IIBS-nutritionist-london-nutritional-therapist

IBS (IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME)

Learn how I can help you with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

IBS Nutritionist London

What is IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common long-term condition affecting the digestive system, estimated to affect 10-25% of the UK population. You are more likely to experience IBS if other people in your family have IBS, if you are female under the age of 50, or if you suffer from stress, anxiety or depression. IBS can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on everyday life. It is a complex condition with many factors and many potential causes (1).

The main symptom is a digestive disturbance – pain or cramping as well as changes in the frequency and consistency of stools. There is no single test for IBS and your GP will likely diagnose it by ruling out other potential issues with similar symptoms.

IBS Symptoms

The severity of Irritable Bowel Syndrome varies from person to person and affects some people more severely than others. Women are twice as likely to get the condition as men. In some people symptoms are mild that come and go. Others experience severe symptoms affecting their ability to work and sleep. The quality of life may be severely affected. Additionally, symptoms may change over time, for example a person may experience severe symptoms for few weeks followed by feeling well for months.

Common symptoms of IBS include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Sensation of urgency to empty the bowels
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Nausea
  • Low appetite
  • A connection to stress

How can a Nutritionist help with IBS?

My approach to dealing with IBS

As a Nutritionist and Nutritional Therapist, when working with patients in my clinic in London, I take a holistic approach. Rather than suppressing the symptoms, I work on finding the root cause of IBS and restoring the digestive function using diet, supplements and lifestyle. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is very complex and requires highly individualised approach addressing the underlying cause. If you have been diagnosed with IBS, I recommend working with me to identify and address the cause in your case.

I designed the 90 Day IBS Programme, where I work closely with you to find the root cause of your IBS and restore optimal gut health.

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Factors that can contribute to IBS symptoms

What is the root cause? It depends on the individual person. IBS is a multi-factorial disorder and it can have multiple root causes. They may include:

  • Eating highly processed, low-fibre diet
  • Low water intake
  • Altered gut flora (dysbiosis): Dysbiosis happens when the bad bugs in your gut take over. People with imbalance of GI bacteria are more prone to symptoms of IBS (2). Dysbiosis is common due to overuse of antibiotics, as well as alcohol, high sugar diet and stress. Healthy gut flora contributes to production of amino acids, certain vitamins, as well as neurotransmitters, such as your happy hormone serotonin.
  • Food sensitivities and intolerances: IBS sufferers often report sensitivity to certain foods, commonly to certain carbohydrates (especially foods containing gluten), as well as certain fats (3,4). Lactose intolerance is also a common cause of IBS and it can be diagnosed by simple breath test.
  • Stress: Those under a lot of stress, as well people suffering from anxiety and depression are more prone to experience IBS symptoms (5). Our gut is also called a “second brain” and many IBS sufferers link their emotions and stress levels to worsening of the symptoms.
  • SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: a condition characterised by abnormal overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. It is estimated that up to 84% of IBS sufferers have SIBO (6). Most of the gut bacteria is meant to be located in the large intestine, where they help to break down food, synthesize vitamins, and eliminate waste. In SIBO these healthy bacteria colonise the small intestine. People with SIBO will have excess levels of hydrogen, methane or both, and it can be diagnosed by hydrogen and methane breath test (7).
  • Increased intenstinal permeability (“leaky gut syndrome”): Studies have also shown an association between IBS and increased intenstinal permeability (8). The gut lining is like a net with extremely small holes to allow certain substances to pass through. In a leaky gut those holes become bigger allowing undigested food particles, proteins, toxins and bad bacteria to pass through. Unhealthy gut lining makes it harder for digestion to work at optimal level.
  • Gut infections: Certain gut infections have been associated with IBS. For example intestinal parasites such as Blastocystis hominis and Dientamoeba fragilis, as well as food poisoning caused by Campylobacter bacteria may trigger IBS (9,10).
  • Lack of exercise: Exercise is crucial for the functioning of your digestive system. If you are inactive, so will be your digestion. On the other hand, if you are active, your digestion will follow.

References

(1) Agrawal, Whorwell. Irritable bowel syndrome: diagnosis and management. BMJ. 2006; 332: 280-83.

(2) Kassinen A, Krogius-Kurikka L, Mäkivuokko H, et al.  The fecal microbiota of irritable bowel syndrome patients differs significantly from that of healthy subjects. Gastroenterology. 2007;133(1):24.

(3) Simrén M, Månsson A, Langkilde AM, et al.  Food-related gastrointestinal symptoms in the irritable bowel syndrome. Digestion. 2001;63(2):108.

(4) Pasquale Mansueto, Alberto D’Alcamo, Aurelio Seidita, et al. Food allergy in irritable bowel syndrome: The case of non-celiac wheat sensitivity. World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Jun 21; 21(23): 7089–7109.

(5) Nicholl BI, Halder SL, Macfarlane GJ, et al.  Psychosocial risk markers for new onset irritable bowel syndrome–results of a large prospective population-based study. Pain. 2008;137(1):147.

(6) Pimentel M1, Chow EJ, Lin HC. Eradication of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 Dec;95(12):3503-6.

(7) Jan Bures, Jiri Cyrany, Darina Kohoutova et al. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jun 28; 16(24): 2978–2990.

(8) Camilleri M1, Madsen K, Spiller R, Greenwood-Van Meerveld B et. al., Intestinal barrier function in health and gastrointestinal disease. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Jun;24(6):503-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2012.01921.x.

(9) Stark D1, van Hal S, Marriott D, Ellis J et al., Irritable bowel syndrome: a review on the role of intestinal protozoa and the importance of their detection and diagnosis. Int J Parasitol. 2007 Jan;37(1):11-20. Epub 2006 Oct 12.

(10) Swan C1, Duroudier NP, Campbell E et al., Identifying and testing candidate genetic polymorphisms in the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): association with TNFSF15 and TNFα. Gut. 2013 Jul;62(7):985-94. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2011-301213. Epub 2012 Jun

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