Studies have shown that the nerves serving the GI tract play a big role in making the bowel act the way it does. Certain stimuli trigger painful bowel contractions that cause the GI tract to expel anything out, often with urgency and without enough warning.

Commonly known factors that cause overactive bowel syndrome include:

  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Lactose intolerance.
  • A reaction to antibiotics
  • Intestinal bacteria.


  • Colicky pain that comes and goes especially after eating fatty or spicy foods
  • Flatulence
  • Gut spasm that accompanies high-speed peristalsis often felt on the left side of the abdomen (abdominal cramps)
  • Burping
  • Bloated feeling
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Faecal incontinence (diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Acid reflux (regurgitation)

Any of the above-mentioned diseases cause the aforementioned symptoms, so exact diagnosis may be difficult to establish. It is important to get a professional advice from a reliable health care provider (GP or a gastroenterologist) and careful evaluation of the symptoms to determine the cause before recommending appropriate treatment.

It is useful to try some of following treatment methods to reduce the symptoms of OAB:

  1. Exercise regularly:

Although an excessive strenuous activity may cause diarrhoea, moderate physical activity regulates normal bowel habits and reduces overactive bowel symptoms. Consider going running frequently or doing exercise such as swimming or gentle sport.

  1. Manage stress levels:

As symptoms of an overactive bowel can be worsened through stress and anxiety, making changes in your life to reduce emotional upset may help. Self-hypnosis and other psychological therapy may help relieve stress and treat anxiety and depression caused by having an overactive bowel.

  1. Consider dietary changes:

National guidelines for nutrition and overactive bowel syndrome include the following tips:

Drink at least eight cups of fluid per day, especially water or other non-caffeinated drinks. This helps to keep the stools (faeces) soft and easy to pass along the gut.

Consider limiting intake of high-fibre food. Foods in this category include beans, brown or wholegrain rice and bran based cereal.

Limit fresh fruit to three portions (of 80 g each) per day.

Avoid sorbitol, an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free sweets (including chewing gum) and in drinks, and in some diabetic and slimming products.


The medicines that can be thought of use are: -

  • Nux vomica
  • Asafoetida
  • Lycopodium
  • Natrum Mur
  • Arsenic album.