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Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

24 percent of people with IBS missed work in the last week and 87 percent experienced reduced work productivity according to this study. (1)

Are you part of that percentage of people that either missed work or experienced reduced work productivity? Despite doctors telling you that your symptoms are just in your head or that all your tests say there is really nothing wrong with you, we understand how you feel and we know the struggle is real.

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects your intestines and can cause pain in your stomach, create gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

The cause of IBS is poorly understood but is thought to include the gut microbiome (all the microbes that live inside our intestines), inflammation, the gut lining, the amount of time it takes food to go from your mouth through your body and out of the body, as well as the signals that go between the gut and brain.

Other factors that play a role include muscle contractions in the intestine that if stronger and last longer than normal can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. (2) IBS often involves irregular intestinal contractions. Sometimes the contractions can be really strong and last longer than normal, resulting in gas, bloating, and diarrhea. (2) Sometimes the contractions can be weak, which can slow food passage and result in constipation.

If you have abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system it may cause you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can cause your body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhea or constipation. Some people with IBS have an increased number of immune-system cells in their intestines causing inflammation.

IBS can be associated with changes in gut bacteria which can result in a surplus of bacteria in the intestines. Due to these changes in gut bacteria people with IBS may have increased intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut, impaired digestive functions, inflammation, autoimmune, and decreased absorption of bile salts. (3)


There are no tests to definitively diagnose IBS. Based on your signs and symptoms, your healthcare provider will use a set of criteria to decide if you have IBS. If you do, they will also determine the type of IBS you may have. A formal IBS diagnosis is usually given after more serious conditions like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease have been ruled out.

Types of IBS

IBS-C (constipation), IBS-D (diarrhea), IBS-M (Mix of constipation and diarrhea).


Symptoms of IBS often include (2):

  • Abdominal pain

  • Cramping or bloating that is partially relieved by passing a bowel movement

  • Excessive gas, diarrhea or constipation- or both

  • Mucus in the stool

  • Nausea,

  • Early satiety, and

  • Psychiatric disorders (depression and anxiety)

Causations and Triggers

Both childhood trauma of various causes and recurrent stress conditions in adulthood share significant associations with IBS.(4) When you experience daily, chronic stress you may have a continuation of IBS symptoms. Not only can stress affect IBS but this study notes that certain foods can be triggers for IBS symptoms.(3) These symptoms can lead to poor quality of life.


FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are a group of sugars that are not completely digested or absorbed in our intestines. When FODMAPs reach the small intestine, they move slowly, attracting water. When they pass into the large intestine, FODMAPs are fermented by gut bacteria, producing gas as a result. The extra gas and water causes the intestinal wall to stretch and expand. Because people with IBS have a highly sensitive gut, ‘stretching’ the intestinal wall causes exaggerated sensations of pain and discomfort. Avoiding foods that are fermentable oligosaccharides (wheat, rye, onions, garlic, & legumes), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and Polyols (sorbitol and mannitol -some fruit and veggies and artificial sweeteners) will help reduce your symptoms. A low FODMAP diet is not meant to be a long term solution, this can create nutritional deficiencies as well as possible eating disorders. Each person has individualized needs so what works for some people might not work for others. What needs to be focused on is the root cause of IBS and try to resolve the issue rather than just addressing the symptoms.

These natural Interventions can help relieve symptoms while you are working with a nutritionist to find the root cause of your IBS.

  • Digestive bitters to ease gas and bloating

  • Probiotics to help with diarrhea

  • Multivitamin to help with any nutritional deficiencies

  • Reduce or manage stress with deep breathing exercises

  • Exercise to help with intestinal discomfort

You are struggling with your gut health and possibly your mental health. You have been to many doctors without any answers or relief. You are so tired of not feeling healthy and vibrant. I HEAR YOU and I want to help. I have several tools in my tool box that include diet, lifestyle, and supplements that are specific to your personal needs to address the root cause of your IBS. I don’t just teach you what to eat for optimal health but we teach you how to eat as well. I introduce stress reducing and mindset techniques that will work for you and your lifestyle. You can think of me as your guide and I will support you every step of the way through your health journey.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, feel frustrated and unseen by multiple health care professionals and have not received any relief, I offer a complimentary 20 minute call to see if our services are a right fit for you. Book your Complimentary Call here.


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