Once you’ve been diagnosed with IBS there are no clear conventional treatments and many are simply advised to reduce fibre, and are sent on their way. If you have a ‘google’ you’ll soon discover that there are a bewildering array of diets and nutrition supplements that claim to ‘cure’ you of your IBS.
Most of these approaches do not tackle IBS from all the necessary angles, however. AND most sufferers have multiple imbalances within the gut, often with strong links to stress and brain chemical imbalances too (but most people don’t realise that they are stressed!). As IBS symptoms can include both physical and psychological aspects, a holistic approach that factors in more than just diet is vital!
What can cause IBS?
Most people with IBS will have one or more of the following:
- gut bacteria imbalances
- inappropriate inflammation
- gut-brain axis disruption (e.g. chronic or unmanageable stress)
- increased gut barrier disruption
- poor digestion (malabsorption and deficiencies)
- infection by parasites and/ or yeasts like candida
And it’s not uncommon for me to see ALL of these in people, and that’s why simply addressing one factor (e.g. gut bacteria), will be completely ineffective.
What’s the most effect approach?
An effective approach should be methodical, structured and temporary. Yes, temporary. Much of the dietary strategies and supplements used to heal the gut only need to be used until the gut is healed. After this, good dietary and lifestyle habits should be enough to maintain the good health of the gut. This approach should incorporate the 5 Rs:
- REMOVE food intolerances and infections or bacterial imbalances
- REPLACE necessary digestive support
- REPOPULATE levels of beneficial gut bacteria
- REPAIR the gut barrier
- REBALANCE by addressing lifestyle, psychological issues and stress
Whilst this same protocol is followed with almost all of my digestive health clients, all clients receive different recommendations because the specifics are worked out based on medical history, current health and diet, and using test results. The most important thing is that the approach is individualised.
When to seek advice from a professional
Usually I’m told the same story each time a new digestive health client starts. They say, “I’ve managed it myself for years and I’ve tried all-sorts, but I can’t do it anymore. I need someone who knows what they are doing to take over.” For many, this is the right time to seek advice; when they can no longer manage it themselves. However, remember that the longer the imbalance is there, the harder it is to correct and therefore, it’s never too soon to seek support.
I help people who have digestive concerns to manage their symptoms, and to identify the root cause of their problem using dietary tweaks, lifestyle advice and supplements. To find out more about how I work, click here.