April is both stress awareness month and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) awareness month.
While I fully support IBS awareness month, I believe the “awareness” needs to be focussed on what is causing your bowel to be irritable.
I was prompted to write todays blog because IBS is not a hugely helpful diagnosis. It's an abbreviation to describe an irritated gut. An abbreviation that doesn't help you if, everyday, you feel:
I can’t tell you how many women (and men) I’ve had come to work with me that were told they have IBS and there is nothing they can do about it.
Or they were told to just “manage stress” better.
Working with a nutritional therapist can help get to the root cause of your IBS and support your digestion nutritionally so that you can get back to feeling like you again.
You don’t have to live with your debilitating digestive issues. There is a cause to your digestive dysfunction (it's not just about managing your stress). I want you to know that you can overcome chronic digestive issues. Read on to find out more.
How irritable bowel syndrome is diagnosed and treated
You may have read online that IBS is a junk diagnosis, or "BS" diagnosis.
In fact this research paper goes as far as describing an IBS diagnosis as lazy medicine...
The author, Ben Brown (Brown, 2019), explains how IBS is not one disease but an umbrella term or ‘catch-all’ for multiple identifiable and treatable digestive symptoms which may be triggered by a combination of nutritional and lifestyle factors.
So once all the tests come back "normal" at your doctors surgery, you get labelled with "IBS" and told "there’s not much we can do about it".
But all this REALLY means is there's not much we can do *medically* about this, because you don't have a serious life-threatening disease (thankfully!).
Sadly, a diagnosis of IBS completely fails you, the patient, by not explaining that IBS is driven by multiple nutritional factors.
Brown's research paper concludes that clustering multiple digestive symptoms under one label of "IBS" risks “lazy thinking” and delays recovery.
And as an experienced nutritional therapist, specialising in digestive issues, I agree whole-heartedly with his findings.
What really causes irritable bowel syndrome?
Tell me, have you been told you "just have to live with IBS"?
Maybe you were told:
“You just need more Imodium, Fybogel, or go low-FODMAP”
These are not long-term solutions to your bloating, diarrhoea or constipation. They are like sticking plasters (which aren't even very sticky).
In my clinic, I help people on a weekly basis with IBS.
The most common underlying issues for irritable bowel syndrome that I see (which may occur alone or along with several issues) include:
These issues are functional gut disorders. Functional gut issues are not something routinely picked up by a GP. But these are EXACTLY the kinds of digestive issues a nutritional therapist can help you with. Find out more here.
Irritable bowel syndrome and stress
Stress can make an irritated bowel worse (because stress shuts down digestion) but stress alone is really unlikely to be the only cause of your irritable bowel.
Prolonged stress makes IBS and gut health worse because stress:
What is the long-term of effect of stress on your gut and IBS?
Been told there is nothing you can do about IBS besides eat more fibre and drink more water?
For most of us, our stress is not going away. It is a reality we live with and for many of my clients stress and anxiety can trigger diarrhoea which can completely ruin their day.
Putting the right nutritional support in place to support the actions of our digestive system during prolonged stress means our body can return to responding more appropriately to the stressors and challenges we face on a day-to-day basis.
Can you see how there is so much more to healing your IBS than just "learning to manage your stress"?
It's why I created my tried and tested 5-step gut healing framework.
As a highly experienced nutritional therapist, I can help you identify what's at the heart of your IBS and tailor a nutritional protocol over a period of three months so you can go from feeling at your wits end to finding the freedom to love life again.
You deserve to have seamless, stress-free digestion.
Want a tailored nutrition plan to help you take back control of your IBS and digestive issues?
Check out my 90-day gut health plan here.
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