If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you are not alone – IBS is common with prevalence estimated at 10% –15%. Yet many people remain undiagnosed and unaware that their symptoms indicate a medically recognised disorder.
Since 1997, April has been recognised as IBS Awareness Month. During this time, both conventional and complementary health practitioners, as well as the many IBS support groups and organisations work to focus attention on important health messages about IBS diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life issues.
A further aim of this awareness month is to reduce the stigma associated with IBS by encouraging people to talk more about this condition.
While IBS is by no means a life-threatening illness, it can certainly be life-limiting in the negative impact it has on a person’s quality of life. Feeling fat and frumpy, and plagued by anxiety over the symptoms of this painful and debilitating condition, it comes as no surprise that people with IBS often experience psychological distress and feelings of depression.
I believe that there are still millions who haven’t seen a GP, due to embarrassment or fear, and are trying to manage the symptoms themselves.
So what has caused such an explosion in IBS in the past couple of decades?
We don’t need to look very far. There’s a clear correlation between the increase in IBS and the prevalence of processed foods in the diet, not to mention increasingly stressful lifestyles and the over-prescribing of antibiotics that kill off billions of our ‘friendly’ gut bacteria, not to mention antibiotics and other drug residues in our drinking water that have a detrimental impact on the digestive system.
The number one cause of IBS is a gut infection, such as campylobacter bacteria, found in foods such as under-cooked chicken, that trigger symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain and chronic diarrhoea. However, before any vegan says, ‘Just don’t eat meat’, you’re not safe either. Lettuce is the single biggest cause of food poisoning cases annually.
Diarrhoea ‘washes out’ a lot of ‘friendly’ gut bacteria, decimating the population of the microbiome, causing excessive gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and irregular bowels. The bacteria that caused the food poisoning can also stay in the gut after the infection has subsided, causing periodic flare-ups. So, if you’ve had a gut infection or a course of antibiotics, if you are eating too much processed food, or experiencing a considerable amount of stress, it is crucial to first carry out a 5-day Charcoal cleanse, following the instructions in my blog post here.
This natural ‘deep-clean’ of the stomach and gut will help absorb any pathogens, including the bug responsible for any food poisoning.
You then need to re-populate your gut with ‘friendly’ bacteria. This can be done by taking a multi-strain probiotic capsule like my Live Bacteria capsules twice daily before meals.
Linda’s IBS symptoms started to improve very soon after she started to take these targeted supplements:
“I’ve recently started to take the Live Bacteria capsules after having quite a few months of IBS. I’m also gluten intolerant but very strict with my diet. I’ve found the bowel pain and discomfort has settled very quickly. I’m really impressed. So much so that I’ve just reordered and set up a subscription for them. I’ve also recommended them to a friend.”
I always tell people that a diagnosis of IBS is not a life sentence; lifestyle changes, simple dietary modifications and targeted supplementation can make a big improvement to how you feel, and if any medic tells you that there is ‘no cure’ for IBS, get a second opinion, preferably from someone who has a good reputation of helping people solve their IBS issues.
You can read more about the causes, symptoms, and management of IBS, and how it can be treated naturally here.
If you have any questions about gut and digestive health, or any of our products, please get in touch and we will be happy to help.