Whether you have been diagnosed with IBS by a doctor or simply can’t do up your jeans by lunchtime, digestive symptoms can be really debilititating. For IBS sufferers, who have to plan every outing according to whether there is a public loo nearby ( or not go out at all) life can be completely disrupted by their condition. Even if it’s only a matter of feeling swollen after eating, not wearing your favourite clothes because you need to hide a stick-outy tummy is pretty depressing.
Conventional medicine is notoriously bad at treating IBS and bloating. However, nutriiton and hypnotherapy used together can be surprisingly effective.
- Help you identify trigger foods
- Design an ‘exclusion’ diet to reduce symptoms
- Heal any underlying digestive problem e.g. unbalanced gut flora or perforation of the gut.
- Design a maintenance diet, reintroducing some foods but keeping symptoms at bay
- Reduce stress which can be a major trigger for IBS and bloating
- Reduce anxiety about IBS symptoms (this anxiety can become self-fulfilling)
- Teach visualisation techniques to help improve digestion and reduce symptoms
So, why not come in and see me to discuss a programme of nutrition and hypnotherapy to improve your IBS/bloating. Your Initial Assessment is free
You might also like to consider Food Intolerance and/or Gut Health testing
IBS symptoms can be triggered by food intolerance or unbalanced gut bacteria. I offer tests for both. They are easy to do. The gut one is done at home, while I can do the food intolerance test during your FREE initial Assessment
INFORMATION ABOUT BLOATING AND IBS
I am going to deal with bloating and IBS Separately although the two conditions can overlap and bloating can be a symptom of IBS.
Obviously, it’s normal to have a slightly distended stomach after eating. The stomach is full of food and so naturally will stick out more. If you eat a large meal (sunday lunch, Christmas dinner), you may feel particularly uncomfortable.
However, if you have that too-full feeling after eating even the smallest meal then you are suffering from bloating.
WHAT CAUSES BLOATING?
- Eating too much. Those on a diet who are trying to fill themselves up on High Volume, Low Calorie (HVLC) foods such as salads and steamed veggies are especially prone to bloating. *
- Eating fruit. Fruit can be a major cause of bloating because if it ferments, this creates gas that bloats you. Again, supposedly ‘healthy’ eaters who consume a lot of fruit can have this problem.
- Eating beans. As beans are digested in the body, they create gas.
- Food intolerances. We are all different, but there are certain food groups that can trigger bloating in some people. These include wheat, beans and dairy foods.
- Stress. Stress reduces your production of stomach acid, making digestion less efficient. It can halt digestion which can mean food is sitting in the gut, fermenting. This creates gas and bloating.
- Antibiotics. Our guts are designed to be teaming with ‘friendly’ bacteria. These help us digest our food. However, if we get an infection in the body and take an antibiotic, it can kill these ‘good’ bacteria as well. This can result in food not being digested properly and instead fermenting, causing gas.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE BLOATING:
- Eat 5 small meals rather than 3 big ones.
- Slow down your eating to chew your food thoroughly to stimulate digestive juices so your food is properly digested.
- Do not eat fruit at the end of a meal as it has to queue up to be digested behind your main course, making it more likely it will ferment. Either eat a small amount (1 piece) on its own or do not eat fruit at all.
- Eat cooked not raw food. Cooking food does some of the ‘breaking down’ for your body up front, so makes it easier to digest.
- Eat sitting down, without distractions. This can help reduce stress and improve digestions.
- Don’t drink anything during your meal and this water can dilute digestive juices, making digestion less effective.
- Exercise. Exercise gets your gut moving, improving digestion. Take a 30 minute walk daily.
- Reduce stress to improve digestion. Try meditation or self-hypnosis.
AVOID BLOATING TRIGGER FOODS
- Wheat (bread, pasta, cake, biscuits, pastries)
- Dairy, or more correctly dairy from cows (milk, yoghurt, ice-cream, cheese). Often butter is not a problem.
- Soy. Yes, even supposedly super-healthy soy can be highly allergenic (tofu, soy milk and yoghurts)
- Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potato, cucumber, aubergine)
- High fibre cereals. You may think you are doing the right thing by increasing your fibre, but high fibre breakfast cereals such as All-Bran can suck water into the gut making bloating worse.
NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS TO IMPROVE BLOATING
There is no magic pill for bloating. However, you could consider trying some of the following:
- Probiotic tablet
To replace ‘friendly’ bacteria in the gut. Probiotic yoghurts and drinks may be helpful, but capsules tend to have a much higher dose so may be more effective.
An amino acid that may be helpful in healing any perforation of the gut. This can happen if you take a lot of painkillers due to sporting injuries or a chronic condition like arthritis. A perforated gut can trigger food intolerances which can result in bloating.
- Fish oil
Fish oils are a great all-round anti-inflammatory and so improve underlying causes of bloating.
THE BLOATING/BAD SKIN LINK
If you suffer from bloating, you may also be struggling with your skin. This is not coincidental as both may result from the same cause – immune activation and an overwhelmed liver.
Here’s how it works. If you have perforation of the gut, usually as a result of taking painkillers for a prolonged time, protein molecules may pass through the gut wall, triggering your immune system. The resulting bacterial battle may result I toxins that have to be dealt with by the liver. But it this becomes overwhelmed, these toxins can be expelled through the skin instead, resulting in redness, pimples and, in particular, acne rosacea.
Under-performance of the liver and poor skin can also result from overall toxic load. Alcohol, smoking, stress, food additives, unbalanced hormones if you’re load of these is too high, your liver may not be able to cope and you may have problems with your skin. This is more common as you get older and the toll on your body increases. Indeed, I often see women n their 30s and 40s who never had teenage acne but are now really suffering with poor skin.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Follow the bloating guidelines above, plus reduce alcohol, smoking, caffeine, stress.
You could also try taking a liver support supplement such as the herb milk thistle.
Author: nutritionist Lowri Turner
For a more detailed and individual anti-bloating plan, come and see me for your FREE Initial Assessment
IRRITABLE BOWL SYNDROME (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is diagnosed via symptoms rather than via a blood or urine test. A colonoscopy (internal camera) may be used to exclude more serious conditions like cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohns.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’VE GOT IBS?
- Chronic stomach pain
- Needing to ‘go’ urgently
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux (acid taste in throat)
- Muscle pains/headaches/backache
WHAT CAUSES IBS?
The cause is unknown, however there are theories their either there is some breakdown in messaging between the brain and the gut or that unbalanced gut flora may be to blame.
COMMON IBS TRIGGERS
1. Stress and anxiety
- Problems at work
- Relationship problems
- Money problems
- Feeling overwhelmed/out of control of your life
- Cough and cold remedies containing Sorbitol (also present in diabetic sweets)
- The pill
- Stimulants (tea, coffee, caffeinated drinks, alcohol)
- Dairy products, especially cheese and ice-cream
- Fizzy drinks or water
- Fried or fatty foods
- High protein diets
Depending on what your symptoms are, you may be offered the following meds by your doctor
- Constipation – stool softeners such as Lactulose or laxatives.
- Diarrhoea – codeine.
- Stomach cramps – anti-spasmodics such as dycyclamine
- Depression – SSRIs such as Prozac
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENTS FOR IBS
Unsurprisingly, many IBS sufferers are miffed at the idea that their symptoms might be ‘all in the mind’. However, there is strong evidence of a stress link with IBS and so your doctor may also offer you some sort of talking therapy. Even if anxiety did not cause your IBS, it may worsen symptoms .
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Learning to challenge negative thoughts .
Increasingly used as an IBS treatment to reduce stress and also as a self-help tool for pain and symptoms reduction.
3. NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
You should seek help from your doctor for IBS, but you may also find the following useful:
Taking a daily probiotic capsule may help to correct any gut flora imbalance that could be a factor in your IBS. They can also speed up digestion and down-regulate immune response, calming your body down.
Often called ‘nature’s tranquiliser’, magnesium has muscle relaxant properties so may be especially useful for IBS-related stomach cramps.
You could also try certain herbs including peppermint
Increasingly, research is suggesting that eliminating foods containing things called FODMAPs may improve the symptoms of IBS. Without professional nutritional guidance, the resulting diet is quite tough to design and stick to, but it does seem to work.
WHAT ARE FODMAPS?
FODMAPs stands for a group of carbohydrates called fermentable oligo-saccharides and polyols. They include fructose (in fruit), lactose (in dairy), fructo and galacto-oligosaccharides (fructans and galactans in beans) and polyols ( from sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol).
WHY COULD THEY MAKE IBS WORSE?
It is believed that some people cannot digest FODMAPs properly and instead they ferment in the body. This can lead to a variety of symptoms from nausea, stomach pain, muscular aches and pains, bloating headaches and IBS.
HOW TO DO A FODMAPS DIET?
1. Eliminate as many High FODMAPs foods as possible.
HIGH FODMAPS FOODS
Fructose – apples, pears, peaches, mango, sugar snap peas watermelon
Lactose – milk, ice-cream, yoghurt, soft cheese
Oligosaccharides: vegetables including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, cereals, beans
Polyols – Fruits, vegetables including avocado, cauliflower and mushrooms, artificial sweeteners ending on ‘ol’
Grains – wheat, rye or barley
Nuts – pistachios and cashews
2. Eat little and often
High volume meals make fermentation more likely, so it is better to have more, smaller meals. You should eat 5 small meals p/day.
YOUR FODMAPS DAY
7.00 am Breakfast
10.00 am snack
1.00 pm lunch
4.00 pm snack
7.00 pm dinner
3. Eat slowly and chew your food
Eat off a small side plate and use small cutlery – fork not spoon. Put your cutlery down between bites
4. Eat in a calm environment
Sit down to eat and switch off computer, TV and phone. Take a few deep breaths before eating to calm yourself before beginning.
5. No carbonated or caffeinated drinks and no alcohol.
Carbonated drinks can cause bloating. Caffeine can cause stomach discomfort, alcohol also irritates the lining of the stomach and can contribute to IBS symptoms. Drink water instead.
6. Drink water between meals, but not during.
Drinking water at a meal can dilute digestive enzymes which may interrupt digestion.
Take up yoga/meditation and listen to your hypnotherapy recordings as often as possible to calm yourself.
Cardio exercise improves digestion, eases both gas and constipation.
SO WHAT CAN YOU EAT ON A FODMAPS DIET?
- Fruits – Bananas, blueberries, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lemons, mandarins, oranges, passionfruit, pineapple, rasberries, rhubarb, strawberries,
- Vegetables – (small amounts and cooked not raw) Pak and bok choy, ¼ cup broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, cucumber, ¼ stick celery, ginger, ¼ cup green beans, lettuce, [potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, ½ cup sweet potato, courgettes, .
- Grains – rice, quinoa, oats, amaranth, buckwheat, maize, millet, tapioca – 1 teacup cooked volume p/meal
- Dairy – eggs, hard cheese (max 50g p/meal) , butter 25g, a little cream
- Fish – try oily fishes – salmon/mackerel/tuna – or plain steamed white fish (cod, haddock, pollock) 75g or ½ fillet p/meal)
- Sweeteners – maple syrup, rice syrup (2 teaspoons)
We are all individuals, so you may need to experiment and keep a symptoms dairy to see which of these foods are OK and which, if any, cause symptoms.
Author: Nutritionist Lowri Turner
P.S A FODMAPs diet is a serious commitment, requiring determination and focus. This is why with all my IBS programmes, I include hypnotherapy, to help you train your brain to stick to your programme. Hypnotherapy also has the benefit of reducing stress and anxiety which can also ‘feed’ IBS.