Struggling with digestive complaints? Perhaps you've been told you have IBS?

Do you suffer from diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain or excessive flatulence? Perhaps you've been back and forth from the doctors with your digestive complaints and been left frustrated with the lack of resolution.

This is something I hear a lot from the clients I see in clinic. Often when the GP can find nothing wrong, they're told that they have IBS. IBS really isn't a real condition, it's just an umbrella term and used as a way of diagnosing those with digestive complaints for which no real cause can be found. If you've been diagnosed with IBS, you may have also been recommended a low FODMAP diet.

A low FODMAP diet can help to relieve symptoms but it certainly isn't the answer long term. A low FODMAP diet is all about avoiding certain fibres, and we need these fibres to have a health gut. This is just a way of addressing the symptoms and but does not address the root cause of the symptoms. Whilst a low FODMAP diet may make you feel better and give you some relief from your symptoms, there can be negative consequences in following this type of diet long term. It's also not that enjoyable to have to constantly restrict foods from your diet, right? Food is as much about enjoyment as it is health.

Is it IBS or is it actually SIBO?

Did you know that up to 84% of IBS sufferers actually have a condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?

We all have trillions of microbes living in our digestive tract and SIBO occurs when some of these microbes decide to relocate from your large intestine to your small intestine. It's simply a case of good gut microbes being in the wrong place! These microbes then feast on the food you consume and this can lead to the variety of IBS like symptoms such as bloating, gas and abdominal pain.

SIBO can occur for a variety of different reasons. I have listed just a few below -

  • Low stomach acid. (More info on stomach acid in my blog post here)

  • Stress

  • Constipation and/diarrhoea

  • Celiacs disease

  • Crohn's disease.

  • Prior bowel surgery.

  • Diabetes mellitus (type I and type II)

  • Multiple courses of antibiotics.

Testing for SIBO is an option, it's simple, non-invasive and relatively inexpensive. Some people like to test and see something in black and white before they decide to take action. However the testing isn't 100% accurate and false negatives can be reported i.e. the test result says no you haven't got SIBO when in fact you have. This is why I tend go by the symptoms a person is experiencing as a better indicator as to whether SIBO is an issue we have to address.

The great news is that SIBO can be addressed and those digestive symptoms can become a distant memory. One of the key ways I address SIBO is by working through what's known as the 5 R-Protocol. The 5 R Protocol is basically a strategic way of improving the health of our gastrointestinal system. More on this in my next blog post.

Living day in, day out with a persistent digestive illness can be hugely stressful, if not debilitating. Don't let these symptoms zap anymore joy out of your life! Contact me and let's get things working properly again so that you can enjoy your days to the full.


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