Approximately half of all intestinal complaints are due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It is the most common gastrointestinal complaint. IBS is an umbrella term that can be applied to different conditions such as spastic bowel, spastic colon, mucous colitis, colitis and functional bowel disease.

SYMPTOMS OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

  • abdominal pain
  • spasms
  • alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • thin stools
  • mucous in stools
  • fat in stools
  • gas and bloating
  • nausea
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • depression

COMMON CAUSES OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

  • caffeine sensitivity
  • stress
  • dairy allergy or sensitivity
  • other food allergy or sensitivity
  • lack of fiber in the diet
  • infection
  • malabsorption
  • hormonal imbalances
  • endometriosis
  • environmental sensitivities

LIFESTYLE TREATMENT FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

  • colon massage (following the line of the colon)
  • stress management/reduction techniques
  • eat small meals
  • chew well

FOOD TREATMENT FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

  • avoid eating raw fruits and veggies for a short time
  • avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • avoid caffeine
  • avoid dairy
  • consider an elimination diet to detect food trigger
  • slowly introduce more fiber
  • consider adding bone broth, collagen or gelatin
  • consider the therapeutic use of oat bran or carob

NUTRIENTS TO CONSIDER TO HELP HEAL IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)

  • probiotics
  • L-glutamine (up to 1.5 g/day) GI-Revive From Designs For Health
  • aloe juice (2-4 oz)
  • enteric coated peppermint oil
  • freshly ground flax seed
  • ginger (eat about 10 1/2 inch cubes of ginger per day)
  • magnesium (300-500 mg/day) (may cause loose bowel movements)
  • psyllium husk
  • zinc (in the form of zinc carnosine)
  • Vit D
  • Vit A

Functional medicine treats the source of the issue and will help to establish your triggers, allergies, and sensitivities that are preventing your gut from being as healthy as it can be!

Why treat the symptoms and allow the disease to persist if you could prevent the onset entirely?

It’s worth remembering that IBS is ultimately a gastrointestinal disease, and so any course of treatment which does not incorporate gut health and cultivating healthy gut flora is not productive. By increasing your gut’s ability to absorb nutrients, you will slowly but surely be able to heal and reduce the effects of IBS. It requires a constant source of awareness that you must commit to maintaining, but functional medicine has your back!

If you’ve been struggling and your symptoms haven’t improved, I recommend functional lab testing and working with a functional medicine expert – here are some examples of functional labs, contact me for further information @ info@drkatlewis.com.

FUNCTIONAL TESTING FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

  • IgG food sensitivity testing
  • Comprehensive Stool Analysis Test for Candida and parasites
  • Organic Acids Test for yeast, metabolic and overgrowth concerns
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) hydrogen breath test
  • Lactose Breath Test (or just remove dairy!)

To soothe IBS issues check out my Soothe My IBS Protocol, which consists of a combination of the nutrients listed above. These four products, take together, can significantly impact your symptoms for the better.

7 STEPS TO HEAL IBS

  1. Get Tested to help identify and then eliminate the root cause
  2. Remove common food triggers: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, alcohol, yeast, eggs, peanuts
  3. Remove unwanted gut bacteria/parasites/yeast (these can be identified by step #1)
  4. Repair gut function (stomach acid, enzyme secretion, motility, etc)
  5. Repopulate with good bacteria (probiotic like DFH’S ProBioMed
  6. Replace key nutrients using food/supplements (see above).
  7. Chew, chew, chew, say a blessing before you eat and don’t eat if you are not 100% calm.

Step 7 is the most important step. Your stomach doesn’t have teeth. If you don’t chew well it makes it difficult for the other organs in your digestive system to do their job. When we are stressed and on the go, we tend to eat fast gulping down our food. When we are stressed we move energy out of our gut and in to our extremities so that we can fight or flee (the stress response). This lowers our digestive capacity making it more likely that the food isn’t digested nor assimilated well. In this case the food can actually hurt you instead of nourish you. And in this case, the best supplement and the best foods will do very little for you. You must address the root cause.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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