IBS may not be considered a serious medical condition, but it can and does cause major unhappiness and disturbance in your life.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can lead to pain, bloating and cramping as well as diarrhoea or constipation, or alternations between the two.
IBS most commonly develops following gastroenteritis (at home or after an overseas holiday), or following a single or multiple course of antibiotics.
However, for some people it is related to stress, food intolerances, imbalances in gastrointestinal flora, liver and gallbladder disturbances or motility problems. OR all of the above!
It is characterised by low grade inflammation which accounts for many of the discomforting symptoms.
So although a diagnosis of IBS may be reassuring for some, it is not a single condition. Rather, as the causes of IBS are varied, the treatment also needs to vary according to your individual circumstances.
At Botanica Medica we take a personalized approach to your health. Our focus is treating the underlying cause of your IBS.
We undertake a thorough health history and may also recommend specific testing such as IgG blood tests to identify food intolerances, and stool analysis to determine whether infection or imbalances in intestinal bacteria are involved in your IBS. We are likely to recommend tailored dietary changes, as well as specific supplements for your condition.
Both research and our experience has shown that infection with parasites, bacteria or just an overgrowth of bacteria lay at the heart of IBS. Eradicating these unhelpful bugs and restoring your own healthy balance of good gut bugs is often the key to resolving your IBS.
Much attention has recently focussed on the benefits of the FODMAPS exclusion diet. It is definitely beneficial as part of treatment, but is not a cure in itself. Its benefit comes from alleviating symptoms and making it easier to treat the underlying causes.
But it is not meant as a long term diet plan. Too many good foods are excluded in this diet. Indeed many clients come to us already on this diet having found it has helped but not solved their IBS.
Other foods may aggravate your condition without being the cause (nightshades for eg.). Identifying these foods certainly help reduce distress and discomfort.
Stress is often responsible for sensitising your bowel to pain, cramping and bloating. Reducing your stress through exercise, mindfulness, yoga (whatever works for you) is always helpful, along with various herbs that reduce the effects of stress on our gut and our minds. As sufferers of IBS know, your gut affects your mind and your mind affects your gut and treating this area of your health is vital to reversing IBS.
My experience has shown that dietary fat intolerance is often a key problem in IBS. Suffering from nausea, biliousness (feeling blah!), a sour taste in the back of your throat especially after creamy, rich foods is a telltale sign. Women unfortunately are particularly prone to this due to the presence of the hormone oestrogen. Whilst vital for health and well-being, many women have difficulties in metabolising oestrogen effectively (especially if on an OCP or HRT), which can lead to impairment of normal gallbladder function and resultant difficulties in metabolising dietary fats.
Some medications can lead to these symptoms. Many medications can cause constipation, diarrhoea and low grade inflammation. As a pharmacist and Naturopath, I am able to identify if any medications may be responsible, and encourage discussion between you and your doctor regarding these.
No wonder IBS doesn’t resolve easily, when so many factors can be involved.
Addressing the variety of factors involved for you, allows for the most effective treatment plan and quick results.
Contact Botanica Medica today on 8271 1827 and book a consult with Craig or Tracey today.
As they say (well me anyway!), if you look after your bowel, it will look after you.
Craig Wainwright