What really is IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a diagnosable condition that is used by doctors to those suffering from digestive issues with no known cause. It really is a blanket term used for a wide range of symptoms, however the UNDERLYING issues are never addressed. Dr’s may give medications to help relax muscles or help with pain, but this won’t actually fix the root cause of the issue.
Why understanding the root cause is important
If IBS is not effectively treated, the risk of developing other conditions can increase. These could be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, thyroid or adrenal issues, autoimmunity and other conditions. Source.
I was given a diagnosis of IBS about 10 years ago. All my tests came back negative. I tried numerous different diets and medications, but nothing really helped. The advice I had, was there was nothing I could do about it (and that it may one day lead to Crohn’s disease). This is not correct as there is plenty you can do. By addressing the root causes, I no longer get any IBS symptoms.
Symptoms you may be suffering
Abdominal pain, spasms, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, backache, headache, nausea, acidity, heartburn or a sensation of fullness soon after eating. Food intolerances then may begin, poor sleep and fatigue are also common issues.
Many people have a SIBO infection, (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Most of our gut bacteria should be in the large intestine but SIBO occurs when the bacteria move backwards into the small intestine.
Popular medications for helping IBS?
- Laxatives such as Movicol, lactalose & Senna may or may not work for people, but what the body actually needs is nutrients to allow it to heal naturally.
- Buscopan can help some, but it can cause constipation, which can then make problems even worse.
- Some just use Paracetamol or similar.
Although they can be useful in the short term, the body doesn’t really need these medications, it just needs help with healing, or what it’s lacking.
What CAN we do if we have IBS?
The answer is many things, you really don’t need to be living with pain, spasms or missing work or other things in life because of ‘IBS’.
Going to the GP is an important first step if you are experiencing IBS symptoms. They may suggest a colonoscopy, scan, stool sample or blood tests. If all your tests come back negative, then work with a nutritionist to help relieve your symptoms.
Here’s just a few ideas of how your IBS can be helped:
Food intolerance or problem foods are a common cause of IBS. Eradicating any trigger foods can certainly help. I would stress the need to work with a nutritionist if you are cutting foods out, as it’s easy to start losing important nutrients. Histamines (in foods) can also cause a lot of similar symptoms.
Nourish the body with nutrient dense foods Plenty of different fruits and vegetables, ‘good fats’ including butter, avocado, whole milk dairy products, fermented foods, eggs and good quality meat.
Many of my clients say to me they DO have a healthy diet, yet still get IBS symptoms. Although you maybe eating healthily, if you are experiencing IBS symptoms, it is a sign that the gut still needs fixing in some way.
The usual advice of increase your water and fibre are important. However fibre can be a tricky one, particularly if you are in the middle of an ‘IBS flare’. Certain types of fibre, may not suit everyone. Gentle to moderate exercise and relaxation are helpful too.
The Fodmap diet can sometimes help some people’s symptoms, but it doesn’t treat the underlying cause.
Leaky gut. Certain symptoms, particularly inflammation, may suggest you need to repair your gut lining. There are many simple dietary ways to fix this.
Increase your stomach acid. Many people are low in hydrochloric acid (otherwise known as stomach acid). See my blog for more info on this.
A lack of digestive enzymes can trigger IBS symptoms especially gas and bloating.Enzymes help to aid in overall digestion.
Rebuild your good bacteria.Probiotics help to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria. It’s important to get the right ones, there’s so many now on the market. The quality, quantity and type of strains all vary. Depending on your issues, you may need different types of probiotics. Some may not be able to tolerate certain products (or species).
Parasites, candida or bacterial overgrowths can cause a wide range of undesirable symptoms including diarrhea, brain fog, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, depression, bloating and more. When our gut flora is imbalanced, we are less likely to absorb any nutrients from our food, further increasing our symptoms. Many people have an imbalance of bacteria (too much bad and too little of the good). An overgrowth or infection responds well to certain supplements and sometimes dietary modifications.
Balance your minerals. A Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) test is a great way to determine mineral status, gut health, adrenal, thyroid, metabolism and toxins. If our metabolism is sluggish, we can feel sluggish.
Stress disrupts the secretion of stomach acid, bile, digestive enzymes which in turn can cause a multitude of IBS symptoms. Stress also causes us to lose minerals. We obviously can’t always avoid stress, but it’s important to support the body during and after stressful times.
Anxiety, depression or mood disorders are common IBS symptoms. This is often because you are low in certain nutrients. I can help you determine what you are lacking.
Healing the liver. The liver also plays a role in digestion. We need healthy livers to utilise fats and to absorb many nutrients. Gentle yet extremely effective herbal remedies can help so much with this.
Obviously we are all different. IBS includes such a wide range of symptoms that affect the entire digestive system. Depending on your own individual symptoms depends on the treatment you need. This is why it’s important to work with a nutritionist.
IBS is treatable, you really don’t need to be suffering with these symptoms. We now have a much better idea of what causes IBS symptoms. I have many ways to help you have a healthy and happy gut by looking at YOUR specific issues and designing an individual treatment plan.
If you would like a chat about your symptoms I offer a FREE 15 minute call. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this offer.