Your health queries answered with Jacquie Lane from the College of Naturopathic Medicine
Bloating, embarrassing wind and alternating diarrhoea and constipation are driving me mad. Is this irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and what can I do about it if so?
IBS is a term frequently given to unexplained digestive conditions, of which the causes are many and varied. It can be caused or aggravated by some foods, and stress can also be a major factor. One in five people in the UK are reported as suffering from IBS.
Keeping a food diary for two weeks, recording everything that is eaten and drunk and at what times, is useful in identifying repeated triggers. It’s also worth recording activities each day including any exercise or stressful events. Having a test for food intolerances can be useful, as can analysing the stools for good and bad bacteria. Both of these can be organised through nutritional therapists.
In the tests I use for my patients with similar symptoms to yours, I frequently see a lack of the good gut floras Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, plus an imbalanced stool acid/alkaline level. Taking supplements of these two probiotics can be very useful at balancing good gut flora, which also help to push out unwanted bacterial strains.
Keeping soluble fibre levels correct by consuming enough vegetables helps, as does drinking spasm calming teas like peppermint or fennel. Psyllium husk is very useful at bulking out the stool and helping balance out both diarrhoea and constipation. It must be taken with enough fluid to enable its action.
It’s best not to guess the course of therapy and if you have ruled out any other condition such as Crohn’s or Colitis with your GP, I would recommend getting expert advice from a therapist. They will be able to target your therapy specifically to your individual condition by finding the cause rather than just dealing with the symptoms.
Lifestyle advice is crucial for dealing with stressful lifestyles, and you should ensure that you’re getting enough fresh air and relaxation by regular walks, especially at lunch time during working days. Yoga and Pilates can be especially beneficial.
If you have a general health query that you would like to raise here you can email Jacquie at healthqueriesforWave@naturopathy-uk.com. Please note that Jacquie cannot enter into individual correspondence unless your query is chosen for publication.
CNM open evening
If you want to find out more about naturopathic nutrition or you would like to train to become a nutritional therapist, please book to attend CNM’s open evening at Brighton University at 6.30pm on Tuesday 11 May. 01342 410505, www.naturopathy-uk.com