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What to do when you have IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Most people with IBS have been through a lot. It can take years of doctor's visits and testing to finally be told, "You have IBS", and then even more disappointing is being told, "You just have to manage it."

A common diet that IBS sufferers use to manage symptoms is the low FODMAP diet. This diet significantly reduces the amount of fermentable carbohydrates in the gut that tend to cause issues. But it is NOT a long-term solution.

Eliminating trigger foods can work in the short term, but over time as you start eating more of other foods (since you aren’t eating foods with higher FODMAPs), your body can start reacting to the other foods as well. And now you must eliminate more foods to keep symptoms at bay.

Many people are eating a very limited number of foods and still have symptoms. If this is the case for you, the main issue is likely an imbalanced gut that needs work, not more food eliminations.

The only way to get yourself into remission is to optimize your digestive function, and that takes investigating and time. Only by knowing what your imbalances are will you have the information you need to create the strategy to address the problem.

Two people can have the same symptoms caused by different imbalances, so their resolution needs to be different. That's why something that worked for your friend or family member might be a waste of your time and money, and possibly cause you to feel worse.

Some of the key digestive markers that are important to know are:

  • Sufficiency of beneficial flora and amount of overgrowth flora
  • Presence of pathogens, parasites, yeast, or H Pylori
  • Enzyme sufficiency, fat processing, and liver detoxification
  • Gut immunoglobulins, inflammation, and permeability

It’s important to work with a practitioner who understands how to use this information to rebalance your gut and optimize your digestive function. For instance, if your gut has a lot of overgrowth bacteria, introducing probiotics and fibre before addressing the overgrowth may increase your symptoms.

Get started by reaching out to practitioners who you think may be able to help you. Interview them and choose the one who you feel understands your problem and who you resonate with personally and can lean on for support and encouragement.

IBS is a condition that is not likely to go away with one quick change, so you must have a good working relationship as you will be working together with your practitioner for an extended period.

Your mindset is also important. Being interested in learning about what is going on in your body and how different choices impact how you feel and believing that you can get better are all key ingredients to your healing.