Fifteen years ago, after having suffered with cramping, bloating, nausea and chronic constipation for several months, and, after having had some very invasive medical procedures, I was finally diagnosed with IBS.
I tried many remedies, some pharmaceutical, some holistic, and I played about with my diet. I would find relief from my symptoms for a short while, but then they would come back, often with a vengeance. I learned to live with these painful symptoms without really addressing them, and started to believe that feeling ill all the time was the norm.
Then, in the past year or so, my symptoms changed dramatically, going from cramping and constipation to chronic diarrhoea, extreme abdomen pain and joint problems, and I knew I had to do something to help myself. With so many people being diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s or Colitis, or Coeliac I feel it is so important to assess our diets and be wary of what we are putting into our bodies.
I started by looking at my diet with our nutritional therapist and I realised that gluten was a big problem for me. Over the past fifteen years I have cut out both gluten and dairy on occasion, but with little success with my previous symptoms. However, the new symptoms all pointed towards inflammation, which can be caused by gluten. I decided to cut it out completely and within a fortnight, my symptoms had eased and I was starting to sleep better. Cutting out gluten has also enabled me to start pin-pointing other foods which seem to trigger an IBS attack, once you get rid of one thing it becomes easier to identify what else might be causing problems.
Going gluten free isn’t easy, and one of the worst things you can do is just swap your usual bread, cereal, pasta etc for gluten free versions. Gluten free substitutions aren’t any healthier than the originals, they are just made with other (often sugar and calorie laden) ingredients. The best way is to cut those foods out 90% of the time, and stick to clean, unprocessed foods. Quinoa, rice and potatoes are good substitutes.
I had a course of acupuncture. Acupuncture is one of the most versatile therapies, it can treat several ailments at once. Acupuncture is great for pain relief, and for rebalancing the system, both of which I needed after being poorly with IBS for so long. It is also good for stress and anxiety, something which can cause IBS or make IBS symptoms worse.
Of course, cutting out gluten isn’t for everyone, and the therapies I have chosen to help me might not appeal to everyone, but they are just some of the treatments that are available to anyone suffering with IBS, or any kind of bowel disease. With any chronic illness, it’s important to choose the remedies which suit you best, and that you enjoy having.
If you or a loved one have any of the issues mentioned above, why not contact us at the clinic to see if we can help?