Health & Wellbeing

Gut Health and IBS

Gut health is becoming increasingly popular within the health industry (and for good reason), but there have been some big claims to cut out certain foods to help manage symptoms. There are many factors which can impact your gut health such as food intolerances, digestive diseases and disorders, therefore, it is best to seek the advice of a GP or qualified Dietitian to help determine the causes of your symptoms. Here is a handy guide to IBS and how to manage these symptoms.

IBS – What is it?

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a commonly experienced digestive system disorder that can be caused by many factors. This is a ‘functional condition’, which means that it is not caused by any physical change in the bowel but relates to how bowel may function.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Changes in bowel habits

So what causes IBS?

The underlying cause of IBS is still unclear as it is not triggered by one single factor. In fact, there are many reasons why an individual may experience such symptoms. These include:

  • Stress/anxiety: High levels of stress and stress-related disorders are a significant contributor to IBS symptoms. Management of stress levels through strategies that benefit you, can improve the severity of these symptoms
  • Illness/Medications: Certain medications or antibiotics can alter our gut bacteria and when these are out of balance, IBS symptoms may worsen
  • Diet/FODMAP foods: Diet or foods that are higher in FODMAPS may worsen digestive symptoms

So, how can you manage IBS?

There are a few lifestyle factors that may help manage IBS symptoms:

  1. Identify what may worsen your symptoms: By being aware of what makes your IBS worse, you can better manage your symptoms
  2. Sleep and stress: Reducing stress through low impact exercise such as stretching and walking or taking time out for yourself can be a way to relax the mind and body. Making sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night allows time for our bodies to get enough rest and can help in managing daily stress levels
  3. Probiotics: Some probiotics have been found to help symptoms of IBS and improve our gut bugs!
  4. Exercise: Physical activity may help reduce stress levels and may help reduce gassy symptoms
  5. Increase water intake: Ensuring you drink enough water throughout the day can help your daily bowel movements
  6. See an Accredited Dietitian to help determine what foods may be causing your symptoms

Look out for our next article on FODMAPS and how a Dietitian would manage this diet.