One of the main things I treat in my clinic is the gut. Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of people come in with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so I thought it was high time I set the record straight about you and that irritable little gut of yours!
Why is your gut so irritated? AKA What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
In my opinion IBS is a shrug the shoulders “I don’t know” condition. This means you’ve had every test under the sun and nothing shows up. You’re not a coeliac, you don’t have crohn’s disease, there’s no diverticulitis, no cancer (thank goodness), nothing showing up in your bloods and nothing that can give you a medically diagnosed condition.
Hurray there’s nothing wrong with you! But something’s still up.
This is when people often receive the “I don’t know” shoulder shrug and “It’s IBS” diagnosis. Which is fine. If we have to put a name on it, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is just as good as any.
What happens next? Are you stuck with IBS for life?
The problem many people encounter once they are told they have IBS is that everything goes quiet. There are no more tests to be done and you’re sent on your merry way with this name for your condition but no solution.
It bothers me that people believe that having IBS is just something they have to live with. “Oh I have IBS which means I get constipated for four days and then have explosive diarrhoea for one day and then I’m normal for a week or two and then I get constipated again.”
Really? You live your life like this and you think it’s normal and OK?
Enter the Naturopath!
Luckily, there are a lot of people who are not willing to settle for a life full of stomach cramps, bloating, running to the toilet and generally feeling crap (pun intended)!
This is when people end up in my clinic saying that I’m their last option and they have heard that a Naturopath had helped a friend of a friend of a friend who had a similar problem. Yep, this is what we do.
How can I help you?
I was explaining what I do to someone the other day and I told them that I think of myself as a “Health Detective”. Pretty corny I know but I actually had to give myself a pat on the back for finally finding the words to explain what I do!
IBS is a condition where the detective work really comes in to play. No two cases are ever the same and it takes a lot of questioning and investigating to get to the bottom of what is causing the problem.
Just as the symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person, so too can the cause. This can range from stress, anxiety and nervousness, to food intolerance’s or an imbalanced diet or it could be that your digestive system isn’t keeping up with its job description and it needs a bit of retraining to remember how to digest and process your food. My job is to work with you to discover what the cause is and then help you to get your body back into balance so that IBS is a distant memory.
What do IBS treatments involve?
Obviously each person will have a different treatment plan based on what is causing their issue. Some of my patients just need to make a small change to their diet and *BOOM* irritable bowel syndrome is a thing of the past. Others need to take herbs to improve their digestive function and others need to start stress management practices like yoga and meditation while I give them herbs to nourish their overactive nervous system.
The key message here is that there is a reason that you have an irritable gut and there is ALWAYS something we can do to calm it down and help it be a bit more friendly and cooperative.
So you have a choice. Live with IBS and deal with the unpleasant symptoms, or join the growing number of enlightened beings and see a Naturopath who can help you on your path to freedom.