What You Need to Know About IBS

  • by Michelle B.
  • 20 October 2017

What You Need to Know About IBS

Nobody has time for a sensitive gut—especially a chronic condition that leaves you more than a little gassy. But, unfortunately, many are faced with severe “tummy troubles” on a daily basis. In fact, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, between 25 and 45 million people in the U.S. suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a large intestine disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Although symptoms vary from person to person, IBS is most recognized when someone has lingering abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements including diarrhea and constipation. Some may notice other uncomfortable IBS symptoms such as nausea, bloating, heartburn, increased gas, and a decreased appetite.

What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Unfortunately, the exact cause of IBS simply isn’t known—which can be frustrating for both those experiencing it and physicians trying to treat it. But, there are some triggers that could be contributing to your symptoms including:

  • Stomach Bugs and Viruses

    Many can notice an IBS flare-up right after being sick, which makes sense because that’s when you are most likely to have less “good” bacteria in your gut, which help to keep your gut healthy and immune system strong.

  • Medications

    Certain medications can irritate your gut. Some may include: antidepressants, antibiotics, aspirin, steroids, laxatives, birth control pills, and acid blocking medicines.

  • Chemicals Sprayed on Fruits and Vegetables

    Glyphosate, a common herbicide, has been shown to prevent the “good” bacteria in the gut from flourishing, making room for non-beneficial bacteria to grow.

  • Difficulty Digesting and Metabolizing Carbs

    If your body has difficulty metabolizing carbohydrates, that could wreak havoc on your gut. Some may even experience “leaky gut” where the “bad” stuff in your gut can pass into your bloodstream

All of these IBS causes can lead to an overgrowth of unbeneficial (or “bad”) bacteria in your gut—which is why finding natural solutions to promote “good” gut bacteria are so crucial.

Natural Solutions to Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  1. Try an IBS Elimination Diet

    Remember everyone is different, so it may take some patience to see what might be triggering your IBS symptoms. Start by eliminating key triggers from your diet such as gluten, dairy, fructose sugar, and fatty foods. Slowly add the foods back into your diet and see if you notice your symptoms change or increase. You can also consider reducing foods that give you gas such as carbonated and alcoholic drinks, caffeine, raw fruit, and certain veggies like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.

  2. Adopt Healthy Eating Habits

    Making the switch to non-GMO, organic whole foods can do wonders for your gut. Try adding other gut-friendly favorites to your routine such as bone broth, fermented foods, and fiber. Other quick tips include reducing your caffeine intake and using peppermint to soothe your stomach during a flare up

  3. Reduce Stress

    This is a hard one—we know. But, since your brain is connected to your gut, your anxiety, daily emotional rollercoaster ride, and stress can affect your gut health. That’s why finding de-stressors that work best for you (like yoga) is important to help keep your IBS in check.

  4. Probiotics

    With trillions of bacteria in our bodies, it’s key to help the “good” bacteria thrive to stay healthy. Probiotics—live beneficial bacteria—can help balance out the “bad” bacteria in your gut, helping with some of the unpleasant symptoms of IBS including irregular bowel movements, bloating, and gas.

Not sure if you have IBS? Schedule a visit with your doctor. Only a medical professional can diagnose IBS and rule out more serious conditions.

About the Author

About the Author

Passionate writer and dog lover, Michelle continues to do crazy amounts of research and ask tons of questions to understand this health and wellness “thing.” She’s here to help break it down for you because health is a journey—and it’s better to do it with others.

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