Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a disorder that seems to be becoming increasingly common. It can affect the activity of the whole bowel, but the colon is predominately affected.

IBS has two main presenting features - abdominal pain and altered bowel habit. The pain is often related to eating meals or to defaecation. The bowel disturbance can be either diarrhoea, constipation or a mixture of both. Other symptoms include abdominal distension, bloating, excess wind, mucus in the stools and a sensation of incomplete rectal emptying.

The cause of IBS is unknown, but sufferers are thought to show increased sensitivity to normal gastrointestinal function. Therefore periods of stress can be a major factor in causing symptoms. Other triggers include lack of dietary fibre, anxiety or depression, food intolerance or an intestinal infection such as food poisoning. However, if your symptoms persist for more than a few days be sure to see your doctor, particularly if you have lost weight, are lethargic, passing blood or have black stools. It is always important to have IBS diagnosed and to have other more serious problems ruled out.

If IBS has been diagnosed then there are many ways that you can help yourself.

Food is often an important trigger for IBS and many sufferers find their digestive system is sensitive to certain foods. Often it is a case of trial and error before you establish which foods to eliminate from the diet.


  • Increase fibre in diet - aim for 30g a day - Psyllium husks can help (see below)
  • Increase fluid intake - at least 6 glasses of water a day
  • Cut out tea & coffee
  • Exercise regularly - this helps stimulate a sluggish bowel & keep things "on the move"!


  • Eat several small meals each day rather than 3 large ones
  • Stick to small portions of fruit
  • Try excluding dairy products
  • Avoid wheat where possible
  • Avoid spicy or pickled food
  • Cut out coffee & restrict alcohol intake
  • Embark on a relaxation programme e.g. yoga

Other supplements to try:

YARROW COMPLEX has an anti-spasmodic & calmative effect on the gut. It can also help to reduce flatulence.

Bioforce Yarrow Complex - £8.95 for 50ml

ACIDOPHILUS helps to restore the balnce of gut bacteria (particularly if diarrhoea is the main symptom).

PANTOTHEIC ACID- Essential for proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.

Solgar Pantothenic Acid 550mg - £7.76 for 50 vegicaps

PSYLLIUM HUSKS -provides the right type of fibre to give bulk to stools by absorbing water. This gives the bowel something to work on & lets it push matter through smoothly and quickly, which helps your body work more efficiently. Thus helping to keep bowels healthy in a totally natural way.

Lepicol combines psyllium husks with F.O.S (Fructo-oligosaccharides) and acidophilus. £9.99 for 220g.

We have some free samples of Lepicol to give away - please contact us for details.