Do you have IBS & don't know where to start?
I’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people at the clinic presenting with IBS symptoms (irritable bowel syndrome) recently. These include: painful stomach aches and cramps, gas, bloating and altered bowel habits (constipation, diarrhoea or alternating). Many have already been prodded, poked and scanned by their doctor, had blood taken and been told that everything looks normal so it must be IBS and they’ll just have to get used to it.
Not so say I. There is light at the end of the tunnel and lots of recent scientific research giving us some options. Being diagnosed with IBS just means that you have digestive symptoms but aren't caused by anything structural and doesn't show anything on a standard blood test. However, we now have many tools to help us identify the causes and contributing factors. Your gut doesn't get irritable because it's having a bad day! Something is causing the irritation and there are tests to discover what.
There are tests available to us to identify if you have a bacterial overgrowth, a parasite, leaky gut syndrome or food intolerances. Often its more than one of these, especially if you've had challenges with your gut for a long time. Once leaky gut develops over time food intolerances develop and the longer this is left un-addressed the more food intolerances we tend to develop. They lead to inflammation and the results can be seen anywhere in the body, depending on our genetic weaknesses.
Stress is often part of the picture as well and we can test your stress hormones to see how much of an impact they're having on your situation.
Some people find they suffer from mood or anxiety issues, others get achey joints or migraines. It can manifest as skin issues or fertility problems and autoimmune conditions. If you are suffering from digestive symptoms like gas, bloating or a change in bowel habit or if you've been suffering with your health for years and suspect what you eat and your gut is playing a big role I can help. We'll identify what's really going on using tests and dietary changes and will develop a treatment plan for you to heal.
Don't stay in the dark any longer. Book in for a Free Stop IBS Strategy Session and I'll listen to what's going on for you and talk through your options.
One or more of these may be contributing to your symptoms.
1. SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
A research gastroenterologist in the US has shown an association between IBS and gut bacteria. Dr Pimental has summarised the data showing that most IBS patients test positive for bacterial overgrowth. Where bacteria commonly found in the large intestine has invaded the usually fairly sterile small intestine, leading to the symptoms of IBS.
The evidence shows how treatment of the bacterial overgrowth improves IBS and that people that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome can benefit from the new theories and treatment strategies. If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and you’re looking for answers SIBO may be relevant and addressing SIBO can bring relief.
2. FODMAPs could be your answer
FODMAP is an acronym that describes a group of poorly-digested carbohydrates which, for a variety of reasons, may trigger symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea in susceptible people. When carbohydrates go undigested in the small intestine, they continue their journey into the colon, where the resident bacteria love to digest them on your behalf. As the bacteria feast—a process called fermentation—they produce gas as a byproduct. Additionally, large amounts of intact, undigested sugars hanging around in the colon tend to attract water, this is what causes diarrhoea. If you have SIBO you also get the fermentation in the small intestine, compounding the symptoms.
The term FODMAP (diet for IBS) was coined by scientists at Monash University in Australia, whose pioneering research resulted in an experimental elimination diet that's now being used to help pinpoint specific food-intolerance triggers for which there are no other diagnostic tests. The low-FODMAP diet has thus far shown very promising results in helping alleviate digestive symptoms among people with IBS. Emerging data suggest that upwards of 70 percent of people with IBS may experience symptom relief on a low-FODMAP diet, though larger studies are needed to validate these numbers.
The low-FODMAP diet—and subsequent re-introduction—is not easy to navigate without help. If you think you might benefit from such an approach, contact me for a Free IBS Strategy Session.
If you're comfortable going it alone with the diet but would like meal plans, recipes and other tips and tricks to help you out, find out more about my How to Implement a Low FODMAP Diet Course.
3. Parasites or bacterial Infections
There are many common parasites or bacterial infections that live in our guts and can affect our health. Some examples of these are - giardia, blastocystis, pinworms or threadworms, hookworms, amoebas, cryptosporidium, c. difficile. A stool test will usually give us the answers and then we can treat to get rid of them.
4. Food Intolerance / Food sensitivities
A negative reaction to certain foods like dairy or gluten can sabotage your health by triggering inflammation and causing a host of nasty symptoms like bloating, breakouts, headaches, achy joints. You can reclaim your health by either testing or eliminating the foods that are most likely to cause food intolerance and then re-introduce them in a controlled manner. This way we’ll identify which foods have been causing you the problems so you can stay away from them while your gut heals. You may or may not be able to go back to these foods after a period of time.
5. Candida / Yeast Overgrowth
Once we loose the healthy microflora balance in our intestinal tract the bad bugs start to take over. Candida is a yeast that's found naturally in our guts but can proliferate if given too much food i.e. sugars and if there's more bad bugs than good. Motility can also play a role, so how fast or slow your transit time is (i.e. constipation or diarrhoea).
Ideally there's a balance and any treatment plan for the gut needs to take into consideration foods that help the bad bugs proliferate as well as foods that help replace the good ones.
6. Leaky Gut Syndrome / Intestinal Permeability
Whatever the cause of your digestive symptoms its likely you'll have intestinal permeability or a leaky gut. If it's a parasite or bacteria that triggered your digestive woes then treating them is necessary. If you now have food intolerances we'll need to identify them and remove them but that's not all. We always need to fix your leaky gut so you don't get these symptoms back again.
Leaky gut has so many contributing factors that need addressing, don't go it alone. I can help guide you through.
One, two or even all of the above may be relevant to you if you suffer from common symptoms of IBS. So, if you’re ready to find some answers book in for your FREE Stop IBS Strategy Session today and I’ll help you identify what you can do to take back control of your gut.
7. Stress and Sleep
Being under stress and lack of sleep are unlikely to be the sole causes of your symptoms but they certainly contribute to making digestive systems worse and affect our immune system, keeping us sick for longer. There are dietary and lifestyle factors that we can implement to help you deal with stress better. There are also supplements that can help bring our stress hormone cortisol back into balance. Sorting this out is key to fixing your symptoms.
Or email me - [email protected] with your questions