2016 marks eight years since I first started complaining that I wasn’t feeling ‘well’. All of a sudden, I was getting some straaaaange symptoms that I’d never experienced before.
So, what did I do? What every normal person does, of course! I went to my good ol’ doc, and explained what was going on. His reply (and I am somewhat paraphrasing), was “Oh honey, you’re just stressed…And that upset stomach of yours? That’s just IBS.”
For those of you who don’t know, IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a catch all for unexplained digestive concerns that typically fluctuate between constipation and diarrhea or loose stools and may include very sharp stomach pains.
According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, 5M Canadians suffer from IBS and 120,000 will be diagnosed this year alone with it.
Back in 2008, when I was told I had IBS, I really didn’t know enough to realize it is not something you have to live with.
There is a reason you’re experiencing IBS, so today I’m going to post about 3 questions you can ask yourself before accepting that you have a ‘sensitive stomach’ for the rest of your life.
One of the first steps in dealing with IBS is to understand if there are certain foods you’re eating that are causing these symptoms. While gluten and dairy are the main culprits, other foods like eggs, yeast, and even sugars are also relatively common.
One of my clients, Marissa, had recently done a food sensitivity test before coming to see me. She had literally 25 foods on the list that had come back as sensitivities (including coconut, dairy, gluten, eggplant and a whole host of foods). Needless to say it was impossible to eat that way. Instead, we were able to figure out that it’s actually only gluten bothering her so much and causing her to react to all these other foods. Now, she can eat almost anything, except gluten and she isn’t running to the bathroom anymore! WIN!
Perhaps you’ve already cut out the main ‘culprits’ like gluten and dairy, but your stomach is still all over the place. Well, it could be that your stomach is low in stomach acid, so you’re not producing enough of the right digestive ‘juices’ to properly digest your food, leading to bloating, gas and upset stomachs. Something I always use with my clients who have IBS is St Francis Digestive Bitters which you can grab here. It’s a very low impact way of increasing your stomach acid and helping keep your tummy regular.
Last, but certainly not least, is good ol’ stress. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg story – which came first, the stress which caused the digestive upsets, or the digestive problems which are leading to anxiety and stress because you have a leaky gut. There are arguments both ways, but what’s important is to manage the stress and repair your gut at the same time.
One simple technique to reduce stress is to be mindful of where you are breathing from. Most of us spend most of your day taking shallow breathes, and not using our belly to breathe. Just consciously making an effort to take deep breathes can lower your stress hormone cortisol, helping relieve one of the common reasons for IBS.