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IBS Part 2: What Causes IBS?

Did you know IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be triggered in anyone at any age?

Watch the video to find out about common triggers.

Whenever I see a client who is coming to me with IBS, my first 3 questions are always...

  1. Have you ever had to take antibiotics?

  2. Have you have ever picked up a travel bug?

  3. Have you ever had food poisoning?

  4. Have you been on long term prescription medication?

Usually, if you answer yes to any of these questions but not taken measures to repair the gut afterwards, then the likelihood is your gut may have taken a turn for the worse. Leaving an upset gut for months or years after one of these episode means that you gut microbiome may start to do some of the following:

  • become inflamed - especially after a bug or parasite. This may cause bloating, cramping, blood, loose bowels or nausea

  • become leaky - the tight junctions which stop particles leaking into the blood stream can become porous and allow bacteria, food, toxins to cross this barrier and wreak havoc; think brain fog, acne, fatigue, intolerances

  • You may start to notice blood or mucus in your stool

  • Notice intolerances to certain foods such as dairy, gluten, certain vegetables

  • Long term IBS and inflamed gut can even lead towards more severe illness such as auto immune conditions or bowel cancer

So its ALWAYS important that you seek professional guidance after you have experienced any of the below possible triggers for IBS


Antibiotics are a life saver, however they blanket kill all bacteria in the gut - the good bacteria and the bad bacteria. We need bacteria in our gut but only when in balance, which we can manage with the right diet (however, this is the tricky bit). Supporting a balanced gut microbiome is essential to managing IBS symptoms.

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Travel Bugs

Some people recover completely after the initial infection stage, however others don't. This is usually because of a bacterial, viral, parasitic or sometimes worm infection, that remains latent in the gut and can cause problems for years. Thankfully, stool testing tells us if this is the case, and once identified treatment can start to rectify the problem, and repopulate the gut with healthy good bacteria.

Food Poisoning

This is another of the most common triggers for gut dysbiosis. Having undercooked food or food contaminated with bacteria can really cause an upset tummy. Eating the right foods help increase the balance of good bacteria and prevent the harmful bacteria from taking over. Also, always being careful of what you eat is important and maintaining high hygiene and food prep standards. If you're not sure - best to avoid.

Intolerances & Allergies

Sometimes, only by removing something from our diet that we have always eaten and felt 'fine', can we see just how much our gut is affected.

Perhaps cut out some of the most common trigger foods to see if symptoms improve: dairy or gluten, caffeine, alcohol and smoking are the most common. It may be tough, but after 3 days these are usually cleared from our system and you should start to feel great. If not, keeping a food diary and tracking when flare up's occur also helps.

If you have a known food allergy, are you actively avoiding it? Checking food labels constantly is important as food produces are often changing recipes. Or better yet, a whole foods diet is best.

Stress & Anxiety

Hidden in the walls of the digestive system is the enteric nervous system (ENS) or the 'brain in your gut'. This is revolutionising medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health, addiction and even the way you think. If your gut is not working properly, then your immune system, hormones and mood may also be affected.

Female Health

Women can be misdiagnosed with IBS when they actually suffer from PCOS or endometriosis. If you have heavy periods or irregular periods it is worth going to your GP for further testing.

Here's what Rosie had to say about working with The Natural Balance to improve her IBS

"Throughout my 20s I had suffered with IBS issues, hormonal acne, and low energy. I had always assumed my issues were genetic or just part of how I would always be. I was pointed in the direction of Kelly when I was seeing a specialist for my skin. I was getting spots every month around my period, and also experienced poor digestion and reactions to food fairly regularly.

I was apprehensive about seeing a nutritionist as I have always been a foodie, and food has been a big comfort for me emotionally, and I assumed I would struggle to follow a regime and that I wouldn’t enjoy the process.

I was surprised therefore at how much I got from the calls, I really enjoyed the consultations with Kelly as she gave really detailed insight into what was going on in my gut and with my hormones. I felt like I always learnt something, and it has made me feel so much more aware of my body.

Kelly was always really friendly and helpful, and made the process feel relaxed. She was very reassuring and kept my wellbeing at the centre of it all. I felt encouraged and supported. My skin has cleared up, I no longer have IBS symptoms, and I have SO much more energy!"

Do you struggle with these triggers? Or do you have IBS and need support managing the day to day? Book a free 20 minute consultation and let me help you today.


Kelly Mulhall

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.

I am not attempting to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional issues. Do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice because of information you have read on this website. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your primary health care provider.


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