When Drugs Aren't Working: Three Natural Therapies For IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a complex and varied condition. What works for one patient may not work at all for another. While IBS drugs are effective for a number of patients, it is not unusual for them to produce no effect whatsoever for other patients. If you've tried IBS drugs and have been sorely disappointed with the results, don't give up. There are a few safe, natural therapies that might help ease your IBS symptoms.


An important part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has been used to treat a wide array of conditions --- but it is likely most effective for conditions that are related to stress. Since stress is a contributor to many cases of IBS, it is worth your while to give acupuncture a try. The therapy involves inserting small needles at specific points along your body. These needles, it is thought, re-direct the flow of energy through your body, helping to alleviate stress and its effects.

There is little to no risk involved with acupuncture, as long as you go to a reputable acupuncturist who uses disposable needles and good sanitation practices to prevent the spread of infection. If you are taking blood thinning medications or are a diabetic, acupuncture is not recommended.

Chiropractic Care

If your spine is out of alignment, one of your vertebrae may be pressing on a nerve that controls your digestive system, contributing to your IBS symptoms. For this reason, some patients find that their symptoms greatly improve after seeing a chiropractor. A chiropractor will use gentle manipulation techniques to painlessly ease your spine back into proper alignment. Some patients are slightly sore the day after treatment, but this is the only side effect to worry about and it typically fades within 24 hours.

If you are considering chiropractic care for IBS, make sure you go to a chiropractor who has experience treating this condition. He or she can work with you over several weeks or months to find adjustment techniques that work best for you.


Hypnotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for IBS in some patients. By helping patients relax, it soothes the gut and improves quality of life. Hypnosis is far from the zombie-like state portrayed in movies. When you are hypnotized, your therapist is not able to control your actions or thoughts -- they are simply able to make suggestions, and you are more able to take those suggestions and incorporate them into your manner of thinking than you would be when fully awake.

If you are considering hypnotherapy for your IBS, make sure the person providing the treatment is a trained medical professional such as a nurse or psychologist. Side-show hypnotists, while they may be entertaining, lack the skills to make the proper suggestions to ease your IBS symptoms.