. 2005 Aug;12(8):601-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16121521
Additional references and studies:
Cappello G, Spezzaferro M, Grossi L, Manzoli L, Marzio L. Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Dig Liver Dis. 2007 Jun;39(6):530-6.
Ford AC, Talley NJ, Spiegel BM, Foxx-Orenstein AE, Schiller L, Quigley EM, Moayyedi P. Effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008 Nov 13;337:a2313. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a2313. Review.
Kline RM, Kline JJ, Di Palma J, Barbero GJ. Enteric-coated, pH-dependent peppermint oil capsules for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in children. J Pediatr. 2001;138(1):125-128.
Madisch A, Holtmann G, Mayr G, Vinson B, Hotz J. Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a herbal preparation. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Digestion. 2004;69(1):45-52.
Magge S, Lembo A. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gastroenterology Clinics. 2011;40(1).
Rakel: Integrative Medicine, 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA. Saunders Elsevier. 2007.
Shen YH, Nahas R. Complementary and alternative medicine for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Feb;55(2):143-8.
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