Ditch the IBS symptoms and start living your life!
Have you been living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? Apart from it being super common in women, it is super frustrating and really impacts the daily lives of those who suffer with it but also those around them. Characterized by symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, the impacts can be socially isolating and painful. However, there are effective strategies and natural remedies that can help manage IBS symptoms and promote a healthier gut.
Testing for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO.
This is my number one recommendation because over 70% of people that have IBS actually have SIBO. This is actually good news because you can test for SIBO and treat it according to your test results. Imagine resolving your food intolerances, bloating and urgent running to the toilet! SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria (not necessarily pathogenic bacteria) in the small intestine where it shouldn’t be, this bacteria feeds on and ferments certain fibres that you consume that cause uncomfortable bloating. To read more check out my blog Why am I bloated? Is it SIBO?
Identify your IBS Trigger Foods.
While we wait for test results it can be helpful for you to identify trigger foods that worsen your symptoms. Common culprits include spicy foods, caffeine, dairy products, and high-fat items. Keeping a food diary and noting any adverse reactions can help pinpoint specific triggers and enable individuals to make informed dietary choices.
Embrace a Balanced Diet
Studies have shown people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have lower bacterial diversity in the large intestine as well. Following an eventually inclusive diet of lots of fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can regulate bowel movements and ease constipation. Of course a number of these healthy foods can exacerbate your symptoms, which is why I prescribe the SIBO Food Roadmap which is a six stage plan that supports your symptom management and gut healing.
Practice Stress Management for IBS
Stress and anxiety can trigger IBS flare-ups or worsen existing symptoms. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and especially deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can help reduce stress levels and promote a healthier gut.
Adequate hydration is essential for maintaining overall digestive health. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can aid in digestion and prevent constipation. However, you might want to consider avoiding carbonated beverages and excessive caffeine intake, as they may worsen IBS symptoms.
Probiotics and Gut-Friendly Supplements
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can restore the balance of gut flora, which may be disrupted in individuals with IBS. Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or taking probiotic supplements can improve digestion and reduce IBS symptoms, however these make your symptoms worse then definitely get tested for SIBO first. Additionally, certain gut-friendly supplements like peppermint oil and psyllium husk may help alleviate bloating and constipation. Check out my other blog Natural Remedies for IBS for more ideas.
Engaging in regular physical activity can stimulate bowel movements and reduce stress, both of which contribute to a healthier gut. Whether it's walking, jogging, swimming, or yoga, finding an exercise routine that suits one's preferences can positively impact your IBS symptoms.
While Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be a challenging condition to manage, getting the right testing, working with a trained practitioner, and adopting these lifestyle changes can significantly improve gut health and alleviate symptoms. Check out my 12 week program The Gut Reset Method
Identifying trigger foods, following a balanced and therapeutic diet, managing stress, staying hydrated, incorporating probiotics, and exercising regularly are all valuable strategies in the journey towards managing IBS symptoms for a healthier gut.
Remember to consult with your degree-qualified gut health naturopath (that’s me!) before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle. With patience, and a willingness to make changes, a better quality of life is within reach for you. Your life doesn't need to be ruled by IBS or SIBO.