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What is IBS?

This has been documented as a 20th-century problem and one that can cause a lot of distress and disruption in day-to-day life. I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion about what exactly it is over my years in practice.

We are all unique individuals, and only we truly know our own bodies. Therefore, it’s essential that if you have any new, changing or long-standing undiagnosed bowel concerns, you need to get them checked out by your doctor.

I hope I can address some of its mystery in this and future blogs. Our understanding and what we can do to support this problem is constantly changing, so this information is correct at the time of publication.

So, first things first.... What is IBS?

“Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the title given to a collection of long-standing symptoms consisting of frequent abdominal discomfort, pains linked to the bowel and lower abdomen that any other disease cannot explain.” The IBS Network.

Everyone experiences some bowel or tummy symptoms from time to time. The day we overate pizza and fizzy pop or the day we ate just a few too many roast potatoes with that extra glass of wine! But symptoms that start to impact your life like Bloating, explosive diarrhoea, constantly feeling over full, constipation, incomplete bowel movements, excessive aggressive wind, spasm and cramping, to name just a few. Work and home life can be busy and stressful.

Folk who suffer from IBS can get these symptoms frequently and severely. These symptoms can make life stand still. It disrupts day to day life. They start to fear eating out for fear of being caught short while away from home or dare not eat out for fear of excessive gas or bloating.

Throughout my years in practice, I’ve worked with clients suffering from every possible symptom of IBS. Clients have felt that colonics help and supports their control and maintenance of their symptoms.

In addition to the bowel and tummy pains, there are many other symptoms that are not spoken of so much. These include: - Tiredness, Nausea, Heartburn & ingestion, Backache, needing to pee frequently, Headaches, Muscle pains, Anxiety, Depression, Ringing in the ears.

There is no definitive cause for IBS, although some triggers have been identified. Everyone can suffer from IBS. It can occur at any stage in life. It does, however, have some common threads; it is more frequently diagnosed in young adults. Symptoms can come and go.

It is associated with emotional tension, often triggered by an attack of food poisoning or Gastroenteritis. Symptoms can be triggered by life & routine changes, difficult life situations and stressful life events. Stressful working conditions and antisocial hours are also prominent candidates for exasperating the symptoms.

There is a thought that IBS symptoms can manifest following an attack of Gastroenteritis (food poisoning), with about 10% of folk going on to develop IBS symptoms. It is more likely in folk who are anxious, depressed or experiencing complex life changes and situations when they were unwell with Gastroenteritis.

A course of or long-term use of antibiotics to treat life-threatening infections can seriously deplete the colonic microbiome (the bacteria that population the colon). This may increase the permeability of the intestine and therefore stimulate the immune system to make the bowel more sensitive and reactive.

There are also reports that folk who have been through a series of significant traumatic, upsetting event/s suffer heightened symptoms.

Despite being a very small word, stress is something that most people say they don’t suffer with... stress can wreak havoc. We are all very good at hiding it and saying “no, I’m fine” when in fact, our worlds are falling apart. I draw the thought that the swan that swims beautifully through the water, but and it’s an enormous BUT, it is paddling like hell underneath!

Stress can increase bowel sensitivity. It’s always important to look into your life and ask yourself what has happened in the preceding days and week that could contribute to an attack or flare-up of symptoms.

Trauma goes to the gut! Fight and flight. Please have a read through the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system post. If the trauma is not easily resolved, the memory of what has happened can linger on as IBS symptoms.

Having a soothing, relaxing colonic have been found to be very supportive to work with the symptoms of IBS.

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