Naturopathic IBS Treatment

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Naturopathic Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating, reflux, cramps, abdominal pain, stool issues (i.e. constipation and diarrhoea) and food allergies/intolerances can severely affect your quality of life. This is because food plays such a huge role in our lives both physically and emotionally. There is nothing worse than sitting down to a meal in fear of how your body will react afterwards, especially if the symptoms could be inconvenient, painful or embarrassing.

Most of the underlying causes of IBS can be linked back to the composition of our gut microbiome. Within the gut there is both “bad” and “good” bacteria. The good keep the bad in check. When the bad overrun the good, they release inflammatory molecules that cause inflammation in the gut and therefore disrupt normal digestive processes (i.e. breakdown and absorption of food/nutrients). This leads to digestive symptoms because poorly digested and absorbed food gets excessively fermented in the gut and the by-product of fermentation is excessive gas. Excessive gas production leads to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure resulting in symptoms like gas, bloating, reflux, abdominal pain and cramps. Also, poor digestion and absorption of food due to imbalances in the gut microbiome is a driver behind food intolerances. 

Furthermore, the bacteria that inhabit our guts also play a large role in regulating our immune function as 80% of immune cells are located in our gut. An unhealthy microbiome will cause disruptions to the immune system, which can lead to food allergies, where the body ultimately mounts immune responses on harmless proteins that are located in our food. However, they are perceived as harmful by the body due to disruptions in the immune system. 

This inflammation in the gut from a disrupted microbiome not only causes digestive issues, but it can also cause symptoms in other body systems. This is because the inflammatory molecules produced from the bad bacteria get into the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other body systems like the skin, endocrine system (i.e. hormones), immune system and nervous system. This is why people with IBS also tend to have skin conditions, hormonal imbalances, poor immunity, mental health issues and other types of inflammatory conditions like autoimmune diseases. The health of our gut and our gut microbiome plays a vital role in the inflammatory status of our body and therefore our overall health.

IBS and a disrupted gut microbiome with the overgrowth of “bad” bacteria is often driven by certain diet and lifestyle habits, as well as other risk factors such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, the amount of antibiotic prescriptions a person has had in their life, long term use of the oral contraceptive pill, the use of reflux medication (e.g. Nexium) and previous gut infections (e.g. parasites and food poisoning / gastro). Also, if a person was born via c-section and/or not breast fed for long enough, can affect gut bacteria composition.

 

The standard pharmaceutical treatments for IBS often involve symptom suppression without addressing the underlying causes. They also carry uncomfortable side effects. This never leads to long term resolve of symptoms and can sometimes make matters worse. 

If you suffer from IBS and digestive issues that are affecting your quality of life and have any one or more of the symptoms below, book a consult today to see how Oak Health can help you.

  • Excessive gas
  • Bloating during the day and after meals
  • Diarrhea (i.e. loose stools once to multiple times per day)
  • Increased urgency to go to the toilet
  • Constipation (i.e. skipping days and/or stools that are hard to pass)
  • Acid reflux
  • Indigestion
  • Excessive burping
  • Food allergies and intolerances that affect you gut as well as other body systems like your skin (e.g. gluten, FODMAP, fructose, dairy, lactose)
  • Gut pain between meals and/or after eating
  • Nausea
  • Discomfort after meals

Call Oak Health today or book an appointment online today to find out how practical, sustainable and evidence-based diet and lifestyle interventions, as well as herbal and nutritional supplementation can be used to improve your gut flora composition and address the underlying causes of your IBS and gut issues, leading to long term results. We can’t change past risk factors for poor gut health, but we can change diet and lifestyle habits, which will significantly improve gut health.

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