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I want to let you in on a little secret.

· Have you been struggling with gut issues?

· Have you been to your doctor and been told there is nothing wrong?

· Or worse still you’ve been given a script for a proton Pump Inhibitor aka Nexium?

· Are you still suffering the same symptoms you had to begin with but now you’re not going to the toilet regularly?

So many of the clients I meet regularly are suffering from a chronic gut issue. They might have been given the label of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), or maybe they have self-diagnosed from Dr Google

These symptoms may be ongoing or come sporadically but either way when they are there it can be frustrating and even painful. There are some common signs I see when these people come to me frustrated.

· Chronic constipation or diarrohea (or alternating between both)

· Chronic bloating especially after meals and sometimes even after drinking water

· Tummy pain and cramping

· Gas (both ends)

· Burning reflux

· Feeling like they haven’t properly evacuated when going to the toilet with a bowel motion

· Nausea

· Anxiety (sometimes without a reason)

All these symptoms are signs of an unhappy digestive system. There is a feeling of sluggishness and fatigue. Low energy and sometimes despair as they have tried many things to try and help. All of this can lead to food intolerances and eating out becomes a nightmare as you’re not sure what you can eat that won’t set off the symptoms all again.

These are all a group of symptoms and are commonly called a syndrome when grouped together, in this case Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You may have been tested for things like Coeliac disease, bowel cancer, parasite infection, Crohns or Ulcerative colitis and all come back negative leaving the diagnosis to be ‘IBS’

So you may be thinking but I have some of the above symptoms but not all of them, well that’s the thing – you may not have all of them but a few and this is enough for the label to be slapped on. The patients that come to me not only have the some/all of the above but thye may also have joint pain, fatigue, mood swings, hormonal imbalances, sleep issues and so much more.

It can be so frustrating for the patient as all these things lumped together may seem hopeless. In fact they mat have been told by their doctor they will have to live with it as there is nothing you can do. I know I have been told this myself in the past. The eye-roll when trying to convey how I felt, the feeling of I am making it all up. ‘Go home and don’t stress’ they would tell me, but the stress would exacerbate the symptoms. And really who wants to talk about poop (apart from a Naturopath haha!)

We need to find the underlying cause/s and what could they possibly be? And how can we fix them?

Some of the more common reasons I see are

· Altered gut motility, meaning the food is not moving through the gut like it should and is starting to ferment before making all the way down. It might lead to the acid reflux, diarrhoea, gurgling and gas and overgrowth of the ‘bad’ bacteria.

· Dysbiosis is when the overgrowth of the bad guys begin to take over and crowd out or ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. We need to bring back the balance and harmony to make the terrain once again conducive to the good guys.

· Inflammation that is chronic and low-grade. It can be caused by the above two or something else like food intolerance or a chronic gut infection. This can lead to a condition called leaky gut where the contents in the stomach can make its way out into the bloodstream causing a myriad of other issues.

· An imbalance of stress hormones. Chronic stress or trauma for lifes many events can impact our gut and vice-a-versa, hence the mood swings, anxiety etc. We have our happy hormones ‘serotonin’ manufactured in our gut so it makes sense to keep the gut nice and healthy so we are all happy!

I love treating my patients for gut health as we see so many other issues begin to fall into place once the digestive system is happy. I have a basic protocol that I then alter to suit the individual and what is specifically going on with them.

Here are some of my tips that I have found to be really useful to find some relief from those sometimes-debilitating symptoms. Lets begin to heal from the foundational level.

1. Herbs like Chamomile, lemon Balm, fennel and marshmallow (not the lolly!) make my clients a herbal tonic with these herbs but you can start by making a tea and I have found that this can ease symptoms.

2. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and is also a digestive to help with motility of the gut. Try adding some to your meals or even chew on abit if you can stand the heat

3. Iberogast can be found at chemists, health food stores or a naturopath. It is a ready made tonic that has been shown to relieve symptoms.

4. Digestive enzymes these are great when you are having trouble breaking down the foods as they help with digestion as the name suggests, I would only ever recommend a good quality one that is practitioner only.

5. Including Omega-3 might help reduce inflammation, so adding sardines, salmon, ground flaxseeds, hemp or chia seeds.

6. Turmeric a known anti-inflammatory and liver supportive herb. As a bonus it can also help with mood.

7. Probiotics to help restore the microbiome. You can try adding fermented foods like sauerkraut, Miso and the like into your diet. Be wary of too much Kombucha as it can feed Candida overgrowth.

8. Prebiotic powder like PHHG a hydrolysed gum powder that soothes the gut and encourages the growth of the beneficial bacteria.

9. While the gut is inflamed I suggest eliminating dairy, gluten and sugars as three are known inflammatory agents to everyone. Once the inflammation goes down and back on track they can be reintroduced so don’t be worried you wont be able to eat your favourite croissant ever again.

10. Learning to manage stress. I get my patients to do several things to help with this like mindfulness techniques, mantras and even using a gratitude diary can be helpful. Of course our special mineral to help with stress control is Magnesium again only get a good brand as some of them are not utilised by the body and you will just be wasting you money.

I hope if this has been helpful for you to begin the journey of healing your gut and getting some symptom relief. Of course with my clients both online and in Kensington Park I delve in and develop a protocol that is suited for the individual working on a deeper level. Sometimes this does entail testing and supplements along with lifestyle and dietary changes.

Let me know if you have found this helpful

Yours in the best of health

Fiona Chapman

Adelaide Naturopath

Melbourne Naturopath

Dynamic Health 08 8364 6663


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