Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder, with a problem in the motility (movement of food) through the intestines; which is either too fast or too slow or fluctuating between the two.
This may cause diarrhea or constipation or a combination of the two.
With more than 5 million Canadians suffering from IBS and as many as 120,000 Canadians developing IBS each year; it’s no surprise that Canada has one of the highest rates of IBS in the world!
I too was a victim of this condition for many years, causing me much stress, distress and affecting my life.
It was frustrating, debilitating and honestly quite embarrassing.
To top it all my doctor kept saying it was all in my head!
I knew it was not.
Yes, stress aggravated the condition, but was it the only reason I was suffering from IBS?
And how did suffering from IBS lead to a career change for me?
After years of “feeling stuck in a toilet”, frustration and ‘Imodium’ popping, I decided to take things in my hands and started researching.
Eventually I figured out that I was sensitive to milk, spinach and couple other foods that was causing the symptoms.
It was bizarre that through all my years of suffering no doctor associated my IBS with food intolerance!!
The connection between food sensitivity, IBS and inflammation in body is what prompted me to study nutrition, so I could feel better!
By the time I finished my course I knew too much to go back to my corporate job and decided to practice nutritional consulting full time.
Never in a million years had I imagined that I would be a nutritionist on day!
I wanted to help people get rid of their symptoms and feel better, and what a rewarding career it is!
As for my own recovery, it took time, patience and a lot of trial and error.
Cutting out foods I was sensitive to brought me immediate relief.
Here are some facts on IBS: according to the Canadian Digestive Health foundation
• A patient with IBS misses an average of 13 work days a year. At $72.60, this indirect cost represents $8 billion of lost productivity each year.
• About 40% of IBS sufferers seek medical attention. Those with milder symptoms typically end up self-treating through life style changes, food avoidance, and non-prescription remedies.
• Patients with IBS represent the majority of referrals to gastroenterologists.
• IBS affects more women than men.
The statistics are eye opening.
There may be several causes of IBS:
1. Genetic factors
2. Stress, anxiety and some other psychological factors.
3. Weak gut muscles causing inefficient peristalsis (movement of stools through the intestines).
4. Food intolerances / sensitivity to a variety of foods. The common culprits here being wheat/ gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy etc.
5. Imbalance of the gut bacteria, also called dysbiosis.
6. SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)-
Generally the gut bacterium resides in the large intestines. That is its ‘normal’ home. However, incase of SIBO as the name suggests, the overgrowth of bacteria occurs in the small intestines.
Based on my personal struggle with digestive issues and IBS, and working with many clients having weak digestion inspired me to design my Signature Digestive Intensive program.
In this program I work with my clients step by step to assess the ‘root cause’ of their digestive issues.
Once the main reason is determined, half the battle is won.
We can then slowly make adjustments just to the foods to eat and avoid, how often to eat them and in what quantities.
Often food combining has to be followed, which basically means that you may have to eat certain foods alone, or combine foods in a specific way so that it eases the process of digestion.
In the Signature Digestive Intensive program I also address topics like:
– gut dysbiosis (imbalance of gut bacteria),
– probiotics and prebiotics,
– affects of stress on the digestion and IBS,
– suitable cooking methods and much more.
There may still be occasional flare ups of IBS sometimes, but from my own experience and those with my clients, I can tell you this: as you strengthen your gut you will feel like a new person.
You will start feeling normal again!
Now I can enjoy spinach regularly!
I am able to even consume dairy in moderate amounts without any side effects like terrible cramps, bloating and diarrhea.
So if you suffer from IBS, pay close attention to the triggers, keep a food journal. Note how you react to different foods and stress. Ask questions to your health care providers.
Be curious and investigate. Be your own Sherlock Holmes! 😉
And remember you can always schedule a complimentary discovery session with me should you decide to dive deeper!
I wish I had started earlier on the quest. But it’s never too late…..
(Stats source: http://www.cdhf.ca/en/statistics)