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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)- Finding Physical and Emotional Well Being - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Finding Physical and Emotional Well Being

Having an urgency to run to the toilet at all times of the day?

Do you have abdominal pain that improves after passing a bowel movement?

Bloating and gas with loose and/or constipated stools?

An estimated 5 million Canadians suffer from IBS, with 120,000 new cases each year (Fedorak RN, et al. 2012). 40% of Canadians suffering from severe IBS symptoms seek medical treatment, while patients with milder symptoms use a combination of lifestyle changes, food trigger avoidance, pharmaceuticals, and/or supplements to manage their wellbeing.

The typical IBS sufferer misses 13 days of work per year (Fedorak RN, et al. 2012).

Who gets IBS?

You have an increased risk for IBS if you have a family history of a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with IBS. Onset is usually in teenage years and is more common in women than men. This may be because women are more likely than men to seek health care services for their symptoms.

Also, clinical trials indicate that gender differences occur in responsiveness to drug treatment, pain processing, transit time (the time it takes for your food to move through your digestive tract), and effects of hormones (estrogen, progesterone) on digestive functions (Anbardan SJ., et al. 2012).

Do you have IBS?

A doctor will diagnose IBS if symptoms have been present at least three days per month in the last three months, started at least six months ago, and symptoms (specifically, abdominal pain) are relieved after a bowel movement (Jung HK, 2011).

Symptoms include more or less frequent bowel movements, change in stool appearance, and incomplete emptying of bowels. You may also have bloating, heartburn, and nausea (Jung HK, 2011).

Other diagnostic methods should be used to rule out more serious conditions like colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease.

What causes IBS?

Some of the known causes of IBS include a history of gut infections, abdominal surgery, changes in diet, antibiotic use, and/or bacterial/hormonal/neurotransmitter imbalances. IBS pain is tied to the evolution in a healthy human microbiota (the friendly microbes in our gut), the immune system, and brain-gut communication (Grice EA, 2012).

Think of brain-gut communication as our mind-body connection, one that exists through the central (mind) and enteric (gut) nervous systems.

Peristalsis is coordinated muscle contraction that promotes movement of food through the GI tract. In IBS, irregular peristalsis (spasm) can slow transit time or increase it causing constipation or diarrhea, respectively.

Some home remedies

Peppermint oil

This is a useful tool for managing IBS symptoms (Cash et al., 2016). Menthol, an essential oil, is an antispasmodic and can help to calm the muscular and mucosal (mucus) walls of the intestine, reducing abdominal pain and regulating peristalsis (Khanna et al., 2014).

In an Egyptian text from 1550 BC, mint was indicated for abdominal pain. In ancient Greece, Hades softened a spell on his mistress Minthe, so that ‘when people walked upon his lover they would smell her sweetness’.

Probiotics

Similar to peppermint, probiotics can be an effective symptom management tool.

Studies have shown that certain probiotic strains, specifically the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium families, can relieve symptoms of abdominal pain, gas, and bloating (Majeed et al., 2016) (Moraes-Filho JP., Quigley EM, 2015).

However, not everyone has the same reaction to probiotics.

To give some perspective, the human microbiota (the friendly microbes in our gut) is the size of an ocean compared to the small droplet of probiotics delivered to our bodies by supplements. Scientists still have many questions regarding the human microbiota. Does it control us? Do we control it? If so, how? The complex relationship between our mind and our microbiota is one that can be slightly altered by diet, environment, and our stress level (Grice et al., 2012).

Dietary changes

The ability of your body to fully digest and absorb the calories from the food you eat is controlled by your microbiota (Grice et al., 2012).

Avoiding dietary triggers that alter the capacity of friendly microbes, and possibly feed the bad ones, is an important goal to reduce inflammation within the digestive tract. Our microbes have the ability to heal the gut wall and mucosa, so the diet and lifestyle factors necessary are those that create the ideal conditions for the friendly bugs we were born with.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, a useful tool in IBS management, assesses and treats the individual patient holistically. IBS patients receiving acupuncture for symptom management reported greater improvement than patients receiving only pharmaceutical drugs (Manheimer et al., 2012).

The Mind – Body connection

It is important to remember that IBS affects both physical and mental-emotional wellbeing. You should seek a health care professional who will provide an IBS treatment plan that addresses both physical and psychological factors. IBS can be tough to deal with, but its symptoms can be managed and so can your stress.

Remember: Always consult a healthcare professional before taking any new supplement or medication.

For more information, book a complimentary meet and greet with Dr Eric Viegas today.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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Herbal Home Remedies For Ulcerative Colitis - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Herbal Home Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a form of irritable bowel disease that targets the end of the large intestine; most notably the rectum and anus. With significant inflammation of the innermost layer of gut tissue, UC causes bloody stools, abdominal pain, weight loss, fever, dehydration, and frequent urges to have a bowel movement. (1)

Some UC bowel movements are “false urges”; this means that although the need to pass stool feels urgent, very little is passed into the toilet bowl. Inflammation is the main culprit in these false urges.

There will be periods of time where UC sufferers will be in symptom “remission”; their bowel movements will improve along with their quality of life, but the tissue in their colon will still be inflamed. Stress and diet triggers will often cause relapses for people with UC. (1)

Complications of UC include anemia (low iron) and colorectal cancer. Relapses are frequent, so doctors and patients must work together to reduce inflammation and pain, and to improve quality of life.

Medications, nutritional supplements, herbs, diet, and surgery are all useful tools for individual cases of UC. Unfortunately, no cure exists, but with the proper diet and lifestyle choices, the risk of UC relapse can be reduced.

Herbal Home Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis

A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine looked at conventional western and eastern herbal medicines, their effect on relapse rates, and the rates of remission when considering symptoms and endoscopic testing (using a small camera to look inside the colon) in people with UC.

The researchers sifted through 3050 studies and filtered their search to include only the best evidence. In the end, 29 randomised controlled trials that included over 1800 people with UC were selected.

Five single-herb remedies were effective in reducing the risk of relapse and maintaining remission from symptoms:

Curcumin

The first herbal therapy is turmeric or curcumin. Curcumin is an extract of the spice turmeric (aka Curcuma longa), and the recent surge in popularity of “turmeric lattes” may prove beneficial to people with UC.

Curcumin was shown to maintain remission of UC for up to six months and was also helpful in improving quality of life during active UC. (2)

The traditional use of turmeric is as an anti-inflammatory agent for joint pain and liver dysfunction. It is no surprise then that curcumin is an effective anti-inflammatory for UC.

Silymarin

Silymarin, the anti-inflammatory component of the seeds of milk thistle (aka Silybum marianum) also demonstrated remission maintenance in people with UC for up to six months. (2)

Traditionally, silymarin has been used to regenerate diseased liver cells and improve liver function.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel, a commonly used botanical for painful sunburns, was shown to help achieve symptom remission in active UC.

The gel is found inside the long leaves of the aloe vera plant and has been used traditionally as an anti-inflammatory agent for digestive concerns such as ulcers.

Aloe has also demonstrated an ability to stimulate connective tissue formation and wound healing.

Cannabis Oil

A proprietary extract of cannabinoids from cannabis sativa oil, known as GWP42003, was helpful in achieving symptom remission in UC. (2)

Although still not legal for use as an over the counter remedy, these promising results in UC gives hope for the eventual legalisation and greater accessibility of medical marijuana oils in Canada.

Speak with your doctor to find out if this is the right treatment for you.

Andrographis

Andrographis paniculata, known as the “king of bitters” in India, is an excellent digestive tonic for individual cases of gastrointestinal disease. Andrographis was also helpful in achieving symptom remission in active UC. (2)

Commonly used to fight against cold and flu symptoms, Andrographis has anti-viral properties and is now found in most herbal cold and flu remedies.

Green tea

Finally, it’s a good idea to grab a cup of green tea. An antioxidant called Epigallocatechin-3-galate (EGCG) is found in green tea, and people taking EGCG were more likely to achieve UC symptom remission than those taking a placebo. (2)

Another useful property of green tea is the anti-anxiety effect of theanine; an amino acid exclusive to green tea that promotes a relaxed state while not compromising alertness.

UC sufferers often experience mood disorders as a consequence of their disease, so a few cups of green tea a day can go a long way to promoting a better quality of life.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

In combination with standard drug therapy, the Chinese herbal formulas Chan Yu ning syrup/granule, Gu chang zhi xie wan, and Kui jie ling granules, were all shown to improve both symptoms and gut inflammation in active cases of UC. (2)

Licensed acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine doctors use their knowledge of pathology and organ systems to formulate a herbal preparation that is individualised to your specific needs.

Everyone is different, and their responses to stressors are different; TCM takes this into account with the use of botanicals and acupuncture to improve health and well-being.

With a long history of botanical medicines in cultures around the world, it is no surprise that herbal remedies exist to treat some of the most prevalent gastrointestinal diseases we face today.

For more information on which remedies are right for you, speak with your naturopathic doctor.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Ulcerative Colitis? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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Are emotions triggering your IBS symptoms - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Are emotions triggering your IBS symptoms?

It is not uncommon for clients of mine to tell me that their IBS is worse when they are stressed.

But did you know that often deeper issues may be the problem?

Do you find that your IBS seems to strike at random?

That you cannot identify particular foods that trigger an attack?

Emotions and memories held within your body may be to blame.

I want to share my story

In my mid-30s I was diagnosed with IBS. Before that, I had very few digestive issues, beyond a known intolerance to lactose.

It was a particularly stressful time. I had been severely let down by my then partner, and also by my manager at work who had let me take the blame for something that was, in fact, their doing.

My doctor was of little use. He prescribed some meds to control the symptoms and when asked what could have caused these symptoms he vaguely said: “Oh, could be almost anything..” Very helpful!

I had an allergy test through a naturopathic doctor, which did identify a few food triggers, and I was better for avoiding them. However, the symptoms persisted.

A couple of years later I met my now husband, who was trained in the natural allergy treatment, NAET. He successfully desensitised me to the foods that had been identified, and some others too. Again, this helped, but .. the symptoms persisted.

My reactions seemed to be almost random, I would have changed nothing in my diet, but the IBS would flare up.. it was a very frustrating time.

Organs and emotions

It was when I met with a Shaman and Energy healer that I finally found some answers.

He taught me that each of our organs holds particular emotions.
The large intestine (Colon) is associated with loss, sadness, loneliness, grief.

The small intestine to betrayal, abandonment, insecurity, being lost and vulnerable, deserted.

This made absolute sense to me. I had been betrayed and abandoned by my former partner and then betrayed by my manager.

The Shaman also told me that the reason for my extreme reaction to these more recent events was due to emotions and memories held within my body from a difficult childhood, and also my mother’s experiences as a child, which was attached to my genes; a “genetic memory”.

The recent events had triggered these memories and stored emotions, leading to actual physical symptoms of IBS.

So how can we resolve these issues?

The simple answer is that we need to release these emotions from our bodies.
We cannot change events that have happened to us, but we can effectively “file these away” in our past, so they are not so raw and able to impact our current state.

However, achieving this is not so simple as snapping your fingers, and it is done… if only it were!
It is a process through which we have to work. So how can we do this?

In my case, I was led to work with the Shaman using hands-on energy work to release the trapped emotions and bring balance.

I also had many sessions of Shamanic journeying where I learnt to let go of the memories passed down by my mother.

And now?

This is still a work in progress, and I do occasionally get triggered by events in my life. However, my IBS is almost entirely resolved, and on the odd occasion I do have a flare up, I am always very well able to identify the particular incident that has triggered my emotional response, and I can work to resolve the situation.

This experience has also led me to study NAET allergy therapy and to become a hands-on energy healer.

Come and find out more about how your emotions may be triggering your IBS and other health concerns

I offer a free meet and greet to discuss your questions.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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What is irritable bowel syndrome - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a commonly diagnosed condition that is classified as a combination of symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, alternating constipation and diarrhea, cramps, gas and bloating. Often issues resolve after a bowel movement. 

This array of symptoms (which do not necessarily need to be in conjunction with each other), to me, present as an undiagnosed food sensitivity.  Especially because IBS  is not a degenerative condition – as we see it in people of all ages, and it is primarily diagnosed earlier in life.

What makes this ailment unique is that it is manifested in patients much younger than typical conditions.

How is it diagnosed?

So what happens when Irritable Bowel Syndrome is suspected? 

Well, first off, one would present with the symptoms listed above and the Doctor would ask a series of questions. These usually relate to symptoms, some issues related to the person’s regular diet can vary considerably depending on the physician.

Next, there would be a series of tests requisitioned. Again, depending on the Doctor, the variety of tests can also vary widely, ranging from stool samples to blood tests and sometimes even MRI’s.

Once the results of each of these tests come back negative, a process that can take a couple of days or weeks of simple testing, or for some a long, harrowing tale of medical procedures, then and only then, will the patient be diagnosed with IBS. 

We call this process a diagnosis of exclusion; it’s a conclusion drawn by process of elimination, meaning we decide that a patient has Irritable Bowel Syndrome when nothing else can be determined.

What comes next?

Once a person has been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome the variations of what happens next are astounding and based, primarily, on the patient’s personality;

Will they fill every prescription offered them and continue managing symptoms? 

Will they take matters into their own hands and seek alternative advice, perhaps in the natural health world? 

Will they do their own research and be able to investigate any food sensitivities on their own? 

All of these are options.

The inconsistencies in the way this condition is diagnosed and dealt with tell me the allopathic establishment does not have a firm handle on what is causing IBS. 

In my (very) humble experience the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome rectify once food sensitivities are identified, removed and the gut is re-balanced. 

This process sounds easier than it is and it requires a personal commitment but if engagement and action exist so does relief.

Book a free meet and greet with me to find out more about food sensitivities and IBS.

Disclaimer

This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are granting: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
Effective means of Controlling Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Effective means of Controlling Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS affects 10-15% of North Americans, affects twice as many females as males, and is considered one of the most common reasons for people to miss school or work.  In fact, the estimated direct and indirect cost of this literal pain in the bump is 41 billion per year!

So what is it?

IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder involving changes in intestinal mobility.  It is also known as spastic colon and symptoms include abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation or diarrhea or both.  No structural change is seen in the digestive tract, however, and theories as to the cause of IBS include  gut–brain axis problems, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, genetic factors, food sensitivity, and gut motility problems.1

The TCM take

Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM takes the allopathic diagnosis into account, but always treats based on a patient’s presenting TCM pattern.  One very common root cause of IBS in TCM theory is Liver overacting on the Spleen.  This can be translated as stress (Liver Qi stagnation) affecting our digestive system (or Spleen-Pancreas function).  It is not surprising then, that commonly those with IBS are experiencing anxiety, depression or chronic fatigue syndrome alongside their digestive issues.

In my experience, a great improvement in digestive functioning often happens after just one acupuncture treatment!  The digestive function has always been of special interest to me as the old saying goes ‘we are what we eat’ and what comes out afterwards is highly indicative of our health and is a key tool we use to diagnose TCM patterns.  Acupuncture is believed to regulate the gastrointestinal tract by stimulating the somatic nervous system and vagus nerve and thus changing visceral sensation and motility.   

What to do

If you or someone you know is living with IBS then a trip to your local holistic health clinic may be your best bet in finding relief from your symptoms and unearthing the root cause.  Looking at food sensitivities (to be distinguished from true allergies), specific diet protocols for SIBO and incorporating acupuncture into your treatment plan are all things you can do to take back your health and improve your day-to-day living. 

Also, do what you can to encourage relaxation of your body and mind.  Yoga or a mindfulness practice is a great way to help your body’s fight-or-flight nervous system settle and promote the rest-and-digest system which too often takes a back seat in society today and is critical in all aspects of healing.

Disclaimer

This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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By submitting this form, you are granting: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
How an osteopath can help constipation - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

How an Osteopath can help constipation

For constipation, a medical treatment typically consists of dietary modification, increased fluid intake and exercise frequency, but many people do not respond to these interventions. Osteopathy may be a solution for you!

Osteopathic treatment is claimed to restore normal function to the digestive system and related somatic structures and may provide an effective treatment for constipation

Instead of just masking the problem, it’s better to find the cause of the problem and work towards correcting it. Two main factors must be mentioned to explain the phenomenon of constipation:

Nutrition

Constipation often happens because of a low-fiber or high-fat diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough fluids. Certain medications, not going when you feel the urge, laxative abuse, and pregnancy can also lead to constipation.

Dietary advice to help constipation:

  • Drink regularly;
  • Avoid refined foods (white sugar, alcohol, fries, fats, etc.);
  • Focus on whole foods including: Black bread, Whole cereals such as oat bran and psyllium; Eat fruits such as apple, cherry, prune; Eat, in general, foods containing fibres.

Emotional situation

The emotional factor and stress shouldn’t be forgotten in the treatment of constipation.

Overall, people who have constipation have experienced a significant event; an emotional shock, a stress and there might be a birth defect as a result of a breach.

In any case, it will be important for the patient to talk about the problem. Moreover, by performing a work of osteopathy cranial one can manage to reduce the stress that often plays a role in the phenomenon of constipation.

How Osteopathy can help constipation

Osteopathy can have a significant result in the treatment and management of your constipation. An osteopath will view the patient as a whole rather than just the symptoms to determine the most appropriate course of action.

The key to treatment is to use visceral manipulation (hands-on technique) to:

  • Restore mobility to the small and large intestine;
  • Restart the motility to the small and large intestine;
  • Decongest and remove adhesions;
  • Harmonise the fascia around intestine;
  • Promote good abdominal vasculature.

The osteopath can add Cranial Osteopathy at the end to regulate the innervation of the intestine and ensure its proper functioning, in harmony with the primary respiration.

Most of our patients report an improvement in the overall severity of constipation, symptoms and quality of life.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Constipation? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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Bitter herbs for IBS and other digestive complaints

Bitter herbs for IBS and other digestive complaints

The belief that herbal medicine has to taste bad to be beneficial is not always true. The spirited flavour of peppermint (Mentha piperita) or the sweetness of liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is both tasty and effective medicine. However, in the case of a class of herbs called bitters, it is true.

How do they work?

When the bitter flavour mingles with the taste buds on the tongue, it sets in motion a series of physiological responses that enhance the appetite, improve digestion and aid in the absorption of nutrients from food.

The bitter flavour on the tongue causes the stomach to release gastric juices, stimulates bile flow from the gallbladder and the pancreas to secrete insulin. The bitter taste does this by acting on the part of the nervous system that is responsible for digestion and assimilation of food, the parasympathetic system.

When to use bitters

In old herbal terms, bitters are used when the digestion is sluggish. Or in other words, bitters get things flowing.

Bitter herbs are useful when food sits like a lump in the stomach, causing bloating and constipation. Bitters are useful for those who have no appetite and continue to gain weight. Older folks who have lost their appetite find their hunger with the help of bitter herbs. At the other end of life’s spectrum, when a baby suffers from colic, mild bitters such as catnip (Cataria nepeta) or chamomile (Matricaria recutita) ease griping pain.

For those recovering from a chronic illness that has depleted the body’s resources, bitter herbs improve the absorption of nutrients from food. This, in turn, enhances energy levels and shortens recovery time.

When offering iron-rich herbs to those drained by anaemia, a bitter herb in the formula will help the body absorbed iron.

How much to take

To benefit from all that bitter herbs can do for the digestive system, one does not need to take a significant amount of the herbs. All that is necessary is to taste the bitter flavour. Remember the medicine is in the taste.

To use bitters to improve digestion, whether three months or 90 years old, take a couple of sips of bitter tea 20 minutes before each meal. This primes the digestive system and prepares your body for an incoming meal.

Another way to take advantage of the bitter flavour is to have a salad of bitter greens before each meal. This method is particularly useful for those who suffer from bloating and constipation or have no appetite but continue to gain weight. Romaine lettuce is considered a bitter green, as are dandelion leaves and endive. Try the salad without dressing, or use a little vinegar and olive oil. Don’t mask the bitter flavour with sweet store bought salad dressings.

Additional benefits

Bitter herbs also have a long history of easing depression which accompanies anxiety. This is because the part of the nervous system that primes the digestive tract, the parasympathetic system, also relaxes the mind.

Nature is economical. To digest food well, one needs to be relaxed. The mnemonic for the parasympathetic system is “rest and digest”. Bitters, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, relax the mind and improve digestion. A two for one deal, all for a little bit of bitter!

How bitter is “bitter”?

The bitter herbs used to relieve depression and anxiety, are very bitter. Herbalists, actually have a scale which measures a herb’s bitter flavour. The two herbs considered the most bitter are gentian (Gentiana lutea) and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).

Wormwood, although other bitters can be used, is the choice herb to relieve depression with anxiety. It is in my opinion that wormwood is the most unpleasant tasting herb. One of my clients complained bitterly about the taste of his medicine that contained wormwood.

“It tastes so bad; it has to work!”  

Fortunately, wormwood is considered a potent herb, and one only needs a small amount to be effective. Please note, I do not recommend using Wormwood without a herbalist advice, as it has narrow therapeutic range. This means that has the potential of becoming toxic to the body when overused.

A note of caution

Bitters, as useful as they are, are not for everyone.

If you suffer from a peptic ulcer bitters can increase the burning sensation and prolong the healing process. Because bitters are used to relieve constipation, avoid them if the bowels are loose.

In pregnancy, avoid herbs that have a strong, bitter flavour, like wormwood and gentian.

Come and find out more about herbs and their benefits!

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up for FREE updates delivered to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are granting: Ottawa Holistic Wellness, 356 MacLaren Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0M6, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.
Is your Irritable Bowel triggered by Food Allergies - Ottawa Holistic Wellness

Is your Irritable Bowel triggered by Food Allergies?

So, you have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel or IBS? Or maybe you suspect that you have IBS?

You are experiencing constipation / diarrhoea / bloating / gas and / or cramping. Your doctor has may be prescribed some meds to control the symptoms but otherwise been of little help?

The same thing happened to me at the age of 33. Up until then, I had not had any digestive issues other than cramps if I drank glasses of milk, and suddenly I was in the washroom multiple times, usually at short notice and experiencing terrible diarrhoea, cramps and gas. Everywhere I went the first thing I did was find out where the closest washroom was located.. sound familiar?

When my doctor diagnosed IBS, I asked: “So, what causes this?”

He said vaguely, “Oh, could be anything..” When I asked about allergies, he stated categorically that there was no possible link between allergies and IBS, and prescribed meds to control the cramping and diarrhoea.

On the suggestion of a friend, I had an allergy test. It came up positive for yeast, cow’s milk products including cheese (I was a BIG cheese fan) and wheat. I immediately cut these foods out of my diet and within 48hrs felt almost completely normal. What a relief!

My doctor was very sceptical. However, I knew that just a few mouthfuls of bread or one glass of wine, which contains a lot of yeast, and I would be in the washroom for most of the next morning.

The top food allergens include wheat, corn, soy, yeast, milk and eggs, however, we are all unique individuals, and you can be reacting to any of the foods you are ingesting.

A true allergy causes an immune response and will trigger an almost immediate reaction. Once that food has been eliminated from your system you will likely feel much better.

If you have an intolerance to food the reaction will be slower. There is no immediate immune response, and it is more an issue with digesting, breaking down and absorbing the food. The reaction can take several days to reach a peak. This makes it quite difficult to work out what is triggering your reactions as it may be nothing you ate today or even yesterday.

So, how do you find out whether you have food allergies?

There are many ways to test.

You can try an elimination diet, removing suspected foods and monitoring the result. After a trial period without the foods, you reintroduce them one at a time. It can be difficult to obtain definite answers, particularly when you are reacting to several foods – eliminating one brings little relief as you are still reacting to the others.

Your family doctor or a naturopathic doctor can requisition a blood test which looks for antibodies to certain foods. You have to be eating the allergens in your everyday diet to be tested, so if you have removed say wheat and then want to find out if you are Celiac the doctor will ask that eat it for several weeks or even months before testing.

I have found blood testing to be reasonably accurate for allergies, but that it can provide false negatives for intolerances and emotional reactions to foods where there is no immune response.

Skin testing can also provide answers. Your family doctor will need to refer you to a medical allergist to have this done. In my practice, I have found this method ideal for identifying bigger allergies, but have also seen cases where the skin showed no reaction even though there is a strong reaction when eating that food.

As a Natural Allergist, I prefer to use Muscle Response Testing, also known as Autonomic Response Testing or Applied Kinesiology. This method utilises the body’s response to potential allergens and can assess allergies, intolerances and emotional reactions to foods. It is an effective way of asking the body to tell us what it likes and does not like. It has the added benefit that you do not have to be eating the allergens to be tested.

Whichever method you choose having an allergy test can provide much-needed answers and, as in my case, bring enormous relief from your IBS symptoms.

If you want to find out more about the triggers for IBS, come for a complimentary initial consultation with one of my colleagues at Ottawa Holistic Wellness or me.

Disclaimer

This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.

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