Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the term used to refer to a collection of symptoms that occur in the lower intestine (or bowel) and lead to a number of digestive and eating problems. The most common symptoms include constipation, diarrhoea, severe bloating and gas - what many describe as a bad gut or leaky gut. Read up on more symptoms and what causes IBS here.
Firstly, everyone is different. If possible, try and get a stool test from your GP, especially if you've been travelling overseas or suspect food poisoning. This will help to rule out any foreign pathogens that are an anomaly.
Cleaning up you diet.
+ + + MORE fresh fruits and veggies. Two - three serves of fruit, and six to eight serves of vegetables each day.
- - - - Reducing takeaways, ready meals, processed foods, and foods with additives and preservatives. This are just inflammatory triggers and do not heal your gut.
A food diary.
A log will help to identify patterns and correlations between how you feel and the food you're eating. This is key to identifying any foods that may be core triggers and assist in ruling our allergies.
If your stools are loose, your fibre intake may be low. This is easily resolved with cleaning up your diet, as fruit and vegetables are packed with fibre.
On the other hand, if you're constipated and cramping, this can also be a result of lack of fibre AND a sign of dehydration. So be conscious of your water intake and the inclusion of more beans, lentils, seeds and wholegrains will also get the system moving and aid in detoxification. Fibre is also food to some good gut bacteria - so when you don't eat it, they starve and die, degrading the status of the human gut microbiome.
Course of Probiotics.
To aid in restoring good bacteria to the gut, ESPECIALLY if you've recently taken antibiotics. Before turning to supplements try to get both pre and probiotics from food.
Prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria and help them to grow in abundance. Foods include leeks, onions, garlic and asparagus.
Probiotic foods have healthy bacteria already thriving within them - kombucha, kimchi, kefir, miso, sauerkraut.
Try to eat at least 2 - 3 portions of these foods each week.
If you really do need a supplement, essential it is of good quality with a high CFU of between 2 - 20 billion (this refers to the number of bacteria per dose). Ensure there are multiple strains included in each dose, but don't worry, this level of detail will be on the labelling to help you choose.
If none of the above helps, and you're continuing to struggle every day, it's important you seek help from a qualified practitioner.
I know the above is challenging, but by reducing the harmful foods it gives your gastrointestinal tract the chance to detoxify, and the fruits and vegetables are the tools to make the process more effective. Remember too, the body's immune system starts in the gut.
If gut inflammation is constant, in the short term it leaves you fatigued and perhaps even a little embarrassed. But in the long term this can affect your ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals which has a domino affect on your entire body including the brain, nervous system, bones and muscles. It can also lead to greater autoimmune conditions and bowel cancer.
If you're unsure of what else to do, please reach out for a free consultation where we can discuss your symptoms together.
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations.