Long before I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, Hashimoto’s or any of the other autoimmune issues I later acquired I was told my symptoms were due to IBS.
That was about the extent of the information I was given on the subject.
No dietary advice, no indication of what might trigger it or what might help, just learn to live with it.
In fact I was told there was no need to cut anything out of my diet at all!
From the age of 21 to turning 40 I constantly lived with these digestive symptoms, even after being diagnosed coeliac and cutting out the gluten.
Diet & IBS
IBS is common in those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other autoimmune disorders.
Thankfully today there is research out there that shows that changing diet can have a massive impact.
For me personally switching to the AIP protocol just after my 40th birthday helped stop all these digestive symptoms.
The AIP protocol has been shown to be effective in improving inflammation markers, immune activity, symptoms and quality of life in those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (1).
The Low FODMAP diet is also another that has been shown to vastly improve IBS symptoms and quality of life (2).
DIY Dietary intervention vs Professionally supervised for IBS
Both the AIP protocol and the Low FODMAP diet are extremely restrictive, cutting out many food groups.
They’re not designed to be followed long term because of this.
In fact trying to do them without the supervision of an experienced nutritional therapist can either lead to:
- most giving up as it’s just too hard
- getting stuck in the restriction phase
- being unable to reintroduce any of the foods that were taken out.
This in itself can lead to nutrient deficiencies and insufficiencies!
I was lucky when I decided to go down the AIP route I had the assistance of nutritional therapist. I was able to reintroduce a few things no problem. But when she retired I found myself stuck not being able to tolerate any new reintroductions.
Studying nutrition myself got me out of that loop.
But I know not everyone has the inclination, time or means to sign onto a nutrition course.
The Gut-Brain axis and IBS: Is it really a thing?
Not all gut related IBS symptoms are isolated within the gut.
The Gut-brain axis is bidirectional, gut microbes within the gut are able to communicate with the central nervous system via the nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system (3).
Any disturbance whether from the gut, the gut bacteria or the brain can cause dysregulation of the cycle.
Stress, anxiety and trauma can all be triggers for IBS symptoms
In fact stress can alter the gut-brain axis interaction and can lead to IBS and IBD among other gastrointestinal disorders (4).
Stress can (4):
- impact gastrointestinal motility
- increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
- increase visceral perception (pain),
- decrease the gastrointestinal tracts ability to repair itself and to maintain the mucosal lining and the blood flow to it
- imbalance gastrointestinal bacteria
- alter gastrointestinal secretions
Can lifestyle interventions help with IBS?
Considering the discovery of the gut-brain axis it has opened up new avenues of research for treatment options for IBS.
In fact a recent study has shown hypnotherapy to be as effective at improving IBS symptoms and quality of life as the Low FODMAP diet and has greater efficacy in improving the psychological aspects of IBS (5).
Yoga, meditation and exercise are also showing promise as effective treatment options in improving IBS symptoms.
And although I have found no current research on the use of EFT (emotional freedom technique) tapping in the use with IBS, I have personally seen great improvement with it, in helping to break that dysregulation between the gut-brain axis much as hypnotherapy does.
Want some help making sense of all this?
That’s where I come in!
I don’t only focus on diet and the gut but on the whole system, including looking at lifestyle interventions.
How does no more bloating, belching, reflux, cramping, gas, diarrhoea or constipation sound?
Living without all those symptoms is completely doable! In fact when I work with clients those IBS type symptoms are the first to go!
Followed by the fatigue, brain fog and pain to name a few!
Go ahead and Book a free 30 minute Hashimoto’s Health Discovery call to find out how I can help you break out of that loop and get rid of those IBS symptoms.
Want to know more about me and my journey? You can find more details here.