Has your doctor told you that you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? What did they say you had to do? Low Fodmap? Anti-diarrhoea medication? Another restrictive diet?
There are many reasons why your bowel might be unhappy, which is essentially what IBS is. It could be due to a bacteria imbalance or gut infection. You may be intolerant to certain foods or even due to the connection between the gut and the brain. All this can cause diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramps and even PMS.
Whilst there is no one size fits all solution, it is possible to look after it and see improved health. Taking anti-diarrhea medication or changing your diet are not long-term solutions.
Tanya from Tanya Jones Naturopath considers how we can do this the natural way.
Address the underlying cause by getting tested. A stool sample will be able to identify harmful bacteria and parasites, whilst a breath test can measure hydrogen and methane levels which are linked to gassiness and bloating.
There are many supplements available that can help rebalance your gut, including vitamins and probiotics. Fish oils and herbs assist with balancing your hormones (often associated with PMS). Additional enzymes will help break down food, preventing it from fermenting and creating gas. Zinc, magnesium, fibre, glutamine and Vitamin A are also recommended.
Eliminate potential food triggers. It seems obvious, but many intolerances cause gas and bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Common sensitivities include dairy, gluten, yeast, eggs, corn, soy and peanuts. These are different to true allergies, which can cause more severe allergic reactions.
Minimise your stress levels. Easier said than done, of course; but there is a strong link between your mental health and gut health. It’s not often the main cause of your symptoms but definitely a contributing factor.
And lastly a note on diets.
Whilst restrictive diets like Low Fodmap and Keto certainly have their place in healing gut symptoms, they are not meant to be a long-term solution. Excluding some trigger foods may provide some much-needed relief from symptoms and will also give your gut time to heal before gradually reintroducing foods.
At the same time, in order to be healthy gut bacteria needs to be diverse. Some diets actually work to reduce this range of bacteria, leading to poor gut health. Something to be mindful of when asked to follow a prescribed diet.
Still have questions? Why not book in for a chat with Tanya about your gut health and how she can help you to manage and relieve your IBS symptoms.