The Unfortunate Truth About IBS




I can just hear you saying, “Ah, but I already know my bowel is irritable, Amy, do I really need more awareness about this???”

An irritable bowel is unpredictable, uncomfortable, and at times, can be downright embarrassing. So yes, you’re definitely already aware of its protests. 

An IBS diagnosis is actually pretty common. You likely get diagnosed with IBS if you: 

  • Have constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both 
  • Have gut pain, cramping, bloating, or excessive gas
  • Experience a sense of urgency at times when needing to use the toilet
  • Pass mucus in the stool
  • And, your doctor realizes that what you’re suffering with is not in your head, but isn’t sure of what is causing the above symptoms to provide a more specific diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Yup, sorry to say it, but IBS is a “wastebasket diagnosis.” 

The typical and serious diagnoses have already been ruled out, but you’re still uncomfortable. So, here’s your label, try some of these OTC or prescription medicines, cut out some foods, and let me know how it’s still going. And this approach often doesn’t work.

The good news is, you don’t have to live with IBS. 

Within the functional nutrition realm, we recognize that certain dietary patterns, lifestyle factors (hello, high stress and rushed eating!), an imbalance in the nervous system, bacterial imbalances in the gut, and other seemingly unrelated health conditions can all contribute to these gut symptoms. (A few seemingly unrelated but often comorbid conditions include depression, anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and fibromyalgia). And we can help make them be a thing of the past. 

My Top 6 Tips
for if you’ve been given a diagnosis of IBS and nothing is making your gut feel better: 

  1. Improve your eating hygiene. Chewing your food well and eating at the table (not while driving, watching TV, or submitting your taxes late) can go a long way in helping your digestion. Check out this blog post on eating hygiene
  2. Try a high-quality probiotic that has been clinically shown to normalize stooling patterns. My favorite for this type of situation is Metagenics Ultra Flora Acute Care. (You can find it here)
  3. Improve your stooling habits by going when you need to go and purchasing a Squatty Potty. This can help to alleviate constipation big-time. (This one looks nice and folds for small spaces.)
  4. Consume enough fiber if you can tolerate it (men and women can aim for a minimum of 29 g/day, while children, 25 g/day). Slowly increase the amount you are eating while eating a rainbow of fruits & veggies. While you do this, decrease the amount of packaged, processed food you are eating. 
  5. Incorporate relaxation or stress management habits into your daily life. I suggest my clients set alarms on their phones several times a day to remind themselves to take a few cleansing breaths, and use an app such as Insight Timer or Headspace for guided meditations and peaceful tracks on demand. 
  6. Consider a stool test. Your favorite functional practitioner can help you select the one that makes the most sense for your situation and what to do with the results. 

Hopefully these tips will help you to shift your awareness away from your gut and over to your upcoming summer plans – that no longer include tracking down a restroom every 5 feet. 

Do you suffer with IBS? What has worked for you to help alleviate symptoms? Post below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.