April is IBS Awareness Month!
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, affects between 10-20% of the UK adult population each year. Given the strong mind-body element in IBS, coupled with women generally being more conscientious and occupying more of the care-giving roles in society, (child rearing, taking care of elderly parents, teaching, and frontline healthcare positions) it’s unsurprising women are twice as likely to suffer from IBS as men.
If you’re one of these people, I feel your pain, literally! Although I was never diagnosed with IBS, looking back it’s something I suffered with on and off for years before going on my own health journey and learning my root cause and how to deal with it.
In most circumstances getting a diagnosis can be a relief, giving both the patient and the health professional a clear direction of travel. However as many of you will know, a diagnosis of IBS doesn’t give the same clarity; “IBS” is a catch-all term describing a collection of symptoms, which can have varied causes, including food poisoning, antibiotic use, poor diet and lifestyle, and stress. The most common symptoms are:
- bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation, (or a mix of the two) abdominal pain and reflux.
Other symptoms that don’t directly display in the gut but are linked to IBS can include:
- Brain fog, aching joints, and skin conditions, such as acne.
Symptoms can be seen as our body telling us something’s not right and it requires our attention. If your symptoms fall on the more serious end of the scale you’ll know how debilitating they can be and how much of a negative effect these can have on your life; scared about what you can eat, always having to know where the nearest toilet is, embarrassed about your flatulence, or the ‘weight’ and discomfort in your abdomen that comes with days without a bowel movement.
This may have become your “normal”, but the good news is it doesn’t have to be.
There are several factors that affect this condition; in diet and lifestyle we have powerful levers that when used correctly, allow us to move the needle and improve your condition, helping you get back to being the best, most vibrant, energetic self.
There are basic steps you can take to improve your gut health (see my top 5 tips here) and if you need more individualised support through your IBS journey, or you’ve relapsed after initial progress, personalised nutrition and lifestyle that fits with your family situation is closer and more accessible than you think. Women are so often the centre of the home and if IBS sufferers put themselves first and seek support, everyone benefits.
A detailed personal history, symptom and dietary analysis, along with functional testing can provide a lot of valuable information to take the guesswork out of your situation. I want to empower you to take control of your health again and understand the ‘why’ behind the condition. Targeting the root cause rather than simply papering over the cracks is the most effective approach to achieving long term results.
If it’s time you addressed your IBS to give yourself the freedom to fully enjoy your life, I’d be pleased to speak to you and discuss how I can help. Simply click the here to arrange your free 30-minute call.