Irritable Bowel Syndrome, otherwise known as IBS, affects around 10-15 percent of people in the US! It is much more common in women than in men. In fact, nearly twice as many women have IBS than men! It affects everyone from all ages and all over the world. However, most people who are affected with IBS are under the age of 50. Stress can worsen or aggravate symptoms. It is a very unpredictable disorder and can affect people in all manners of their lives – anywhere from their professional life to their emotional life. With the abundance of this uhh, irritating disorder, treating it with standard medical practices can be frustrating and ineffective.
Common symptoms of those suffering with IBS include diarrhea, constipation, sharp pain in the abdomen, bloating, and urgent runs to the bathroom. Altered bowel movements are also common with IBS and can create havoc on a person’s body (and mind!) With such a commonplace issue, affecting between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, various types of treatments – such as nutrition-based methods and working with the subconscious have allowed those suffering to find relief.
The gut microbiome, or the gut flora, is comprised of all the microorganisms, including bacteria, that live in our digestive tracts. According to studies on IBS, the microbiome is a key target for nutrition treatments with IBS. The studies have shown the link to alleviating symptoms of IBS using a low FODMAP diet.
What is a Low FODMAP Diet?
The FODMAP diet means a diet comprised in foods low of certain fermentable short-chain carbohydrates commonly found in everyday foods – these are particular sugars that can cause intestinal issues. FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols”, which includes certain fructans, lactose, fructose, sorbitol and mannitol. FODMAPs have been found to increase water content within the small intestines as well as increasing the production of gas through a fermentation process. This leads to several uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, and pain the abdomen.
A low FODMAP diet is used to treat IBS by helping people figure out which foods reduce symptoms as well as which foods are problematic. Studies have even shown that over 75 percent of IBS patients who followed a low FODMAP diet saw a reduction in their IBS symptoms!
Following a low FODMAP diet for treating IBS can include eliminating several different foods, with anything from broccoli to grains to cow’s milk. Some common foods that are eliminated include all high FODMAP foods such as garlic, onions, wheat, fruit and certain vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and beets. Working with a nutritionist, along with testing for food allergies, is vital for ensuring proper treatment of IBS and reducing symptoms. Working with the right health professional, such as a holistic nutritionist, also allows a proper assessment of when and how to reintroduce certain high FODMAP foods.
The Subconscious and the Gut
Along with working with a nutritionist, there are other ways to treat IBS symptoms with alternative treatments. Ever wish you could just talk to your gut and send it calming messages? Well, you actually can do this through a process called “gut-directed hypnotherapy”.
Medical centers across the US have been recommending hypnotherapy for IBS-related treatments for the past decade! Mount Sinai, Northwestern and University of Michigan are among the programs offering or recommending hypnosis for the gut.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy includes meeting with the patient – either online or in person and entering into a hypnotic state, using induction methods by a trained hypnotherapist. Once tapped into the subconscious, IBS patients are led through visualizations and suggestions designed to calm or relax the gut. This is focused to calm down the digestive tract while also taking the conscious focus off the gut issues away.
A North Carolina research team focused on using scripted hypnosis treatments over 20 years ago and found that patients who worked with them in sessions over a two to three month period improved their bowel symptoms. They had a response rate that ranged from 53 percent to 94 percent success, including those who’d proven completely unsuccessful with other treatment options.
The role of hypnotherapy in the gut works to resolve miscommunications between the two while also soothing the hyper-reactivity of the intestines. This can be an extremely effective form of treatment, especially when paired with the right nutrition protocol. Working with the gut-brain connection along with following a diet aimed at identifying your allergens, intolerances and even a low FODMAP diet can provide you with the relief you need.
At Progressive Health and Wellness, we offer specialized focus on helping those with IBS or other gastro-related issues. We also offer mindset coaching with work in the subconscious focused on improving all aspects of the mind and body. Reach out to us for more information on what we can offer you.
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