Do you have IBS? Do you suffer from IBS symptoms but not sure if you have the diagnosis or not? Are you looking for food and nutrition solutions, and what to eat, to eliminate IBS pain and discomfort?
I must admit. During my college days studying nutrition therapies, I didn’t care much for IBS. I never thought it would be the focus of my practice.
And to be quite honest with you, I didn’t learn much about it in textbooks to spike my interest. There wasn’t much juice in the therapies beyond chew your food better, take a medication, add some fiber, or remove “trigger” food.
But if you have IBS, you probably rolled your eyes every time someone told you to remove trigger foods. I mean, if you knew them, you wouldn’t be suffering from gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
And even if you knew exactly what makes you feel yucky and avoid it, is this how you want to live your life? Is it normal to restrict amazing good foods like apples, kale, or cauliflower? Do you want to never eat a meal at a restaurant or a friend’s house? Do you want to be too scared to eat because something will trigger an episode of diarrhea or pain or few days of your stomach looking bloated like a 5-month pregnant woman?
The answer should be NO, NO, NO! And that’s why I want to talk about IBS.
If you have no stomach problems, you’re lucky. Digestive issues suck (excuse my language). You eat multiple times a day, and you need to poop (again, excuse my language) at least once or twice a day. If that system isn’t working properly, it WILL affect your life, your mood, your productivity, your activity level, what you choose to do and not do, and even your relationship with your significant other.
If your stomach is fine, bear with me here and keep on reading. You’ll be surprised to know that things like eczema, headache, anxiety, hyperactivity, obesity, and joint and muscle pain can all be rooted in a digestive system that isn’t working properly.
So what’s IBS?
IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. It’s different from IBD, which stands for inflammatory bowel disease and refers to two main autoimmune conditions Crohn’s disease and colitis. People with IBS complain of gas, bloating, stomach or intestinal pain, cramps, diarrhea, and/or constipation. The frequency and severity varies from one person to another and from time to time in the same person.
While most doctors lump IBS under one big umbrella, it’s very important to determine what kind of IBS you have and the true root cause. Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) is very different from irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D). The symptoms are different, the causes are different, and the treatment should be different.
It’s also important to gather as much information as to what really caused or triggered IBS. Gut infections, reduced stomach acid, gut dysbiosis, slow gut motility, and slow thyroid function are all root causes of IBS. If you don’t trace the problem all the way to the original trigger, you won’t find long-term solutions. You can read about thyroid health here and more on what causes gut inflammation here.
Here’s where things get interesting.
There’s no concrete diagnostic tool for IBS. There’s no test that comes back with a positive confirming that you have it. If you complain of IBS symptoms and decide to seek help from your doctor, he or she will ask you about frequency and severity. If you meet certain criteria, for example the pain lasting three days a month for the past three months, then maybe you have IBS.
Here are some of the symptoms associated with IBS:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- A bloated feeling
- Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
- Mucus in the stool
This post stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend. She was telling me about her dad and how he needs my help.
He has been suffering from heartburn for 20 years. He’s happy to pop any pill his doctors recommend. She thinks he’s done his share of antacid medications. She wasn’t sure if he was diagnosed with IBS, but from the symptoms she told me, his gut was suffering. Whether he was given a “diagnosis” term of IBS doesn’t change the fact that he need a complete gut healing protocol.
What Do you Do if you Have IBS?
If your symptoms aren’t severe, you’ll be sent home with an advice that looks like this:
- Eat more fiber (I am)
- Remove high fiber foods (wait…now I’m confused)
- Remove spicy or fried food (been there, done that)
- Drink more water (doing my best)
- Fix your diet (but how? beans and veggies put me in pain)
- Take it easy (can you send me to the Bahamas?)
- Exercise (have you tried running with diarrhea?)
- It’s in your head (but I’m not crazy)
- You’re lucky it’s not cancer! (for real?)
If your doctor wants to do more testing, they’ll order some labs and maybe perform a colonoscopy, endoscopy, or another type of test.
But it’s common to see patients who come to me with normal, or negative results.
“They can’t find anything wrong with me, but I’m in pain.”
“My vitamin D is low and my doctor gave me a prescription”
(ok, glad that we caught that but fixing your vitamin D level will not fix your gut).
“The nurse gave me this paper and told me to avoid these foods”
(ok, a good start, but then what? How long will you avoid them for? Why can’t you tolerate these foods? Don’t you want to fix this?)
And if you beg your doctor for a solution, be prepared to see the prescription pad and antispasmoic, anti-diarrheal, antibiotic, or anti-anxiety medication.
In fact, if you research IBS in mainstream health and medical websites, you will find more info about all the medications that treat IBS, with very little reference or details about what to eat, what to avoid, how to support and heal the gut, how to return proper digestion, or how to eliminate the root cause of the problem.
Don’t get me wrong, I like working with a good gastroenterologist. And seeing your doctor is important to rule out things like cancers, Crohn’s, or gall stones.
But if everything is fine by standard testing, isn’t it time to look at things from a different perspective?
If you have stomach problems my friend, you know what it’s like. They’re embarrassing. They’re annoying. And they can be painful.
And no one wants to hear about your poop and gas problems. The close people in your life think you complain too much.
But I want to hear about them and I want to help you. Because so much of your health and vitality stems from a healthy gut.
If eliminating the pain and discomfort isn’t enough to motivate you to take action, think of this for a second. Digestive problems aren’t completely harmless despite what you may be told. Your body is telling you something. Your gut is inflamed, imbalanced, and not functioning properly. You’re not digesting and absorbing the nutrients in your food. You may have nutrient deficiencies. You may have bacterial overgrowth. You may be at risk for food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions. You may be more likely to get sick or have annoying allergies to pollen, dust, grass, etc.
And if you didn’t know that already, research is coming back linking gut health to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Yeap, if you’re having a hard time losing weight, it’s time to take a closer look at your gut.
Do this Now if you Think you Have IBS
>>>> Click HERE and download this questionnaire <<<<
Read the instructions and fill it out by putting a number next to any symptom you have. A score above 20 is a sign of gut problems. The higher your score, the more severe, complex, or long-term your problem is.
But do not despair my friend. I’ve helped patients get their scores to less than 10 or 20 in 3 months or less. Some started with a score of 30 or 40, while others started with a score of 90 or 120. It can be done with a specific step-by-step nutrition protocol, the right foods, and the right supplements that support the gut.
If you’re fed up with your symptoms and ready to part with them, I’d like to invite you to Restore your Health session. In this complimentary call, I review your questionnaire results and your symptoms. And if I believe that I have the tools and experience to help restore your gut function, I will share my conclusions and recommendation with you.
I hope you take me up on my offer! I know it sounds weird, but I’m passionate about solving these body function problems. I’ve seen it transform lives, and maybe your turn is next.