IBS Home Remedies That May Help Ease Your Symptoms

There is no cure for IBS, but you can try home remedies instead of medication.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms of the gut, such as bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and cramping.¹

There is no cure for IBS. Instead, IBS treatment consists of managing the symptoms. The treatment plan can be different for each person and might also include medication. Your doctor might also include at-home, natural therapies, like peppermint oil, or lifestyle changes such as an increase in your soluble fiber intake.

Woman eating nuts and fruits and vegetables to ease IBS symptoms.
Getty Images.

Home Remedies for IBS

There are a number of home remedies that may help manage the IBS symptoms. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any home remedies. Together, you can determine the best treatment plan for you.

Eating More Soluble Fiber

Increasing your intake of soluble fiber may improve some IBS symptoms, such as diarrhea.² Soluble fiber pulls in water and becomes gel-like in the intestine, which can help slow digestion.³ It can be found in:³

  • Oat bran
  • Barley
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Some fruits and vegetables

Insoluble fiber is another type of fiber. Found in wheat bran, whole grains, and some vegetables, this type of fiber can add bulk to the stool and make it easier for food to pass through the intestines.³ While it seems logical that insoluble fiber could help with the IBS symptom of constipation, the evidence is too weak to say for certain.²

Trying a Low-FODMAP Diet

To improve your IBS symptoms, a healthcare professional may suggest following a diet called the low-FODMAP diet.⁴ People with IBS may find that they experience symptoms when they eat foods that are high in FODMAPs.

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are carbohydrates found in some foods that are not well-absorbed in the small intestine and instead ferment in the colon. This increases the amount of fluid and gas in the bowel, which can cause bloating and abdominal pain.⁵

Examples of high-FODMAP foods include:⁴

  • Canned fruit in natural fruit juice
  • Wheat and rye products
  • Honey and foods with high-fructose corn syrup

A low-FODMAP diet is a form of an elimination diet in which all high-FODMAP foods are cut from the diet and replaced with low-FODMAP foods. The eliminated foods are then gradually added back in to see if they trigger symptoms. A personalized diet can then be made based on what high-FODMAP foods might have been causing symptoms.⁴

If a dietician with experience in gastrointestinal disorders is not available or affordable for you, have the healthcare professional who is helping manage your symptoms give you detailed guidance on how to safely try the diet.²

Using Peppermint Oil

Some evidence suggests peppermint oil may be effective at reducing symptoms of IBS like gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.⁶ Peppermint oil contains a compound called L-menthol that helps calm muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, which could be the reason for its benefit. However, these benefits are likely minimal. The effect has also only been shown in the short term.⁷

The peppermint oil supplement should come in enteric-coated capsules. This coating prevents the supplement from dissolving in the stomach. This way, the capsule can travel to the intestine intact, where it can then release and be most effective against IBS symptoms. ⁸

Getting Mental Health Therapy

There is believed to be a connection between the brain and gut in IBS. That means that factors like worrying about your IBS symptoms can actually worsen them.² Psychological therapies may be beneficial in addressing the anxiety associated with IBS and, in turn, its symptoms. ¹

Possible therapies directed at this brain-gut connection include:¹,⁶

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This can involve different types of therapies and behavioral strategies that focus on managing stress or anxiety.
  • Gut-directed hypnotherapy: Research suggests hypnotherapy may provide long-term improvements to symptoms from IBS, as well as an improvement in depression and anxiety (two conditions many people with IBS have).
  • Dynamic psychotherapy: This is a form of talk therapy that may involve a deep discussion about links between your IBS symptoms and your emotions.

Reducing Your Stress

Stress has been shown to make IBS symptoms worse.⁹ There are several ways to lower your stress levels. One method is getting regular exercise which has been shown to help reduce stress. Research also suggests that exercise can help relieve constipation and improve bowel function, both of which may help manage IBS symptoms.¹,¹⁰

Other practices such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga may also be used as methods for stress reduction.¹¹

Getting Acupuncture

Studies have shown mixed results, but acupuncture may help relieve symptoms of IBS like nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain. More research is needed to know how acupuncture can help in the long run.¹²

Acupuncture has also been shown to be an effective treatment, particularly for IBS with diarrhea when paired with Chinese herbal medicine like powdered supplements. But always check with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.¹³

A Quick Review

There is no cure for IBS, but there are a number of treatment strategies available. Treatment may include medication, but there are also steps that can be taken to help IBS symptoms that don't include medication. Natural remedies like peppermint oil, diet changes like increasing your intake of soluble fiber, and lifestyle practices like stress reduction are all options that can provide relief for IBS at home. Speak with a healthcare professional before trying any home remedies and to figure out what treatment plan is best for you.


  1. Office on Women's Health. Irritable bowel syndrome.
  2. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Clinical Guideline: Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  3. Medline Plus. Soluble vs. insoluble fiber.
  4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  5. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. Effects of FODMAPs on the Gut.
  6. National Center For Complementary and Integrative Health. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Complementary Health Approaches.
  7. National Library of Medicine. The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. Science Direct. Enteric Coated Tablet.
  9. National Library of Medicine. Impact of psychological stress on irritable bowel syndrome.
  10. Ford A, et al. American College of Gastroenterology Monograph on Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2018. doi:10.1038/s41395-018-0084-x
  11. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Stress.
  12. National Library of Medicine. Effectiveness of acupuncture to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
  13. National Library of Medicine. Acupuncture plus Chinese Herbal Medicine for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea.
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