Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS is the most common digestive problem that patients see their doctor about. The muscles of the small and large intestines contract in spasms rather than regularly. These spasms cause the food to pass through the GI tract either too fast or too slow. When too slowly, too much water is absorbed causing constipation, and when too fast, too little water is absorbed and causes diarrhea. Symptoms Constipation Diarrhea Abdominal pain Gas/Bloating Heartburn Nausea Headaches Foods that may trigger and should be avoided Processed foods Refined sugar Fried foods Dairy-many people are lactose intolerant and cannot digest dairy products Gluten (wheat, rye, barley) Meat-ferments easily because of the time it takes to digest Natural Remedies -Eat meals at regular times and do not eat anything in between meals -Eat slowly and chew your food well -Avoid drinking with meals-this dilutes the hydrochloric acid needed to digest your food -Take a couple grains of Celtic salt before drinking water in the morning, afternoon, & evening -Drink warm lemon water in the morning a half hour before eating -Drink 2 ounces of organic aloe vera juice before each meal and at bedtime -Drink 1 tablespoon slippery elm powder mixed in hot water before each meal and at bedtime This herb stimulates rapid healing in the lining of the gut -Eat a high fiber diet; adding bran will help stimulate the bowels -Drink at least half of your weight in ounces of water each day -Exercise every day; walking right after meals can be helpful -Drink peppermint tea for upset stomach. You can also apply peppermint oil to the abdomen to decrease cramps -Apply hot, moist compress to the stomach to relieve cramping/bloating -Take 1 to 3 teaspoons of charcoal in 8 ounces of water to relieve gas/bloating/cramping Be sure to drink extra water throughout the day if taking charcoal to avoid constipation.