When the smooth rhythm of the muscles of the digestive tract is disrupted, either moving too quickly or too slowly, we experience digestive distress. For some of us, this distress can be frequent and painful, creating a major disruption in our life and in our lifestyle.
The prevlance of IBS in Singapore was higher than other Asian countries in a study published in 2016.
Among women, IBS is most prevalent during menstruation years, with symptoms being most severe after ovulation & prior to menses.
Studies have found that over 50% of patients seeing a gynecologist for lower abdominal pain have IBS.
Several health conditions are marked by severe digestive distress including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). While all of these conditions involve inflammation of the lining of the bowel, IBS can be healed through careful shifts in diet and lifestyle and addressing the cause.
What is IBS?
IBS is marked by abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, and a cluster of symptoms that last for three months or longer. Symptoms vary for each person and can include:
Abdominal gas and bloating
Alternating diarrhea and constipation
Mucus in the stool
Nausea after eating
Abdominal pain that progresses or occurs at night
Weight loss not explained by dieting or other health concerns
IBS can be caused by one or several underlying health factors that cause a disruption in the digestive tract. The areas that I look into while working with IBS are,
Alterations in the gut microbiota
GI motility issues
Mental health & psychosocial dysfunction
A Holistic Plan for Healing IBS
A proper assessment is crucial. We use various diagnostic tools such as physical exam, lab tests, stool and urine tests, food allergy or intolerance testing, dietary assessment, and assessment of lifestyle factors including stress level, and ruling out other possible conditions. The goal is to identify sources of inflammation that have set the stage for developing IBS. Once identified, we will then develop a plan to minimize/ eliminate exposure to triggers, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
Hormones. Changes in hormones, particularly for women, can cause a cascade of changes in the body, including digestion. Menstruation is associated with exacerbation of IBS symptoms in the majority of women. Women are more likely to have IBS-C. Women with IBS are three times more likely to receive a hysterectomy than women without IBS – but hysterectomy or tubal ligation appear to have little effect on IBS severity.
The “healing plan” for IBS will be different for every person because so many factors interact to produce inflammation and symptoms.
If you suspect that you are affected by IBS, get in touch and put yourself on the road to wellness. It is possible to enjoy food again and heal from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Yes, You can enjoy the food again! If you have been told to avoid certain foods for lifetime, let’s have a chat.
National Survey of the Effects of Changes in Female Sex Hormones on Irritable Bowel Symptoms
Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants.(2012) Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.
Pizzorno, Joseph E. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4thEd. (2013) St. Louis, MO Elsevier.