After years of personal health struggles with asthma, eczema, food allergies and intolerance's plus being on medication for 15+ years I completely suppressed my immune system and impaired by digestive system.
Not only that I was always a big foodie, constantly overeating and sugar binging (chocolate and ice-cream were my vice!). This lead to many digestive complaints as well as feelings of anxiety. After numerous doctor and specialist visits I was eventually diagnosed with IBS. I still remember the day, I was gutted! I thought it was something out of my control that I had to live with for the rest of my life. Boy was I wrong!
Symptoms of IBS range from bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, to pain, cramps; or an intermittent mix of all of these. I suffered with constipation, I often wouldn’t pass my bowels for 2-3 days leading to stomach cramps and pain. Little did I know the effect this was having on my overall health!
Eventually I decided enough was enough, it was time to change. I started reading about how diet and lifestyle could impact your bowels so I started to experiment with diet and lifestyle changes and I’ve never looked back. I have officially healed my 'IBS' and been symptom free for 5+ years.
A couple years after being diagnosed I studied Holistic Nutrition at Wellpark College of Natural Therapies. Now as a holistic nutritionist, IBS is one of the most common issues I see and help clients with.
IBS can sometimes be a bit of a mystery. There is no single test for IBS, a GP will likely diagnose it by ruling out any other potential issues, which can add to the frustration if you’re looking for answers or treatment.
Not everyone may know this but there are a lot of neurons in our gut (more than there are in our spinal chord). We often talk about our “gut feeling”, natural health practioners often refer to the gut as the “second brain”. Many ISB sufferers often say that their emotions, particularly stress levels can make their symptoms worse. I know I was one of them! If you ever feel tense or stressed it could make your digestive system tense and stressed and worsen ISB symptoms.
There isn’t a single cause of IBS and it’s likely to differ from person to person. Factors such as a sugar-rich diets, stress, emotional issues, intestinal flora balance all play a role.
There are actions you can take today to heal your IBS. If I can do it, you too! It may seem impossible but trust me, if you are motivated and committed and truly want to heal yourself you can! It will take time but you will get there. If you even need any additional support or guidance I am here to help!
Here are a few tips which I used to heal my IBS:
1. I quit sugar
Sugar feeds the bad bacteria making them thrive and multiply rapidly leading to bloating, flatulence, constipation, pain and cramps.
2. I reduced my stress levels
Try yoga, reading a book, laughing, meditation, exercise. My favourite way is to put my legs up against the wall for 15 minutes. This helps shift your nervous system from the ‘fight or fight’ response to the ‘rest and digest’ response.
3. I repopulated my gut with good bacteria
Consume lots of friendly bacteria on a daily basis to increase the good bacteria and outweigh the bad bacteria. Fermented food include sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, tempeh, kombucha.
4. I drank 2+ litres of water daily
It’s important to drink adequate water throughout the day to flush your liver and bowels so you can flush out unwanted toxins and waste products.
5. I increased my fiber intake
Fiber helps to bulk up your stools to keep the digestive system moving. It also helps to feed the friendly bacteria. Best sources of fiber include vegetables, fruit, wholegrains (oats, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice), leafy greens, nuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and psyllium husk.
I hope this helps! If you are struggling with ISB or any other gut problems and need some guidance or a personal wellness plan please don't feel shy to email me any questions you may have, or book in for a FREE 30 minute consultation.