One in five adults is affected by IBS, this is why It’s worth understand what it is, which are the symptoms, the root causes, and what we can do to resolve it.
What is it?
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a medical term used to describe a collection of gut symptoms.
Which are the symptoms?
Symptoms vary from one individual to another and can be worse for some than others, however an assessment for IBS should be considered if you have had any of the following for at least six months: abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating or change in bowel habit, heartburn, reflux, pain, cramps.
Other features such as lethargy, nausea, backache, and bladder symptoms are common in people with IBS and may be used to support the diagnosis.
It is important to have a diagnosis of IBS confirmed and other conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease ruled out.
But having gut issues can also trigger symptoms in some other parts of the body, including headache, migraines, anxiety, brain fog, mood swings, weight gain, poor sleep, unexplained fatigue, and many others.
What are the root causes of IBS?
1. Low stomach acid:
Hydrochloric acid is produced by our body to break down food and pass it down to the system. If it’s not enough, food is not digested properly and stays in the gut too long causing bloating, gas, indigestion.
2. Food sensitivities:
Some food can cause a reaction and launch a bit of an immune response against them, in the long term, they can cause symptoms and damage our gut. Some of these are gluten and dairy.
3. Leaky gut or Intestinal hyperpermeability
This happens when undigested food, pathogens, and toxins leak in through the digestive tract where they are not supposed to be. The system doesn’t recognize these particles and can trigger an immune reaction with a consequent inflammation.
4. Microbial imbalances or underlying infections:
What can we do?
The good news is that we can do something to reduce and eliminate the symptoms:
Here are some ways:
· Eat three regular meals a day
· Try not to skip any meals or eat late at night (smaller meal sizes may ease symptoms)
· Limit alcohol intake to no more than two units per day and have at least two alcohol-free days a week
· Reduce intake of caffeine-containing drinks to no more than two/three cups a day
· Reduce intake of fizzy drinks
· Drink at least eight cups of fluid per day, especially water or other non-caffeinated drinks, for example, herbal teas
· Cut down on rich or fatty foods including chips, fast foods, pies, butter, cheese, pizza, creamy sauces, snacks such as crisps, chocolate, cake and biscuits, spreads and cooking oils, and fatty meats such as burgers and sausages
· Take time to relax – relaxation tapes, yoga, aromatherapy, or massage may help
· Take regular exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming
· Take time to eat meals – chew your food well
· Keep a food and symptom diary whilst you are making changes so you can see what has helped
Dietary changes can often help IBS symptoms and sometimes simple changes are all that is needed
· Take Probiotics and Prebiotics to restore intestinal flora
· Have a Stool test to check if you have an underlying imbalance
And many more…….
As we can see there are ways to be IBS symptoms-free, we don’t have to feel in this state anymore.
That’s all for now!
PS. If you suspect you have IBS and would like to resolve it by investigating the root cause, feel free to contact me!