Irritable bowel syndrome

If you need to know where the closet toilet is, ask someone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you suffer from this condition, you will understand exactly what I mean. People with it know where all the toilets are on their way to work, the way to the gym, or their local café. Irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS as it is known commonly) is a debilitating digestive disorder that affects as many as one in five Australians. People tend to suffer in silence, as the stigma attached to it is embarrassing.

The symptoms of IBS range from diarrhea many times a day, to constipation alternating with diarrhea. People suffering from IBS report extreme urgency when going to the toilet, cramping pains in the abdomen, bloating, even going up several clothing sizes within a day, and feelings of incomplete evacuation. Along with these symptoms, there are often related conditions such as fatigue, and anxiety.

The cause is unknown, but there are many triggers such as change in diet, stress, or an infection. Many of my patients report they had an episode of food poisoning and have never been the same since. Stress is a big factor in IBS. A stressful event can be the tipping point that can start off an episode of IBS. The condition itself can be very stressful which leads to a never-ending cycle of symptoms, causing more stress, which causes more symptoms.

If you think you are suffering from IBS, it is important to rule out other diagnoses such as colon cancer, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and food allergies/intolerances.

Once these have been excluded, then it will be worth a trip to your naturopath for some help. I have helped many people with IBS with great success. It is a treatment area of special interest to me. Often a couple of minor changes to your diet, addressing any stress in your life, and a few herbs and nutrients is all it takes to begin healing.


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