IBS, short for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is characterized by a cluster of symptoms: gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, mucus in your stool — and often, pain and cramping.

It may be caused by extreme stress, mental health issues (anxiety, depression, or panic disorders), or by certain foods. It can also be attributed to changes in hormone or bacteria levels, an infection in the gut, or other problems. IBS is generally used as a diagnosis by doctors who have ruled out other serious causes of the symptoms.

Because there is no widely recognized diagnosis for IBS in the medical community, standard treatment is based primarily on symptom suppression and medication. According to renowned functional medicine doctor, Chris Kresser: “This may include antidiarrheal medications, anticholinergic or antispasmodic medications, laxatives, SSRIs, or 5-HT3 antagonists. These drugs primarily target intestinal motility and pain relief as a way to address a patient’s most problematic symptoms.”

There are several issues with this approach of which the most glaring is that the treatments are most often ineffective. Many people seek alternative treatments due to dissatisfaction.

While your practitioner may say there is really nothing you can do to help aside from the medications they prescribe, I beg to differ. There are many factors, so a multi-pronged approach to reducing symptoms may be wise.

Here are just a few suggestions based on what helped me:

To beat heartburn, try apple cider vinegar.

It is like my liquid gold. You can sip it with a little water, and drizzle over salads and roasted veggies. It helps boost good bacteria and aid digestion. This is my go to apple cider vinegar:

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To heal your gut, try gelatin.

I take a vital protein collagen supplement. Collagen is full of non-essential amino acids (such as glycine and proline) that make up proteins found in our hair, skin, nails, organs, and tissues. It can also help heal the gut by restoring a healthy mucosal lining along the digestive tract. This leads to improved absorption of nutrients and reduction of inflammation. Under normal circumstances, our body produces these non-essential amino acids, but when you are sick or under stress, your body may not produce enough. In addition, collagen production declines as we age.


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To reduce stress, try meditation.

Imagine this as exercise for the brain. Just like exercise such as running, biking, and yoga are good for the heart and weight management, we need to exercise our brains!

Resting the mind in silence for just a few minutes a day allows it time to recover, rejuvenate, and manage stress more effectively. Stress impacts digestion via the vagus nerve, aka the gut-brain connection. Within the lining of your gastrointestinal tract lives a network of tissue that communicates with your enteric nervous system (ENS) via hormonal and chemical messengers. Your brain triggers the ENS to produce enzymes and saliva to aid in digestion.

According to Dr. Axe, “Being anxious or sad can cause changes in this line of communication and your brain to divert attention away from proper digestion in an effort to conserve energy and use it elsewhere. High amounts of stress increase cortisol levels, which can alter blood sugar levels and change the way that other hormones are secreted, sometimes causing you to become overly hungry, constipated, and to store fluids.”



To heal bloating, try probiotics to heal gut microflora.

According to NCBI, “The term gut microflora (also called gut microbiome) refers to bacteria (and their byproducts) that inhabit the intestinal tract and their effects on both GI tract function and the body as a whole. Approximately 500 different species of bacteria reside within the colon, and nearly all of these species are anaerobes.” Colonic microflora varies from individual to individual, and reflects multiple factors – including diet, antibiotic use, and method of feeding as an infant. Even minor disturbances in gut microflora can lead to significant changes in gut function, including gas production.

Adding probiotics through nutritional supplements and probiotic rich foods – such as miso, kimchi, and kefir, and herbs such as dandelion, ginger, aloe vera, fennel, and oregano – can help maintain healthy gut flora. Adding homemade bone broth can also be helpful in reducing bloating.

To heal your leaky gut, try a low fodmap diet.

Fodmap stands for “Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols.” Research shows that people with IBS cannot digest these foods in their small intestine. They will increase the amount of fluid in the bowel, and thus create more gas – which leads to bloating. You should consider avoiding:
Lactose: cow’s milk, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese

Fructose: fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, mangoes, pears, and watermelon; sweeteners such as honey and agave; products with high fructose corn syrup

Fructans: vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, garlic, and onions; grains such as wheat and rye; added fiber such as inulin found in asparagus, leeks, onions, bananas, plantains, sprouted wheat, and garlic

GOS: chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and soy products

Polyols: fruits such as apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums, and watermelon; vegetables such as cauliflower, mushrooms, and snow peas; sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol (found in sugar free gums and mints), and cough medicines.





What has worked for you? If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS or have been struggling with similar symptoms, please contact me so we can discuss steps you can take to get on the path to wellness!

Sending you love and light!



Published On: November 4, 2017|By |
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