What causes IBS and how do you heal it?

IBS is a very unpleasant condition that affects the functioning of the bowel. The symptoms are very embarrassing, causing flatulence, cramping, abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, gas and either diarrhoea or constipation. Sometimes it can trigger constipation or diarrhoea at any given time. The very fortunate few have only minor symptoms, where as a lot of us (me included!) have significant ones that effect our daily life (including our ability to perform out best at the gym!).

The only comforting thing is that IBS symptoms are not always persistent, and there is some relief on good days, or part thereof. Women unfortunately tend to experience IBS more often, and are usually inflamed during menstruation, or have heightened symptoms.

What causes IBS?

The good news is that there are certain treatments that treat IBS, but the cause of it is unknown. One clinical review states that the development of IBS includes alterations of our gut microbiome, gut immune function, brain gut interactions and psycho-social status. (1) This concludes that IBS is caused not only by changes in our gut bacteria, but also in our psychological state and our immune functions. Perhaps IBS can be brought on by a specific bacterial infection. There could be so many causes, that it’s very difficult to pinpoint one specific point in time when they began.

Physically, IBS sufferers may experience the following intestinal symptoms:

  1. The mobility of bowl movements, either too explosive or prolonged
  2. Varying movements in the colon can cause painful cramping. This can either be very abrupt, such as the explosiveness of diarrhoea.
  3. The onset of Celiac disease that slowly damage the intestine, causing these IBS symptoms

What can heal IBS

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for this, and the only relief for a better quality of life, is through diet, exercise and mindfulness when it comes to stress levels.

All IBS sufferers react in different ways to particular foods. Trial and error is key here, and elimination diets with patience and time, can provide a more accurate representation of trigger foods.

Controlling stress levels is essential, as bouts of depression, anxiety and over stress can cause havoc on IBS symptoms, pervasively worsening them.

I have found peppermint tea, ginger and fibre to help with my symptoms, especially when bowl sensations are heightened. Fibre helps to eliminate the symptoms somewhat, by inducing bowl movements, making it a lot more easier for waste and elimination. Peppermint and almond oil massaged onto the belly is extremely helpful for painful spasms and gas accumulation.

Walking also helps to induce bowl movements and eliminate gas and spasms. I don’t recommend medications because they will cause other unpleasant symptoms within themselves.

IBS is a daily battle, and sometimes rest, rejuvenation and relaxation is the only thing that’s needed. Allowing your digestion to rest via intermittent fasting is very beneficial. This has elevated my symptoms a lot, and has helped me heal my gut. It’s a long process, but a very rewarding one.

I do hope these tips help you along your journey ahead.

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