Do you experience bloating, cramping, or have had changes in your bowel habits?
It could be Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it is important not to assume that.
It can be embarrassing to talk about, but it’s an important topic because it can make sufferers miserable… In fact because of the link between your gut and your brain (there is such a thing and it’s called the gut-brain axis), bowel issues can have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing.
IBS affects 1 in 7 people, but many people don’t realise it, as it is not a subject we tend to talk about, so we may not know that symptoms we experience are not normal.
Symptoms of IBS can vary: Diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal pain or nausea. I also occasionally have clients who experience reflux with it and often people feel fatigued as a result of their symptoms.
The severity of symptoms varies significantly – some people have mild symptoms and for others it’s debilitating
I have seen clients who have up to 10 diarrhoea episodes a day, and others with such bad abdominal pain that they can’t go to work
If you have any symptoms, while it might feel embarrassing to talk about, don’t just soldier on alone!
Its important symptoms are investigated – this includes testing for Coeliac Disease and inflammatory bowel disease, which can have similar symptoms to IBS, but are affecting the actual functioning of the gut. Even if your symptoms don’t seem severe, a Coeliac Screen is essential, as currently it is recognised that many people are undiagnosed.
So with IBS, even though you are experiencing symptoms, your gut is functioning completely normally and there is no damage happening to it.
But the symptoms can be really annoying at best and affect your day-to-day life at worst. So with this in mind, it is good to know there is hope.
Dietary modifications helps around 75% of IBS sufferers and has been well researched and I have had significant success with clients who have been able to resume normal activities.
Even though dietary modification can make a difference, it is important, that it is not done before proper investigations have been completed.
In addition, it is recommended that dietary modification is done with the support of a dietitian, as many foods which are removed during elimination diets are actually good for the gut, so we don’t want to exclude foods that we don’t need to be.
So most important take home message:
Get a Coeliac Screen done
Don’t remove gluten from your diet prior to any tests being done
Dietary modifications can help most people with IBS, but it is important to address it with someone who is qualified.
Manage your stress and negative thinking, as this plays a role in IBS.
If you want to read more about IBS, click here