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What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome and do you have it?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the collective term for a group of symptoms relating to the large intestine. As a syndrome, IBS is all too common—but it’s not normal.
Unfortunately, an estimated 1 in 5 New Zealanders and Australians are affected by IBS. For most, it is accepted as something that they just have to live with so they merely manage these symptoms, mostly with a long-term, restrictive FODMAP diet.
Over the last 15+ years at the BePure Clinic, we’ve helped hundreds of people free their lives from the limitations of IBS by looking into, and tackling the root cause of their symptoms.
Common Symptoms of IBS
The degree to which IBS can affect people varies. In some cases it may be very debilitating, like irregular bowel motions, or stomach pains, to the less serious but very annoying influence it has on all manner of daily decisions like what kind of clothes someone chooses—or is able—to wear.
- Abdominal pain or cramping, sometimes relieved by passing wind or a bowel movement
- Constipation, diarrhoea, or alternating between the two
- A sensation of “incomplete evacuation”—a feeling that the bowels are not fully emptied after passing a motion
- Mucus present in the stools
- Undigested food in the stools
The 4 Different Types of IBS
There are 4 main types of IBS, based on bowel movements:
- IBS-Constipated (IBS-C) This person experiences alternating between constipation and normal stools.
- IBS-Diarrhoea (IBS-D) This person experiences diarrhoea in the morning or after eating and the need to go to the toilet urgently.
- IBS-Mixed (IBS-M) This person experiences alternating diarrhoea and constipation with or without urgency.
- IBS-Unspecified (IBS-U) This person experiences one or many of the following symptoms: gas, bloating, abdominal pain/cramping, sensation of incomplete evacuation, urgency, mucus in stool with minimal episodes of diarrhoea and constipation
What Causes IBS?
Many people don’t gain insight into what’s driving their IBS symptoms. At the BePure Clinic, we are passionate about supporting our clients in discovering the root cause of their IBS symptoms. We believe you don’t have to live with this long term—it is something you can improve on or get rid of with the right advice.
Some of the main drivers for IBS are
Research suggests there’s a strong link between the gut and the brain. The gut has its own nervous system, which is often referred to as our second brain—it can be tricky to know what’s driving what. If we’re feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed—our body releases stress hormones (adrenaline, specifically) to signal to our body to prioritise survival. Since digestion isn’t needed for immediate survival, it’s adequate functioning isn’t a priority, resulting in poor production of digestive enzymes and digestive motility.
Many gut symptoms can be connected to food; the symptoms we have are messengers from our body. Consuming foods that don’t serve your specific body drives the immune system to behave in an unfavourable way. This results in high levels of inflammation which ultimately can have some serious health implications.
Long term, it is really important to identify food reactions and the type of food-based reaction an individual may be experiencing. This is because the root reason for each type of food reaction is very different from a biochemistry standpoint but can present itself in a number of similar symptoms. Each food reaction requires a different approach or solution to helping a client achieve dietary freedom. At the BePure Clinic we use gold-standard testing to find out the exact food sensitivities or allergies.
3. Bacterial Imbalance
Ideally, we should have a vast, diverse amount of beneficial bacteria in our gut. When things become out of balance, and non-beneficial (dysbiotic) bacteria or other pathogens are present, there are a raft of consequences for our health. Research suggests that a large percentage of those with IBS have bacterial imbalance. Since there are many different types of dysbiotic bacteria and pathogens someone can have at the BePure Clinic we use gold-standard testing to find out exactly what is present and provide personalised, targeted support.
Do you want to get on top of your IBS once and for all?
BePure’s leading Clinical Nutritionist, Ben Warren, is running a free web class in which he will cover all things IBS. Sign up to join and learn how to take back control of your gut health.