Irritable bowel syndrome affects more than 50 million Americans every day, so chances are pretty good that you or someone you know suffers from IBS. But despite the number of people affected, the condition is still widely misunderstood. Here are a few natural solutions that can help you take the first steps toward better bowel health!

Add More Fiber. In addition to its role in heart health and weight management, fiber promotes optimal digestive function by helping to absorb and eliminate toxins in the colon that can contribute to IBS symptoms.

Cut the Fat. Eating foods that are high in fat such as fried foods and certain meats can contribute to IBS. Be sure to consume these types of foods in moderation.

Limit Caffeine. Highly caffeinated foods and beverages (such as coffee, tea, soda and chocolate) have been shown to worsen IBS symptoms.

Avoid Foods High in Sulfur. Some foods that are healthy—including vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onions and broccoli—are high in sulfur and may actually trigger IBS symptoms. Opt for low-sulfur veggies such as carrots or green beans.

Soothe the Digestive Tract. Many herbs and nutraceuticals such as marshmallow root, slippery elm, and the amino acid L-glutamine can help nourish and soothe the intestinal tract and bowel.

Balance with Probiotics. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in the intestines that work to crowd out harmful pathogens that can lead to impaired digestion. These healthy bacteria can help promote a balanced intestinal environment.

Drink Plenty of Water. Drinking plenty of water (at least half your body weight in ounces every day) will help flush out toxins and other harmful microbes that may be causing IBS symptoms.

Try Colon Hydrotherapy. IBS sufferers—especially those with severe symptoms—may find that natural colon hydrotherapy can help cleanse the system and improve digestive health and elimination.