IBS

I have always had digestive issues but in 2017, after a trip to Bali, my life was turned upside down. I was [wrongly] diagnosed with ‘just IBS’* and spent two years learning EVERYTHING I could about IBS, gut healing and the low FODMAP diet. These are my MOST helpful discoveries. I hope you find them helpful too.

*I STRONGLY advise that you find out exactly what is causing the irritation in your bowels & digestive system, before accepting IBS as a final diagnosis. I was misdiagnosed and lived in pain for two years, before finding out I had: parasites, colitis, gut dysbiosis and food intolerances.

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WHAT’S IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a lifelong condition that affects the digestive system causing pain, bloating, diarrhoea/constipation.

IBS-C constipation

IBS-D diarrhoea

IBS-M (or A) experience a mix of the above or alternate between the two

IBS SYMPTOMS

* Stomach pain/cramps                  * Flatulence
* Bloating                                     * Fatigue
* Change in bowel habits

IBS CAUSES

Truth be told, the exact cause of IBS is unknown but experts believe the condition occurs due to digestion malfunction and increased gut sensitivity. Other theories include:

* Excess inflammation                                     * A diet of heavily processed foods
* Infection                                                      * Extreme weight loss
* Hormonal imbalances                                   * Extreme travellers diarrhoea
* Stress (gut brain connection)

IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder with 1 in 5 people in the UK diagnosed.

Anyone can be affected but females are twice as likely as men to develop IBS and most people experience their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 35.

IBS TREATMENTS

Whilst there is no cure for IBS, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help ease IBS symptoms. These include: diet (70% of sufferers report reduced symptoms when following a low FODMAP diet), taking regular exercise and reducing stress.

Including these foods in your diet may help reduce IBS symptoms:

FIBRE   for healthy bowels 

Soluble for IBS-D (slows digestion): avocado, bananas, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, sweet potato, oats, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, psyllium husks

Insoluble for IBSC (helps foods pass through the stomach & intestines quicker): green beans, kale, raspberries, oats, brown rice, quinoa

PROBIOTICS  to increase good bacteria

* Low sugar Kombucha*
* Low sugar vegan yogurt**
* Miso
* Tempeh
* Purple cabbage sauerkraut
* Supplement***: bifidobacterium longum and lactobacillus rhamnosus have been found to help relieve IBS symptoms

*I like Remedy Kombucha as it contains 0g sugar
**I use Coyo coconut yogurt which contains pure minimal ingredients
***Symprove & VSL#3 have shown positive effects in trials of IBS patients

PREBIOTICS to feed good bacteria

* Acacia fibre
* Green bananas
* Baobab
* Dandelion greens
* Sweet potatoes
* Blueberries
* Raw apple cider vinegar (with ‘the mother’)

COLON CLEANSERS for improved digestion

* Leafy greens
* Flax & Chia seeds
* Chlorella, Spirulina, Moringa, Matcha
* Psyllium husks
* Herbs: fennel, peppermint, oregano

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES to reduce gut inflammation

* Berries
* Avocado
* Tomatoes
* Green leafy vegetables
* Omega 3’s: oily fish, nuts & seeds
* Olive oil
* Spices: turmeric, ginger, cinnamon
* Raw cacao
* Açaí
* Slippery elm powder
* Marshmallow root

ANTI-SPASMODICS to reduce spasms in the intestinal muscles

* Chamomile
* Ginger
* Peppermint
* Fennel

ADAPTOGENS to fight stress which triggers IBS symptoms

* Ashwagandha
* Cordyceps
* Holy basil/tulsi
* Liquorice root (look for deglycyrrhizinated licorice /DGL as glycyrrhizin in licorice root can cause hypertension i.e high blood pressure)
* Maca root

IBS TRIGGERS; WHAT ARE FODMAPS?

Short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, which can cause discomfort for people with IBS.

RESOURCES

MONASH university; the developers of the low FODMAP diet.

NOTES

If you suspect you have IBS talk to your GP or a medical practitioner.

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