"Natural digestive aids such as those from Fowler's… provide gentle relief in comparison to some other medications on the market for IBS-D today," says Andrea Hardy, RD, in her recent in-depth article on "Strategies for IBS-D Management"
It's a must-read for anyone who suffers from diarrhea-predominant IBS and wants natural relief. You can read the whole article here.
Hardy certainly has the credentials and experience to advise IBS patients on management strategies. She is a registered dietitian with expertise in IBS and other functional gut disorders, and the owner of Ignite Nutrition in Calgary, Alberta, a dietitian-led healthcare practice who are considered Canada’s gut health experts.
Practical Strategies for IBS Symptom Relief
Dealing with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) can be stressful to say the least as it often seems to strike at the most inopportune times. In her article, Hardy provides practical strategies to help sufferers get a handle on their symptoms.
Hardy prioritizes dietary and lifestyle changes over pharmacotherapy when it comes to treatment options for IBS. She says that, “At Ignite we say 'food first, medication second'… first, we try to get symptoms under control with food and non-pharmacological options." (The non-pharmacological options are where Fowler's products come into play.)
With this practical approach she sees, "a decrease in total doses of medicine required, and typically better quality of life for our patients."
The Four Pillars of IBS Management
In the article, Hardy reviews in detail the four common treatment options that are typically addressed by your dietitian or gastroenterologist.
The first is Dietary Interventions: ensuring adequate dietary fibre, eliminating FODMAP foods, and limiting foods that increase motility.
The second is Stress Management, very important because "IBS patients often experience anxiety around their food choices."
The third is Pharmacological Therapies, which can include a wide variety of prescription drugs and/or over-the-counter medicines. While these may be appropriate, Hardy questions the safety of long-term reliance on this approach, and suggests that patients ask themselves the important question, "Is there an alternative I should consider first?"
For instance, many sufferers of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) use a well-known over-the-counter medication whose active ingredient is loperamide. If you are one of them (check the ingredients list) you may find that these treatments can be too harsh on your digestive system and cause constipation as a side-effect.
“Loperamide has become more routine in the symptom management of IBS-D, with many patients taking it daily," says Hardy. "What we see as the more common issue with loperamide is that it causes constipation, making it seem like your bowels are on a never-ending rollercoaster.”
The Fourth Pillar: Non-Pharmacological Alternatives
Hardy explains that the active ingredient in Fowler's Anti-Diarrheal is naturally-sourced attapulgite. "Attapulgite is non-systemic, meaning it doesn’t get absorbed into the bloodstream, keeping it isolated to the digestive tract until it is excreted." Compared to medications that contain loperamide, Hardy suggests that Fowler's Anti-Diarrheal can be "a more benign option, with less side effects and similar outcomes."
Further, she says, "Natural digestive aids such as those from Fowler’s are a great ‘stepping stone’ between dietary management of IBS and pharmacological strategies. They provide gentle relief in comparison to some other medications on the market for IBS-D today."
The Power of Peppermint
In addition to Fowler's Anti-Diarrheal products, Hardy notes that Fowler's Digestive Tonic is a natural remedy that "provides soothing relief from various symptoms of IBS including gas, bloating, and abdominal pain."
“Peppermint acts as both an antispasmodic and an anti-inflammatory agent, relaxing the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and creating an overall sense of ‘calm’ in our IBS’ers guts,” Hardy explains. “It’s really no surprise this herb has become a leader in gut health, as it’s been used as a digestive aid for centuries! The research on peppermint oil has yielded some promising results in IBS patients."
Despite being a reluctant peppermint consumer at first, Fowler’s Digestive Tonic has quickly become a must-have for Hardy in her own fight against IBS. "Fowler’s Digestive Tonic quickly became my absolute favorite tool in my IBS management arsenal when I had symptom flare ups from stress or eating too many FODMAP’s.”
Great Options for Everyday Use
In summary, Hardy says that “What sets [Fowler's] apart is that they strive to make safe products that don’t disrupt the body’s natural rhythms, like some medications do."
“Fowler’s Anti-Diarrheal Oral Suspension and Digestive Tonic are both great options for everyday use, but also work great as a ‘rescue therapy’ during times when flare-ups are more likely. For example, when travelling, experiencing changes in diet, or after a period of antibiotic use,” says Hardy.
Overall, this well-documented article sheds a helpful light on natural-based management strategies to lower your stress about IBS. We highly recommend that you read the original article here.