In week 7 of my continuing Uninsured Series, I touch upon digestive issues – mainly Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I don’t get gross, so even if you don’t have this disorder, please read on – you may know someone who does.
Last week, I talked about sinus issues and how aromatherapy can make a real difference without side effects.
Ultimately, all but the healthiest may be uninsured (digestive disorders are considered a pre-existing condition), so please read about the alternative options and share this post with your friends and family.
If you are new to Scented Balance and would like to start at the very beginning of the series, here is Part One of Uninsured.
During aromatherapy school, one of my case studies dealt with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) on a daily basis. She still does manage her symptoms – and is using a blend called Tummy Tamer Aromatherapy Roller Ball to help calm her symptoms. I’ll get into how aromatherapy can address your digestive concerns in just a moment.
What Is IBS?
You may very well be familiar with the symptoms of digestive distress known as Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
- Abdominal Cramps
WebMD.com states that 70% of all patients diagnosed with IBS are women. What??? Holy Smokes Batman…think about that! I’m going to offer up my opinion – strictly opinion – okay? Women are under a lot more stress in life and we can argue this point for a thousand years, but the bottom line is that women feel the effects of stress far more acutely than men. I won’t go into the million reasons why as that is for another blog post for another day.
Doctors are not sure what initially causes IBS, but they believe that stress, diet changes and hormonal variations play a big role. From what reliable information I can find, once you are diagnosed with this disorder, you simply manage your symptoms as there is no cure. I feel bad even saying that.
There is another chronic condition called Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) and in addition to the above symptoms, inflammation is usually present.
Symptoms of Digestive Issues
Your doctor or naturopathic physician will have to diagnose and recommend an IBS treatment either based on your symptoms or by running some tests. The symptoms of any digestive issue – let alone IBS – are mainly gas, bloating, abdominal cramps and alternating constipation and diarrhea. Honestly, if we all look in the mirror, at one time or another, we’ve ALL suffered from those symptoms and you know how annoying it is.
Can you imagine living under constant threat of diarrhea all during your workday? Can you imagine not being able to have a bowel movement for days at a time? Every one of us has dealt with the gas and bloating from a heavy meal (think Thanksgiving Day) – and seriously, it’s miserable.
If you have a severe form of IBS, your doctor or naturopathic physician can help you manage your symptoms with medication. If you have indigestion or a mild form of IBS, there’s a possible alternative to toxic prescriptions through aromatherapy.
How Can Aromatherapy Help My IBS Symptoms?
Like I said earlier, one of my case studies in aromatherapy school lives with IBS and I really wanted to make a difference in her life by using essential oils. My case study works in retail and you can’t always leave your station during the workday, so you need something that’s portable and simple to help you manage some tough digestive issues.
I created Tummy Tamer Aromatherapy Roller Ball to see if it would help her manage her symptoms especially during the workday. This is what my case study said after using the blend on a regular basis:
I used my roller ball 4 times each day. While nothing will cure my IBS, I just wanted some sort of help managing my symptoms without all the side effects. As long as I use Tummy Tamer and watch my diet, I believe I am managing my symptoms without resorting to yet another pill.
If your doctor or naturopathic physician believes you need to be on a pill to help you manage your symptoms, by all means PLEASE do what your medical professional says. But what if you can’t go to the doctor because you have no insurance?
Let’s talk about natural relief for irritable bowel syndrome.
The Role of Aromatherapy and Holistic Life Coaching in IBS Treatment.
When given the proper tools, the human body has the amazing power to heal itself. I cannot heal, fix, cure or change your illness. I can’t. (Oh, how I wish I could!) What I can do is create a blend that allows you to manage your symptoms with some measure of ease and elegance. Both aromatherapy and holistic life coaching give you more tools in your healthcare toolkit to help yourself.
As your holistic life coach, I’d like to ask you:
- What emotional turmoil did you experience that left you feeling “punched in the stomach”?
- What is “eating” at you?
- Is there is “gut feeling” that you’re ignoring?
- What part of your life are you having trouble “digesting”?
- If you struggle with constipation, what are you “holding on to”?
My calling as your aromatherapist and life coach is to help you reach the other side of fear, frustration and anger – even when you don’t realize it’s there. My gift is to help you see the possibilities that lie ahead of you. My passion is to help you get past yesterday and look forward to tomorrow – to help you get unstuck in every area of your life.
Will it be easy? No. Sometimes, we have an “aha” session and sometimes we don’t. It’s all up to you. I’m here to guide you and hold a sacred space for you while you grow. I’m here to believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. I’m here to help you move forward in life with grace and ease.
The Role of Diet With IBS and IBD
From Patient.com, here are some simple guidelines for your everyday diet when managing IBS and IBD:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Plenty of starchy carbohydrates. Examples include bread, rice, cereals, pasta, potatoes, chapattis and plantain.
- Some milk and dairy products (2-3 portions per day). If you are lactose intolerant include dairy alternatives such as soya, rice or oat milk and yoghurts that are enriched with calcium.
- Some protein foods: meat, fish, eggs and alternatives such as beans and pulses.
- Limited amounts of foods high in fats and sugars. Limit saturated fat that is found in animal products such as butter, ghee, cheese, meat, cakes, biscuits and pastries. Replace these with unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Drink plenty of fluid – at least two litres daily, such as water or herbal teas.
Other Natural Remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Exercise in any form is ideal for relieving stress and anxiety. Simply taking a walk for a few minutes can relieve some of the emotional or mental pressure that builds up. Start with 5 minutes every day – stretch to the best of your ability; then simply add a few minutes of movement each day as your body allows.
- Take it easy on the dairy products. Many people who live with some sort of chronic digestive discomfort may be lactose-intolerant and might not realize it. Just make sure you are getting your calcium and protein from other healthy sources. If you’re not sure about your diet, a certified health coach can guide you in making healthy choices. One of my favorite health coaches is Stephanie Draper and she believes that being healthy doesn’t have to be hard.
- Meditation. Or prayer. Or whatever you want to call it. Simply sitting quietly for 5 minutes every single day can help to relieve stress. I know. If you’re like me, you can think of 62 things that you could be doing instead of sitting there. I’m simply asking you to sit quietly and focus on your breath for just a few short minutes.
- Acupuncture can help with stress and in turn, help with your digestive issues.
- Have a regular meal pattern; try not to skip meals; follow a healthy IBS diet.
- Sit down and take time when eating meals; chew your food well.
- Don’t eat late at night.
Don’t wait until your symptoms are full-blown and draining you of any joy in life. While there is no cure for IBS, you can manage your symptoms and get relief for irritable bowel syndrome.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Discuss any and all health issues with a qualified medical professional.