Holistic Nutrition Practitioner

What is IBS and how can I overcome it?

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the intestines. It includes changes to bowel patterns like constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping.

IBS is a collection of symptoms ranging from bloating or excessive gas, distention, diarrhea, constipation and more.

The diagnostic process can be lengthy and complicated as it relies on the exclusion of other diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. Your doctor might run blood tests or recommend a colonoscopy. If your tests come back clear but you still experience intestinal pain, you may at that point be diagnosed with IBS.

How common is IBS?

It is estimated that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 7% to 21% of the population. It is a chronic condition - making it difficult to overcome without proper guidance. Seventy percent of IBS sufferers say that their symptoms interfere with their quality of life.


The two main symptoms doctors look for in order to diagnose patients are abdominal pain and altered bowel movements. Many patients experience either diarrhea, constipation or an alternation of both.

Most common IBS symptoms include:

  • Bloating; the sensation of fullness or tightness in the abdomen
  • Flatulence; excessive gas
  • Heartburn; a burning sensation in the chest area
  • Cramping; discomfort or pain in the intestines
  • Constipation; incomplete or infrequent bowel movements
  • Diarrhea; loose or watery stools
  • Reflux; a burning sensation in the throat or mouth
  • Food sensitivities/intolerances; an inability to tolerate certain foods

Less common IBS symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Mucus in stool

Types of IBS

There are 3 IBS subtypes:

  • IBS-C - IBS with predominantly constipation
  • IBS-D - IBS with predominantly diarrhea
  • IBS-M - IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea

How does IBS impact your life?

Irritable bowel syndrome can cause a decrease in quality of life for many sufferers. Ibs can impact your life in these following ways:

  • Stress; in the not knowing how your digestive system will react at any given time
  • Embarrassment; if you suffer from flatulence, bloating or frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Missing work or school due to pain or frequent bathroom runs
  • Anxiety surrounding food
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Physical discomfort

What are the causes of IBS?

There are a number of root causes of irritable bowel syndrome. Here are the 3 main ones:

  • An imbalance in the gut microbiome, also known as gut dysbiosis. This imbalance can occur due to the use of antibiotics, chronic stress, poor sleep and a poor diet.

  • Food poisoning can be the trigger in some cases of IBS. It is believed to be the cause in 5% to 32% of IBS cases.

  • SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are another frequent cause of irritable bowel syndrome.

How can I manage my symptoms?

In order to manage and overcome your symptoms, following an IBS diet as well as receiving expert guidance is essential. Clinical studies have shown the benefits of following a dietary, lifestyle and supplement protocol in the management of IBS symptoms.

The first step is identifying the root cause of the disorder. Understanding how and what led you to this disruptive disorder can facilitate your road to recovery. That is why I offer an in-depth intake process in order to determine how I can best assist in your journey back to health.

Dietary intervention

Adjusting one’s diet is essential in managing irritable bowel syndrome. Limiting fermentable carbohydrates is often the first step in mitigating symptoms. A low FODMAP diet is often recommended by practitioners as it has been shown in multiple studies to improve symptom outcomes. The low FODMAP diet - fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols - restricts carbohydrates found in certain fruit, vegetables and grains. These are poorly digested and can lead to bloating, gas and abdominal pain in many IBS sufferers.

Starting this restrictive diet can be daunting at first as it limits many foods. I highly recommend receiving expert guidance when starting the low-FODMAP diet in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies.

Not all IBS patients respond to the low FODMAP diet. That is why working on identifying one’s personal food triggers is of utmost importance. Working with a practitioner as well as keeping a food journal is a great way to start the process of identifying which foods are causing the most painful symptoms.

Other diets that may be helpful in addressing IBS are the Specific Carbohydrate Diet known as SCD, or the GAPS protocol (Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet). As with the low FODMAP diet, expert guidance is important in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies.

Lifestyle changes

Diet alone cannot alleviate all of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Many other factors can affect gut health and make a huge impact on your quality of life.

  • Prioritizing sleep: Poor sleep quality can affect your overall health but particularly your gut health.
  • Exercise: Moving your body daily can impact gut motility and improve bloating.
  • Stress management: Therapy, meditation and other forms of stress management can make a huge difference in your IBS recovery process.


Supplements can sometimes be very helpful in both diminishing symptoms as well as restoring gut health. Working with a qualified practitioner is essential to determine which supplements, if any, should be part of your protocol.

The most common supplements I recommend in my practice are:

  • Digestive enzymes
  • Probiotics
  • Glutamine
  • Zinc L-Carnosine
  • Magnesium
  • Digestive bitters
  • Ginger root
  • Fiber supplements

Before starting any supplement protocol, speak to your doctor or nutrition practitioner in order to identify which supplements are best for you. Not all supplements benefit everyone.

How do I take control of my IBS symptoms?

Getting started on the road to recovery can be daunting. There is so much to consider. Implementing dietary and lifestyle changes is not always easy. It takes courage to make the leap towards real consistent change. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the information out there.

You may be asking yourself:

How do I determine which diet is right for me?

What supplements, if any, should I be taking?

Is allergy or food intolerance tests worth the money?

Is a comprehensive stool test necessary?

Let me help you gain clarity.

You can sign up for one on one consultations or sign up to my 8 week Gut Health Program here.

Ready to address your health concerns? Get started by choosing your consultation package here.


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