BY CLAIR WHITTY
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system. The symptoms tend to come and go, they can last for days, weeks or months at a time. It can be managed with lifestyle, dietary changes, and nutritional support for the digestive system.
A common symptom is stomach pain and cramping, which may be relieved by going to the toilet. You might also notice changes in your bowel habits, one minute you are constipated and the next you have diarrhoea. Or you may experience an urgent need to get to the toilet. Some of you have bloating and swelling of your stomach. Excessive wind is common, you may have odour or just noisy wind. Heartburn is a less common symptom.
Factors that contribute to gut problems include: food intolerances, low levels of good gut bacteria and digestive enzymes, fungal overgrowth, viral infections, or a diet with too many processed foods may all contribute to gut problems. Stress can impact on gut health too. In order to manage IBS you will need to work with any of the above issues that are contributing to the symptoms you are having.
Food isn’t always to blame, but it’s a great place to start. It can be difficult to figure out what foods are causing you problems. A food diary will help as you will notice a pattern forming. Try leaving out the suspect food to see if it will make a difference. It could be any food but wheat, dairy, yeast, and sugar are common triggers. If stress is the trigger, relaxation, meditation, walking, exercise or supplementing with extra magnesium may help.
IBS has a wide variety of symptoms and causes; the good news is that most people learn to manage their symptoms. This may be achieved with a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, working with a nutritional therapist, or taking dietary supplements to support gut health.
Flax, chia seeds, or psyllium husks can be used to help improve normal bowel function. Kimchi, sauerkraut, natural yoghurt or kefir can support good gut flora. Apple cider vinegar can help metabolism and digestion. Peppermint tea is great for bloating.
There are many natural ways to help you manage IBS, for more information phone, pop us an email, or call in to see us.
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