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IBS is short for Irritable Bowel Syndrome – a collection of symptoms that result from abnormal functioning in the small and/or large bowel – the most common disorder of the human digestive tract and a medical condition often misunderstood.

Approximately 20% of the American population experience IBS symptoms, with women three times more likely to experience IBS than men. Major IBS symptoms include discomfort, pain, cramping and bloating in the abdominal area and stomach, excessive flatulence (wind), and severe constipation or chronic diarrhea (or both).

IBS and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) are separate medical conditions, but they commonly coexist and share many of the same symptoms. SIBO is a state of dysbiosis in which microbes normally found in the large intestine become overgrown in the small intestine.

Did You Know…

  • There are three main types of IBS: IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant), IBS-C (constipation-predominant), and IBS-M (diarrhea-constipation mixed).
  • >60% of IBS cases have a diarrheal component.
  • The leading cause of IBS is food poisoning.
  • 1 in 9 people who experience food poisoning will develop IBS.
  • IBS can be an autoimmunity.
  • SIBO shares almost identical symptoms to IBS.
  • Approx. 80% of patients with IBS may also have SIBO.
  • IBS can be managed with a doctor-designed personalized treatment plan.
  • SIBO can be treated with lifestyle changes and medications.
  • There are biomarkers for IBS that can be detected in a patient’s blood.
  • SIBO releases gas detectable in a patient’s exhaled breath.

The diagnosis of SIBO generally results from the clinical presentation and a positive breath test, although stool testing may give some indication. Treatment commonly incorporates antimicrobial medicinal and/or herbal treatments and probiotics to restore the gut microbiome homeostasis as well as dietary and lifestyle changes. A significant number of patients may experience a recurrence of SIBO symptoms.

Why does your gut matter?

By incorporating good gut health many digestive disorders can be avoided or relieved. There are three main reasons why we need to think about our gut health. First, our intestinal tract (bowel) contains trillions of microbes. These are an important part of our health because they produce different hormones and vitamins, and we couldn’t survive without them.

Second, most of the cells that make up our immune system are found in our digestive tract. Having good gut health is linked to fewer sick days and lower risk of allergies and autoimmune conditions. Finally, even if you put the healthiest food into your body, if you don’t have a healthy intestinal lining to digest it, you won’t get all the benefits of what you are eating.

8 Ways to improve your gut bacteria.

There are many things that affect your gut’s health, including the kind of gut bacteria it has and the foods you eat. A fresh, well-balanced diet is the best way to maintain a healthy gut.

  1. Eat a wide variety of foods

Your intestines contain hundreds of different species of bacteria, each of which plays a specific role in health and need different nutrients to grow. More health benefits are associated with having a more diverse microbiome.

  1. Eat many fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes for a healthy microbiome.

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients. They contain a lot of fiber, which your body can’t break down. However, certain gut bacteria can digest fiber, which encourages their growth. Pistachios, artichokes, blueberries, apples, and almonds increase Bifidobacteria and that can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve gut health.

  1. Eat fermented food sources

Fermented food has undergone a cycle in which yeast, or microbes separate the sugars they contain. Fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, Sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and tempeh, which are high in lactobacilli and are beneficial to your health.

  1. Eat prebiotic food varieties

Prebiotics advance the development of a few kinds of valuable microbes, including Bifidobacteria. By lowering insulin, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels, prebiotics may also reduce risk factors for specific health conditions, according to some studies.

  1. Eat whole grains

Whole grains contain non-digestible carbohydrates that can help the gut microbiome grow beneficial bacteria. These changes to the gut flora may improve certain aspects of metabolic health.

  1. Eat a diet heavily based on plants

A plant-based diet has been proven to increase gut health, producing widespread systemic effects related to metabolism, cardiovascular health, and more.

  1. Consume foods high in polyphenols

Regularly consuming polyphenols may boost digestion and brain health and protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Polyphenol-rich foods include but are not limited to dark chocolate, cocoa, red wine, grape skins, green tea, almonds, onions, blueberries, and broccoli.

  1. Increase your probiotic intake

Probiotics are live microorganisms, typically bacteria, that help keep you healthy. Probiotic-rich food includes yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha, miso, natto, and Sauerkraut.

The balance of bacteria in the gut flora can lead to many health benefits; however, if you are taking any other medications or have any underlying health conditions, consult your doctor before beginning. To learn more about testing for IBS and SIBO schedule a free discovery call with a member of our team. Schedule Here

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