Stomach cramps? Jeans won’t fasten you’re so bloated? Embarrassing wind during a meeting? Sometimes you can’t go for days and other times you’re constantly rushing to the bathroom? If this sounds all too familiar, don’t worry, you’re in good company.

About one in seven Australians experience symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Women are more likely than men to get IBS and to have more severe symptoms.

So what is IBS? Characterised by the symptoms listed above, IBS is known as a functional disorder. This means that, although there’s a change in how your gut functions, this change is not visible during examination, for example by x-ray or biopsies.

What causes IBS? Although the exact cause in unknown, it seems likely to be a combination of factors:

  • more frequent or stronger contractions of the bowel muscles
  • increased sensitivity to the gas inside your bowel
  • genetics

Other factors that can trigger IBS symptoms include:

  • stress
  • consuming certain foods and drinks
  • antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen

For most people with IBS, the symptoms are just mildly annoying. For others the condition can seriously impact on their quality of life.

So what can be done to help? It’s important not to self-diagnose IBS. A visit to your GP is essential to rule out any potentially serious causes for your symptoms. Your GP may refer you to a specialist to carry out further tests.

Once you’ve been given the all clear by your GP and/or specialist what happens next? Well, it’s great to know that you’re otherwise healthy, but your IBS symptoms are still making your life miserable. Don’t despair, with the help of a qualified dietitian there are changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle that can help to alleviate your symptoms.

Why not book an appointment with one of our practitioners at the Healthy Eating Hub?

First she’ll ask questions to see what’s bothering you and what you’ve already tried to help with the problem. Next, she’ll take a detailed diet history to see if the problem might lie in what you eat. The last part of the consultation will be dedicated to designing a diet and lifestyle plan tailored for your requirements. We can’t promise miracles overnight, but at The Healthy Eating Clinic we have the knowledge and experience to work with you over time to get you looking and feeling your best.

What does your poo say about you?