Irritable Bowl – what is it and what’s the cure?
Do you suffer from heartburn, stomach burning, bloating, gas, nausea, and general gastrointestinal problems? Do these feelings arise when you’re upset, anxious, happy and/or unexpectedly? Have you tested, and the results were clear but still feel that there’s something wrong? If this is the case, then you have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) also known as a sensitive digestive system. Unfortunately, there’s no specific medical test to spot the problem and an allergy test, won’t give you the answers However, there are ways to cope with the issue.
Everyone seems to have some sort of bowel issue or stomach issue these days and no one seems to know the cure for it. Doctors will tell you it’s stress related without giving you a proper treatment plan and people around you might tell you its all in your head leaving you frustrated and confused. For some, these symptoms are mild but for other’s it can be life altering.
Firstly, it’s not all in your head. IBS can vary from person to person and is precisely the reason that there is no one size fits all treatment method. To simplify it, we have the stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. The stomach is where the food travels down from the esophagus – also known as the gullet. The stomach makes enzymes and hydrochloric acid which is an important part to start the initial digestion process. The acid in the stomach kills the germs in anything that we swallow before it moves to the small intestines. Following the initial breakdown of foods in the stomach, the contents move straight to the small intestines where food is broken down into its basic constituents’ fats turn into fatty acids, carbohydrates turn into monosaccharides and protein into amino acids. Lastly contents that have not been absorbed by the small intestines – mainly fiber- travels to the colon or large intestines where water is extracted leading to solid material, ready to exit.
People who have IBS, the situation becomes a bit more complex. A miscommunication between the brain and the gut appears which disrupts the movement of food throughout the system causing all sorts of discomforts (nausea, gas, bloating to name a few).
It depends on what your body can digest. There are plenty of diets and recommendations to help but you know your body better than anyone else and you know what works for you.
Here are some helpful tips when trying to understand your IBS. It’s a simple task but time consuming. Patience is your friend in this process because it’s all about trial and error.
1. Have a food diary on hand and write down the foods you eat daily and how you feel after. Symptoms usually happen immediately.
2. Keep track of what you’re eating and create two sections: ‘safe’ foods and ‘unsafe’ foods. Enjoy the foods that don’t cause issues and try to limit the foods that do.
3. There are usual suspects when it comes to trying things out, foods that are highly processed and high in saturated fat and sugar usually cause discomfort in most people. However, there are healthy foods that have the tendency to irritate IBS which is so confusing for the sufferer who wants to try and eat as healthily as possible, at the same time minimize their symptoms.
4. Set aside the diet mentality and get comfortable eating foods you might not typically eat.
5. Try a range of meals & snacks provided they have wholesome ingredients and a healthy balance of carbs, fats and protein.
6. You want to reach a stage where symptoms are predictable rather than unpredictable which is what people with IBS find the most frustrating. Once you take control of what you’re able to eat and find yourself wanting to let go and enjoy your fav
orite foods, you will be well equipped for any symptoms or triggers or stomach attacks that happen.