Get Your Digestion Back on Track
Many of my clients come to see me regarding digestive symptoms. The most common symptoms clients complain of include bloating, abdominal pain or discomfort, constipation, flatulence, diarrhoea, nausea, heartburn and reflux. A number of my clients have been diagnosed with IBS but are unsure how to manage this condition.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders and is thought to affect up to 25% of the UK population. There are many contributory factors including:
- Disruption of the gut microbiota in the large bowel, bacterial, yeast (candida) & parasitic infection
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Disturbances to the gut-brain signalling
- Immune problems, over 70% of our immune system is located in our gut
- Nervous tension and stress and imbalanced neurotransmitter signalling
- Muscle spasms
- Increased intestinal permeability (also known as ‘leaky gut’) and food sensitivities
- Gastroenteritis, particularly of infectious origin
Optimising Digestive Health
If the digestive tract is not functioning optimally this can affect our absorption of nutrients as well as have wide reaching consequences for all body systems and our overall wellbeing. Optimising digestive health is a key place to start in any nutritional programme.
Looking into the Causes of Problems
Investigating and addressing possible contributory factors, supporting digestive function and choosing foods to help soothe, calm and repair the digestive tract are all important steps. Addressing emotions and the impact of stress may also be relevant.
In many instances diagnostic testing (for example comprehensive stool analysis) can provide key information regarding contributory factors. For more information on relevant diagnostic tests, such as Stool Analysis and SIBO Breath Testing, please do give me a call or drop me an email.
Top Tips on Improving Digestion:
Chew your food really thoroughly – this may sound obvious but many of us eat on the run and rush our meals. Chewing physically breaks down food and kicks off the digestive process
Relax – stress and worry can have a negative effect on digestion. Our gut function can influence our brain and mood and vice versa. We make most of the feel good hormone serotonin in our gut, which is why digestive problems are often worse when we are stressed.
Have regular meal times, with around 4 hours between each meal and a minimum 12 hour overnight fast, to allow the digestive tract to clear and regenerate
Keep hydrated - around 8 glasses of water or cups of herbal teas per day
Limit caffeinated drinks to 3 cups per day
Reduce intake of alcohol and fizzy drinks
Keep your gut flora happy! The friendly bacteria that live in our gut like a diet rich in a wide-range of vegetables and wholefoods. Including fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha is beneficial for most people.