IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is a collection of symptoms all of which are related to the digestive system. Digestion begins at the mouth and ends at the anus, IBS happens in-between.
What cause IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome can occur for lots of different reasons. A stressful job, not enough sleep, haphazard eating, travel, lack of exercise can all lead to IBS. Trauma as an adult or child can initiate the onset of IBS, as we hold so many of our stories in our bodies. Medical reasons such as an intolerance to foods, lots of antibiotics as children or general surgery can also cause IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome can also be caused by an oversensitive gut, or a side effect of treatment for a medical condition. Symptoms can relate to types of foods you might eat e.g. fibre, pulses, or particular fruits. Careful and considered management is required, and it’s always helpful to have ruled out other conditions by having a GP appointment and blood test before you see a dietitian.
Symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhoea and constipation can be mild to severe and change month to month. Whether it’s a once in a blue moon scenario or indeed a daily experience IBS is not fun. The symptoms can make you feel tired and depressed especially if you think you can’t manage them. Around 1 in 7 people experience IBS. It is unfortunate that many of us feel uncomfortable talking about our digestive health, even with our health professionals.
Dietitians: we talk about bowels and bloating, stomach ache and stools and everything in between all the time. Try not to worry about explaining your symptoms to me, it’s my job to listen, and navigate the way forward. The better able you are to describe what’s going on for you, the more likely we are to be able to understand what’s happening.
As a dietitian I have access to all the latest research in evidence-based strategies and management. My training is with Monash University, world leaders in research around management of IBS. Whether we think the issue is with lifestyle, the microbiome, your intake of high FODMAP containing foods, or perhaps fibre, my job is to apply that knowledge and understanding and guide you towards best symptom alleviation.
My own IBS story: I had my gall-bladder removed when I was 21 and ever since have experienced problems with wind, bloating and abdominal pain, when I eat particular foods. I have now learned my trigger foods, trigger situations, and what helps. There are healthy foods I only eat in in super small amounts e.g. stone fruits like plums and apricots. There are unhealthy foods which do not suit me though I might like them e.g. deep fried chips. Knowledge is power – if I do experience pain I know it will go away with time.
If you would like me to help you manage your symptoms of IBS or other digestive issues please get in touch.