How Effective Is Aloe Vera for IBS?

Amy Rodriguez

Aloe vera has not been scientifically proven effective as a treatment option for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an ailment that affects the human body's digestive system. Bloating, diarrhea, and constipation are common symptoms of the condition. Many people do use aloe vera for IBS, along with complementary treatments, to reduce these uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

A human colon, which is affected by IBS.
A human colon, which is affected by IBS.

The leaves of the aloe vera plant have a naturally thick, translucent gel inside. This gel can be used as a topical ointment or ingested through the digestive system. In topical use, aloe vera calms painful burns or skin lesions. Some users ingest aloe vera for IBS, claiming that the laxative properties of the aloe plant have helped the digestive process by relieving constipation.

Leaves of the aloe vera plant.
Leaves of the aloe vera plant.

Many experts have experimented with aloe vera and its effects on IBS suppression. Studies have shown that aloe vera did not function any better than a basic placebo given to a group of patients. Alternative IBS therapies are recommended by doctors and IBS specialists, as opposed to a stringent aloe vera consumption therapy.

Taking aloe vera for IBS can actually produce side effects that aggravate the uncomfortable condition. For example, some experts have connected dehydration to aloe vera consumption in IBS patients. Dehydration, or lack of water within the human body, causes increased constipation. The body will try to retain as much water as possible, resulting in irregular and hard bowel movements.

Another side effect to ingesting aloe vera for IBS is low blood sugar. The aloe vera plant's chemical composition naturally lowers blood sugar levels. Excessive aloe vera use, or combining it with a diabetic medication, can reduce the body's blood sugar to dangerous levels.

The key to naturally controlling IBS is attention to diet and consistent exercising. IBS sufferers should increase fiber consumption and stay hydrated. Meals should be spaced evenly throughout the day so the body's digestive system can remain regular. Exercise reduces stress and keeps the body healthy, contributing to a reduction in IBS symptoms.

IBS patients with extreme symptoms may take prescribed medications to alleviate chronic digestive pain. A patient who insists on taking a regimen of aloe vera for IBS should discuss the use with his or her doctor. Prescribed medications can react differently within the human body if mixed with aloe vera. Each medication the patient is prescribed should be examined to determine if it can work effectively with aloe vera.

Aloe vera can be taken as a supplement in juice form.
Aloe vera can be taken as a supplement in juice form.

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