This resource was made possible due to an unrestricted educational grant from Nestle Health Science, makers of IBgard.
You may have heard us talk about IBgard – a CDHF certified product that we have featured in one of our blog posts, or seen them with us at one of our events. If you are wondering what the little green box is and how it has helped patients with symptoms of IBS, keep reading!
Peppermint oil, a natural antispasmodic, relaxes smooth muscles in the intestines, and can help reduce the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in some individuals (1). There’s solid research behind it: A 2019 meta-analysis published in the journal BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies revealed that peppermint oil can be a safe and effective treatment for IBS symptoms. Another 2019 study found that peppermint oil significantly reduced abdominal pain, discomfort, and IBS severity. Using enteric-coated capsules can help avoid heartburn.
Day to day life can be hectic and stressful even without having to deal with the debilitating symptoms of IBS. We’ve compiled the experiences that two individuals have had with peppermint oil so you can get a better idea of what it is capable of.
Julie C. is newly engaged and planning a wedding — and busy in her career as an office supervisor in social work for a non-profit organization. She has an active lifestyle and little time to have a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome get in the way.
Julie recalls having the typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome while she was in college, which was abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, and alternating diarrhea and constipation. That was more than 15 years ago. At that time, she had a full schedule of courses, worked part-time, and had several internships with local businesses.
“I thought that these symptoms were related to my lifestyle of being ‘on-the-go all the time’ and never linked to a medical condition,” Julie said.
Once Julie graduated from college and started work as a social worker for a non-profit organization, she had an active work schedule with meetings in the community throughout the day.
“I was beginning a new career with major responsibilities, which was an exciting time of my life. I had to do well at work, but I also had to manage my painful intestinal problems, which meant having to frequently stop in bathrooms at client sites, which was incredibly embarrassing. Although my coworkers were understanding, the condition affected my life and my work.”
Julie had suffered intestinal problems for years that were eventually diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome by her primary care doctor about five years ago. She went through the usual diagnostic and blood tests and was even prescribed some prescription medications for her abdominal flare-ups. She was instructed to alter her diet, exercise regularly and take part in stress management techniques, even yoga. Julie read all she could about the condition of irritable bowel syndrome and the various treatment alternatives.
“I knew that IBS is a functional disorder and there is no cure, so I had to find a way to live with the condition. I also didn’t like the idea of being on a prescription medication for the rest of my life that had the potential to cause unpleasant side effects.”
Recently, Julie was searching for more natural products to help ease the symptoms of her condition quickly and reliably. “I came across Peppermint Oil and discussed this with my doctor, who recommended that I try it under medical supervision,” she said. “After taking it daily for several weeks, it changed my life for the better and gave me peace of mind. I also take great comfort in the fact that I’m taking a natural product. I don’t worry now about being in the bathroom because of intense cramping and bloating and having bouts of IBS related symptoms. Peppermint oil has a soothing effect on my gut and completely diminishes my abdominal cramping and bloating – and now, for the first time in years, I have normal bowel movements.”
Seth has a lifetime ahead of him. Newly married and back from a vacation in Hawaii, Seth has a world of memories to create. For him, staying informed about the latest research and health options, talking with his doctor, participating in regular exercise regimes and watching his diet is his way of controlling irritable bowel syndrome and continuing on with life.
Seth has a positive outlook on life, which he believes is critically important to how he approaches his condition. Diagnosed five years ago with IBS, he experienced the typical symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
“I tried many medication options, both prescription and over-the-counter, adjusted my diet by eating fruits and vegetables and exercised regularly to get to a place that I am today. I am always looking for new research and different options.”
Seth studied applied nutrition in college, so, he pays extra attention to how he feels daily.
“My wife, Marnina, and family are very supportive which is a great feeling. I am more attuned to my body and what works for me. Flare-ups of IBS symptoms are the worst days because there is more abdominal bloating, so I am always making improvements in my lifestyle and diet.”
He exercises regularly which also helps a great deal, something he has always done during high school and college, participating in sporting activities. As a nutritionist and former health coach, Seth puts a lot of emphasis on referencing evidence-based literature. He was did some research on the properties of peppermint oil in the management of IBS.
“Of all the natural health products on the market, peppermint oil has more evidence-based, scientific support. I actually enjoyed taking it because it calmed my angry gut.” As a patient outreach specialist in health care, Seth knows the importance of empirical evidence. Seth won’t let anything stand in his way of having a great time. He enjoys life immensely and gets great pleasure of going up in a helicopter and hiking and zip lining.