IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is an extremely common condition that refers to constipation, diarrhea, urgency, bloating, and lower GI discomfort. There are two primary subsets of IBS, IBS-D (diarrhea) and IBS-C (constipation), however some people experience a combo of both. The National Institute of Health estimates that somewhere between 10-25% of Americans suffer from this condition.
While there are many causes of IBS including infections, food sensitivities, gastrointestinal yeast overgrowth, poor hydration, reduced fat absorption and low-fiber diet, the reality is that many people suffer from these symptoms and never find the cause. While we hope every person gets the medical help they need to find the root cause of their symptoms, there are 5 simple steps you can take now to greatly improve your symptoms and get your gut back on track.
Step 1: Cut out sugar and refined carbs
Sugar and refined carbs feed unhealthy microbes in the GI tract. Those microbes excrete toxins that irritate the gut lining, affect the pH of the colon and lead to unwanted symptoms. Eating a whole food diet free from processed foods and sugar is the first step to alleviating symptoms of IBS.
Step 2: Increase water and consider electrolytes
Drinking plenty of water is key for healthy digestion and motility (not to mention detox, glowing skin and great energy). However, when the colon wall has been irritated, chronically, it doesn’t move water in and out properly. This is why a no-sugar electrolyte can be a game changer for those with IBS. The electrolytes charge the water and help it move in and out of the colon, meaning that hard stool becomes softer and soft stool can firm up.
Step 3: Boost your soluble fiber
Soluble fiber is magic for IBS. Here’s how it works: Soluble fiber is adaptive because of how it absorbs water. If you’re loose, it helps to firm you up by absorbing the excess water. If your poop is too hard, it holds more water in, so you soften up. Better yet, it feeds your microbiome which improves your digestive and colon health long-term. Aim for 20 grams of soluble fiber per day,by eating plenty of beans, lentils, flax, chia, Brussels sprouts and avocado and by including a soluble fiber blend like Florasophy to get your fill and improve symptoms of IBS for good.
Step 4: Take a high-quality probiotic
A healthy gut microbiome is essential for good digestion and elimination. Supporting our healthy gut microbes with a high-quality probiotic can be a game changer for healthy poop. Look for probiotics including strains such as B. infantis, Lb. rhamnosus , Lb. plantarum, Lb. acidophilus, E. faecium, S. boulardii.
Step 5: Consider a digestive enzyme with ox bile
If you suffer from IBS-D (diarrhea), you may be experiencing the side effect of poor fat absorption. This means instead of fat absorbing in your small intestine, the fat moves into the colon making stool loose and often causing urgency. A comprehensive digestive enzyme with pancreatic enzymes, HCl (stomach acid) and ox bile will improve absorption and poop consistency downstream.
With these 5 simple steps, you can greatly improve your symptoms and overall gut health! If you’re still suffering, make sure to reach out so we can help you identify if infections, food sensitivities or other digestive factors are triggering your symptoms!