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Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common digestive disorder that affects as many as 20 percent of adults in the US. It can involve symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, intestinal cramping, pain, and bloating.
Causes of IBS
IBS impacts more women than men. It can also be referred to as spastic colon or spastic colitis but is not related to ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
IBS is a chronic disorder that often needs long-term management. However, it can be transient and typically does not cause intestinal damage. The symptoms of IBS can be unpleasant and disruptive, so understanding causes and triggers can be helpful for finding relief.
Common causes or triggers of IBS can include any of the following:
- Hormonal changes involved in menstruation and/or pregnancy
- Food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances
- Stress and/or anxiety
- Too much caffeine
- Lack of beneficial bacteria in the gut
- Greasy and/or spicy foods
Celiac disease or other gastrointestinal diseases or disorders can increase the likelihood of experiencing the symptoms of IBS.
How Do You Heal IBS?
IBS responds well to certain dietary and lifestyle changes to manage symptoms and flares. This can lead to fewer episodes of discomfort and pain.
There is no specific IBS diet, but generally, an ancestral diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods can be therapeutic for a sensitive gut. While avoiding greasy, fried, and processed foods, along with caffeine and added sugars, you’ll eat plenty of:
- Grass-fed, pasture-raised, and wild-caught proteins
- Healthy fats
- Vegetables and fruits (as tolerated)
- Nuts and seeds (as tolerated)
Some people with IBS may also have related digestive conditions, like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). They may do better following a Low FODMAP or similar diet, that eliminates or reduces certain types of carbs that may lead to painful intestinal cramping or bloating.
Today’s Simple Step
Do you have days where it doesn’t matter what you do, your intestines seem to be aggravated? If this happens during times of stress or regularly (like during your menstrual cycle), then it could be a sign that you have IBS. Even if you don’t have marked digestive symptoms, paying attention to how you feel after you eat and generally how your body digests and processes food can provide valuable information. If you do notice that you have a pattern of bloating, discomfort, or other symptoms, you can easily take your insights to your healthcare provider or nutrition professional to ask about dietary modifications that will give you relief.
Lamb Broth is a wonderful addition to any ancestral diet. Rich in zinc and other nutrients, broths are easy to digest and perfect for cooking soups or stews. Regularly consuming broth can be soothing for digestive health.