Have you struggled with your digestion for a long time? You are not alone. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. According to the International Foundation of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, about 2/3 of which people are female. So what is IBS?
IBS is a group of symptoms, including abdominal pain or discomfort and changes in bowel movement patterns like constipation or diarrhea. Doctors often call IBS a “functional gastrointestinal disorder”, meaning that the GI tract doesn’t function properly, but doesn’t show any physical damage. This label, IBS, is an overarching diagnosis of exclusion. This means someone has undergone testing and procedures, and everything comes back looking “normal”. Doctors are unable to identify a condition that explains the uncomfortable symptoms. So really, no actual cause has been found, which can be incredibly frustrating.
Unfortunately, instead of searching for the root cause of the issue, doctor’s typically prescribe medications to manage the symptoms of the disease, that in the long run, end up creating more harm than good. These medications can lead to other symptoms, side effects, further deterioration of healthy gut flora and gut lining, as well as covering up an underlying irritant that over time is likely to lead to a much more serious disease, like an autoimmune condition.
What Causes IBS?
The causes of IBS symptoms can be a number of issues like leaky gut, yeast or candida overgrowth, food sensitivities, parasites, unmanageable stress, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Tests can be done with a functional medicine practitioner to help identify which of these is causing your painful symptoms.
How to Heal IBS Symptoms
What we believe in here at Clean, a functional medicine approach for treatment, is comprised of four basic clinical steps — remove, replace, reintroduce and repair.
Remove - First we have to remove anything from the diet that is potentially causing damage, inflammation, and irritation in the gut — gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, sugar, nightshades, alcohol, caffeine, prescription drugs, bad bacteria, infections from parasites and yeast. It’s important to do this for a consistent period of time, like three weeks, so the body can truly reap the benefits. Removing all of these irritants immediately takes the pressure off the GI tract and decreases inflammation. For mild symptoms, this alone can solve the issue.
Replace - Then we replenish enzymes and acids lacking in the gastrointestinal environment. The Digestive Enzymes supplement the body with extra help to breakdown carbohydrates, proteins and fats while it is working toward a state of balance.
Reintroduce - The third step is to reintroduce the good bacteria into the intestine to establish microflora balance. Our Probiotic will do exactly that. The prebiotic-filled diet that you consume on the Clean Program, we’re talking lots of veggies, will also help feed these bacteria and allow them to thrive.
Repair - Now that we have gotten rid of the bad, and added in the good, we have to repair the damage that has been done. Some of this will happen on its own with the body’s own natural healing capabilities, however other supplements can help. Integrity, EPA-DHA, and Beta-Glucan are all incredible gut-supporting supplements that will help tame inflammation and heal the gut lining, leaving the GI tract functioning optimally.
The 21-Day Clean Program uses the principles of a functional medicine-based nutritional solution to heal the underlying cause of IBS, so suffering can finally diminish. It incorporates essential functions of detoxification such as reducing the workload of digestion, restoring the 12 hour window for proper rest and repair, rebuilding the inner environment with enzymes, prebiotics and nutrients, supporting the liver, and enhancing elimination.
If you suffer from IBS and are over feeling icky, the 21-Day Clean Program is the perfect way to start your journey towards better digestive health. We don’t have to live our lives on medications that suppress symptoms and leave the root cause of the issue unknown. Let’s take our health into our own hands.
Written by Hannah Aylward
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