A stomach has three different tubes of topical treatments squirted out in neat lines.

Potential Topical Treatments for IBS

As I've been writing a lot about lately, I've been waking up at strange hours of the night, with really bad abdominal pain. This abdominal pain is also commonly accompanied by low back and hip pain. I have no doubt that these pains can at least be partially attributed to IBS.

Alternative treatments for IBS

When you've had IBS and other chronic illnesses that also cause pain as long as I have had them, you begin to get innovative in dealing with them. You also build up an arsenal of go-to treatments, that can vary dependent on the given scenario. In addition to my mainstream strategies for managing IBS – such as diet, keeping my stress levels low, and supplementing with probiotics and soluble fiber – I also use other out-of-the-box methods as well. For instance, I sometimes use a TENS machine on my abdomen. Or, I massage tight trigger points in my legs and have found that can alleviate some symptoms of my IBS.

Applying oils and creams to my belly

However, one thing I also use that has been occasionally helpful is applying topical ointments and creams on my lower belly. I have several types: arnica oil, calendula gel, cramp bark cream, and stain-free Tiger Balm (which has methol and camphor in it). I like to massage one or more of these onto and into my abdomen – as well as the adjacent troubled areas of my low back and hips. Most recently, I've been using a CBD-and-THC-infused lavender massage ointment. For extra healing, I tend to then place a heating pad over my abdomen after the ointment has absorbed into my skin to enable deeper penetration into my muscles. I find heat offers the added benefit of helping ease the tension in my muscles and therefore can help eliminate or at least reduce cramping. And when my muscles are more relaxed and not in the process of cramping, I am less likely to have an IBS flare.

Massages with oils and creams

Depending on how my belly is feeling, sometimes my massages will be rather light, other times if it feels safe to do so, I may apply more pressure. Overall, I find it really soothing and so it is in my artillery for dealing with IBS when I am home and have these products on hand. I also use this method for other parts of me (ie, legs, back, neck, etc.) that get tight and experience spasms, so it's a good overall treatment that can be applied to many parts of the body.

Have you ever tried topical treatments on your abdomen and/or low back to help quell cramps and muscle spasms often associated with IBS? Has it helped? Please feel free to share your experiences with us!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?