Can you cure IBS?
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
LifeTime WeightLoss in Anika DeCoster, IBS, Nutrition, gut health


IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, has been said to affect as much as 20% of the adult population.  With related symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating and frequent gas, anyone with IBS knows it’s embarrassing, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s especially discouraging when you are told there is no cure for it.  But is that absolutely true?  Conventional medicine says so, but many holistic practitioners will state otherwise and are paving a path to IBS-freedom for many people.   In fact, many of my clients have been able to kick IBS to the curb by following some simple recommendations.  Whether you’re a long-time sufferer or newly-diagnosed, you’ve got to try these tips below – you may just find complete gut-relief for good!

Is This Your Story?

Many people with IBS are hesitant to talk about it or consider new attempts at solutions to get rid of it – especially if they are long term sufferers.  But behind every reluctant, IBS- client I’ve come across, I’ve found a very familiar story.  This story entails a person with chronic stomach issues, whom, even after frequent doctors’ visits and thousands of dollars spent on diagnostic tests, still has no real answer to how to feel better or make those issues go away.  They’ve tried every related medication, even some laxatives that actually made their symptoms worse.  Does this sound like you?  I’m shocked at how many times I have heard this story, over and over with clients, leaving each one of them strung out and feeling as though they’ve exhausted all solutions.  But the story doesn’t have to end there. 

Step 1:  Check your Diet

When IBS symptoms are at its worse, it can seem as though that all foods go down wrong.  I can remember food journaling for this specific reason and could never identify which food or food groups were causing my symptoms.  What I didn’t know was that there was a certain list of high-inflammatory foods that can set the stage for IBS-related symptoms, including wheat, dairy, soy, corn, peanut and eggs.  The problem with these foods is they don’t always give an instant reaction after eating them, but instead, cause more of a delayed and subtle stimulation to the GI tract and immune system.  So it’s possible to not feel a reaction to the food until a day or two later.

Because of this, I encourage my IBS clients to do an elimination diet for at least 3 weeks or to get an IgG food allergy test done to confirm potential sensitivities.  Most often, I hear of IBS symptoms fading fast by simply going gluten or wheat free.  Although gluten-free has become a pretty mainstream recommendation, this population tends to have a hard time following through.  With recommendations to boost their fiber intake to ensure regularity, whole grains, Metamucil and high fiber bars tends to be on the menu versus natural sources of fiber found in beans and vegetables.   

Other gut irritants to watch or limit include, caffeine, sugar, sugar alcohols (sorbitol, erthyritol, etc), artificial fibers (chickory root, etc) and carageenan.  Make sure you read your ingredient lists religiously and opt to in to eating as many whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible to avoid coming into contact with any gut offenders. 

Step 2:  Watch your Stress

Stress management is an absolute must for any IBS sufferer.  Our guts are heavily linked to our adrenal system (glands that control our response to stress) and nervous system, so, when stress hormones are high, you can be sure to experience some of those gut-related symptoms.  I’ve had many clients follow a perfect and clean diet, yet, because of their uncontrolled stress hormones, haven’t been able to find freedom from IBS.  Stress management options include: 

  1. Gentle and Restorative exercise, such as yoga.
  2. Adequate sleep – 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night
  3. Meditation or breathing exercises
  4. Massage

For best results, assess your stress response through the Stress and Resilience saliva test to get more personalized recommendations.

Step 3:  Help Your Gut Heal

Managing stress and taking out potential food irritants are both super important, but I also highly recommend gut-supporting supplements to better influence that once-irritated environment.  Below are top supplements to promote optimal gut function:

Have you kicked IBS to the curb for good?  Share your comments or experience below!

Written By Anika DeCoster - Asst. Program Manager LifeTime WeightLoss

Article originally appeared on LifeTime WeightLoss (
See website for complete article licensing information.