By Dr Harsh Sharma, DHMS, BHMS
Published July 20, 2018, Last updated February 21, 2019
A common problem that affects the digestive system is IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is not a disease per se but a syndrome. There is a group of symptoms without any systemic cause. Before we come to the treatment or the best Homeopathic medicines for IBS, let us understand the problem a little better.
IBS – What is IBS? Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional chronic gastrointestinal disorder. This means that there is nothing wrong with the person in an anatomical or pathological sense. Therefore, you cannot find anything wrong in any investigation. Spastic Colon is another name for IBS. It affects the colon or the large intestine.
How is IBS diagnosed
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is diagnosed on the basis of the symptoms present and not on any investigations. There is nothing wrong with the anatomy of the individual patient. There are no physical findings on any imaging tests or techniques. This is where it differs from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease which cause changes in the intestines.
Incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
IBS occurs most commonly in people between the ages of 20 to 40. At the same time, it affects women more than men. The ratio is likely around 2 to 1. Affected women are almost double that of men. It affects around 10-15% of the adult population.
It is prevalent worldwide. Although it causes a lot of inconvenience to the patient, it is not associated with any severe health issues and is not life threatening.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
Science has not been able to understand the exact causes of IBS. This is despite the best efforts of the scientists and all the latest developments in the fields of medicine. It has only been able to establish some correlations.
The normal contractions of the intestine which propel the intestinal contents forwards get altered in this problem. This contraction pattern changes. Some patients get increased or frequent contractions. In other cases, contractions decrease. This results in diarrhoea or constipation. What causes this change in the contraction pattern is not completely understood.
Some of the factors that cause changes in the contraction pattern are mentioned here-
- Food- Some foods are more likely to cause changes in the contraction pattern. They thus result in or aggravate the irritable bowel syndrome. These foods include milk or dairy products, chocolates, spices, fatty food, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
- Smoking- Smoking also tends to cause or at least aggravate the problem of IBS.
- Stress- Mental stress increases this problem in almost all patients. It is not completely clear whether it causes this problem. At the same time, almost all patients report aggravation from mental stress.
- Hormonal causes- Changes in hormones are also likely to aggravate IBS. That is probably why irritable bowel syndrome affects women more as compared to men. The symptoms increase in women around their menstrual cycle or during menopause.
- After effects of Infections- The problem increases by the occurrence of gastro intestinal infections. These infections may be bacterial or viral in nature like in the case of acute gastroenteritis.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS can vary from patient to patient. It is often difficult to differentiate the symptoms of IBS from some other diseases. This is because of the similarity of the IBS symptoms with that of some other diseases. Doctors make the diagnosis by ruling out other causes after a thorough investigation.
Since there are no structural changes seen in the intestines, patients believe that there is nothing wrong with them. They often mistakenly believe that the problem does not exist and they are just imagining the problem.
The commonly reported symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS are as given below-
- Pain in the abdomen– Pain in the abdomen is one of the most prominent symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. This pain may vary in character from person to person. Some patients complain of cramping sort of pain while others describe it as a dull pain. Eating or drinking, more so taking milk and dairy products tends to increase the pain. Passing stool relieves.
- Bloatedness or flatulence– Patients often have a feeling of bloating or heaviness in the stomach. This feeling is present most of the time. Certain foods like cabbage, cheese, fried food and dairy products tend to aggravate it. Eructations and passing flatus may relieve for a short time but not completely.
- Change in bowel habits– Some patients tend to have frequent stools and the stools may be semi-solid. In some other patients, the stool may be dry and hard causing difficulty in evacuation. An alternation of diarrhoea and constipation is also present in some cases.
- Mucous in stools– Some patients may have mucous in their stool. This may or may not be a regular feature.
- Anxiety– The patient often tends to remain anxious and worried. This anxiety and worry may be a cause or even result of the problem.
- Headaches– Often patients tend to have headache along with other symptoms of IBS.
- Tiredness or fatigued feeling– One tends to feel tired and fatigued all through the day. Slightest exertion is unbearable.
- Loss of libido– A large percentage of men suffering from IBS report a loss of libido. Some people even feel pain during sex.
- Backache– Pain in the back may also be present in some patients.
- Urinary troubles– Frequency and urgency of urine is another common occurrence in patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Muscular pain– Vague muscular pains are present in any of the body parts.
Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS
When it comes to treating IBS, the allopathic system of medicine has only been able to treat the few predominant symptoms. If the patient complains of diarrhoea predominantly, the patient is prescribed some medicines to control the diarrhoea. He has to keep taking these lifelong. When constipation is the dominant symptom, allopathy recommends laxatives which need to be taken forever.
If pain is the persistent symptom, then doctors recommend one or the other painkiller. Where anxiety or stress is seen as a prevailing factor, a medicine is added to reduce the anxiety. This just means that the allopathic system of medicine has failed to cure the disease. It has only masked the symptoms and given some partial relief to the patient.
Homeopathy for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
When it comes to the homeopathic treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, homeopathy aims to completely eradicate or rather cure the problem. Homeopathy takes into account all the symptoms of the disease as well as that of the patient which may seem unrelated to the disease.
That is how it tends to strike at the root cause of the problem . That is precisely the reason that it is able to completely cure the problem. And that is also the reason that it takes some time to cure it.
Is IBS curable by Homeopathy?
A common question in the minds of IBS patients is whether IBS is curable by Homeopathy or not. I want to give a categorical and resounding one word answer – YES.
In fact, IBS treatment in Homeopathy is the right choice of treatment. The day one comes to know that one is suffering from IBS, one should start Homeopathic treatment immediately.
Homeopathic medicines for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There are more than two scores of medicines that are used in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The right medicine for each and every patient is selected on the totality of the symptoms. Some of these symptoms may even be unrelated to the disease. Homeopathy even takes the mental or psychological state of the patient fully into account while prescribing the right medicine for each patient.
Having said that, I have used a few medicines quite commonly in the treatment of IBS. These have shown very good results in curing this problem completely. Here these medicines and their prominent symptoms are being given. This does not in any way mean that one of these medicines will have the answer to each and every patient’s problem. Often one has to prescribe some other medicines when the symptoms so demand.
5 best Homeopathic medicines for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
After treating hundreds of cases of IBS, I have prepared a list of the 5 best homeopathic medicines for IBS. I am sharing the medicines with everyone along with a brief description of their symptoms.
The 5 best homeopathic medicines for IBS are –
Nux Vomica- best homeopathic medicine for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Carbo Veg -best homeopathic medicine for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with bloating
Argentum Nitricum – best medicine for IBS with craving for sweets
Aloes – best IBS treatment in Homeopathy with persistent diarrhoea
Pulsatilla – best medicine for IBS with little thirst
These 5 homeopathic medicines for Irritable bowel syndrome are very effective. Whenever the symptoms of the medicines match with that of the patient, these medicines are sure to cure the patient. Here is a brief description of the symptoms indicating each medicine-
1. Nux Vomica- One of the best homeopathic medicines for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
When there is pain in the abdomen which is relieved after passing stool, Nux Vomica is one of the best homeopathic medicines in Homeopathy for IBS. The patient usually has constipation and feels that he has not been able to evacuate his bowels satisfactorily.
Such patients are usually short tempered and aggressive in their behaviour. Prolonged use of stimulants like tea, coffee and alcohol is another seen. Another likely indication is the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle. They are likely to be chilly in their constitution.
2. Carbo Veg- One of the best homeopathic medicines for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome with bloated feeling
When gas or flatulence or bloating is the predominant symptom, Carbo Veg is one of the best homeopathic medicines for IBS. The patient usually expresses that he is always full of gas and everything or anything that he eats turns into gas.
The abdomen seems tense from flatulence and aggravates on lying down. The digestion is slow. The patient has aversion to fatty food, meat and milk. Such patients are usually fat and lazy in their constitution.
3. Argentum Nitricum- Best Homeopathic medicine for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome with great desire for sweets
When the patient has great desire to eat sweets, Argentum Nitricum is one of the best homeopathic medicines for IBS. The patient is usually nervous and starts getting diarrhoea whenever he undergoes any mental exertion or has any important engagement coming up. There is great distention of the stomach and belching is persistent.
4. Aloes- One of the best Homeopathic medicines for IBS with persistent diarrhoea
When diarrhoea is the predominant symptom, Aloes is one of the best Homeopathic medicines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There is a constant feeling of a weight or a bearing down sensation in the rectum.
Mucous may also be present with the stools and is jelly like in consistency. There is a sense of insecurity in the rectum. He often ends up passing stool while passing flatus.
5. Pulsatilla- One of the best Homeopathic remedies for IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome with little thirst
When there is little thirst with the attendant symptoms, Pulsatilla is one of the best Homeopathic medicines for IBS. The taste of the mouth remains bitter. There is heaviness in the stomach as if some weight is present, more so in the morning.
The patient dislikes fatty food and warm things. He or she likes to be in the open air. The mental makeup of the patient is such that he or she is usually mild and docile with lot of changeable symptoms.