I NEED THE RESTROOM, NOW! Dealing with IBS

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Many women I know have issues with diarrhea.  It limits their lives in ways that I can’t begin to imagine.

A dear friend of mine has such bad IBS and a strong reaction to lactose that she spends a large part of her morning confined to the nearest restroom if she is able to make it out of her house at all.  All this from eating a tiny bowl of ice cream or a cup of yogurt!

So what is really happening when we experience this issue?

It is truly amazing how much water is usually absorbed through the colon – two gallons every day.  If you have chronic diarrhea, you aren’t getting the maximum benefit from foods because you are not absorbing all the nutrients.

Diarrhea is a symptom, not a disease.  It is characterized by the frequent passage of watery stools.

Some of the more common causes are viruses, food poisoning, parasites, anxiety and nervousness or reactions to food, alcohol or medications.  Antibiotic, antacids and other products containing magnesium, anti-hypertensive medications, laxatives that are not bulk forming and medications for irregular heartbeat can all cause diarrhea.

Diarrhea is a healthy way for your body to eliminate the irritant causing you a  problem. Most experts consider it best to let it run its course if possible, while rehydrating to prevent dehydration.
You should seek medical attention if you have a temp above 101, a black tarry stool or diarrhea that persists for more than 10 days.

Here are  some of the specific causes of diarrhea:

The use of Antibiotics cause the intestines to become inflamed.  The result is diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever.  One of the easiest things to do to combat this issue is to take probiotics.

People who have lactase deficiency also have problems with diarrhea.  Milk sugar, lactose, cannot be absorbed by the small intestines.  Bacteria in the colon break the lactose into simple sugars, which then exert an osmotic force in the colon, resulting in loose stools.  Avoiding dairy will generally help you to avoid this type of reaction.

Certain bacteria give off toxins that stick to the intestinal lining.  Although these toxins do not damage the intestinal lining they do cause the cells to secrete massive amounts of fluid, which results in voluminous watery diarrhea so typical of food poisoning.

Certain diseases can result in diarrhea.  Crohn’s disease , a common form of inflammatory bowel disease, tends to impair absorption and leads to diarrhea.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome or (IBS) is the most common cause on chronic diarrhea in women in developed countries.

Acute diarrhea can also be cause by parasites.  Many times these are found in contaminated water and can be very common in developing countries.

Traveler’s Diarrhea is caused by ingesting contaminated food and/or water.

Chronic diarrhea, or an issue that last beyond 2 weeks, is often caused by another disease.  Patients with AIDS are prone to develop diarrhea.  Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s and certain bowel infections, along with gallbladder removal and the consumption of a high fat diet can result in diarrhea.

Here are some tips on what to avoid and what you might want to try.  Remember that everyone is different, what works for one person may not work for you.

When you are experiencing diarrhea you usually are not hungry.  It is your body’s way of not feeding the intestinal “bugs”.  Many people find relief in the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.  These foods are binding and bland.

Foods that have a  high protein content such as meat, chicken, fish and eggs more readily support overgrowth of bacteria than do carbohydrates.  Dry food is less likely to cause food poisoning.  One important key is refrigeration: food should never be allowed to sit without refrigeration for more than three hours.

Avoid sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol that are found in dietetic candies and sweets that cause diarrhea.  Some people have the same reaction to fructose and lactose.

Avoid dairy products as lactose is an irritant for many people.

Investigate food allergies and sensitivities with an elimination diet.

Take probiotics to restore the healthy bacteria that can be destroyed by taking antibiotics.

Use olive oil.  Some studies show that oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olive oil slowed down the transit time in people with chronic diarrhea.  Give it a try and see if it works for you.

Use Psyllium daily to solidify stools.  Begin with 1 to 2 teaspoons in at least 8 oz of water.  It may give you gas at first but that should calm down after a few days.

Hydrate:  The most important thing you can do if you have a bout of diarrhea is to drink 8 to 10 glasses of fluid.  Water, fruit juice or vegetable juice is the best.  Avoid dairy products since milk sugar may be poorly absorbed and cause more irritation.

To avoid traveler’s diarrhea remember to always drink from sealed water bottles.  The most common food contaminates are fruits and veggies.  If you can’t peel it don’t eat it.  Washing fruit in local water will only make it worse.  Wash your hands frequently.

Diarrhea is seldom serious but can be very annoying and restrictive.

As a nutrition coach I help many of my clients figure out what food affect their digestion and what food really enhance their health.  If I can be of any help, let me know.

I would love to hear from you.

You Deserve to be Healthy!

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome, So Now What Do I Do, Part Two!

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Okay so here is what we know so far…….click here to read part one in case you missed it!

There is a connection between food intolerances and IBS.

Keeping a food journal can help you to make the connections between what you are eating and your IBS flare-ups.

Soluble and insoluble fiber can make a huge difference in your symptoms.

Sugar is a huge factor in perpetuating your IBS symptoms.

The importance of probiotics.

How important it is too eat smaller meals slowly so as not to overwhelm your digestive tract.

So, now let’s talk about other changes that you can make to get control of your IBS.

Limit the amount of fatty foods that you eat.
Red meat is a very common trigger that can cause a reaction instantly.
Some find that they feel better if they eliminate red meat all together.

Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
Water regulates the digestion as well as powers the muscles.
If you are dehydrated your digestive problems will be amplified.

Along with eating slower, eat foods that make digestion easier.
When you are experiencing a flare-up, eat food that has been processed in a way that makes it easier for your body to obtain the nutrients that it needs without working overtime.
Soups and smoothies are perfect for these times.

Along with the food irritants we discussed earlier, avoid alcohol, tobacco and gum.
Alcohol and tobacco are very acidic and will irritate your system.
Most gums contain artificial sweeteners and chemicals that just don’t sit well with a twitchy digestion.

Take a multi vitamin.
For many, IBS makes it hard for the body to absorb the proper nutrients.
While there is no substitution for real whole foods, help your body along during these tough times but adding a good multi.

Use herbs as medicine.
You don’t have to be a trained herbalist or go foraging in the rain forest to gain relief from herbs.
Here are a few that I recommend.

Peppermint is one of the oldest herbal remedies known to woman.
You can take it for indigestion, gas and nausea.
It has an anti-spasmodic action with a calming effect on the muscles of the stomach, intestinal tract and uterus.
It is an anti-bacterial.
It stimulates the gallbladder to secrete its store of bile which the body uses to digest fats.
It improves the muscles that line the stomach and intestines and relieves diarrhea and has a calming numbing effect on the whole GI tract.
It can be such a strong muscle relaxant that it can cause problems for people with GERD or heartburn.

Chamomile is considered an official drug in 26 countries.
It is an antispasmodic., anti-fungal, anti inflammatory, anti-peptic and has incredible sedative properties.
It has a dramatic calming affect on smooth muscle tissue, which makes it the perfect remedy for gastrointestinal spasm, and menstrual cramps.

Ginger is instrumental in helping to relieve many different gastrointestinal symptoms ranging from simple gas to severe nausea and cramps.
It provides relief for morning sickness, post chemotherapy nausea and has been shown to be more effective for preventing motion sickness than Dramamine.
If you have overeaten a meal, it has proven to be very helpful as it contains a very powerful digestive enzymes.
Ginger also tones digestive muscles.

Other herbs that play a role in digestive disorder relief are: fennel, caraway, anise, oregano and catnip.

As you can see there are foods that can cause your IBS flare-ups, foods that will help ease your issues, ways of eating as well as herbs that will go a long way to reduce the number of occurrences as well as the severity of the problems you are having with IBS.

If you want to learn more about your IBS symptoms and want to make the steps to be free of this limiting issue, forever, shoot me an email and let’s talk!

You Deserve to be Healthy!
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Creating Digestive Health with Probiotics

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Intestinal flora plays an important role in our ability to fight infectious disease, providing a front line in our immune defense.

According to the US Surgeon General “Normal microbial flora provides a passive mechanism to prevent infection.” 
It also manufactures many vitamins including: the B-complex vitamins, folic acid and vitamin K.
 
Experts have debated on how to define probiotics. One widely used definition, developed by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, is that probiotics are “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” (Microorganisms are tiny living organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, and yeasts — that can be seen only under a microscope.)
 
Some probiotic foods date back to ancient times, such as fermented foods and cultured milk products. Interest in probiotics in general has been growing; Americans’ spending on probiotic supplements, for example, nearly tripled from 1994 to 2003.
 
Most probiotics are bacteria similar to those naturally found in people’s guts, especially in those of breastfed infants (who have natural protection against many diseases). Most often, the bacteria come from two groups, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Within each group, there are different species (for example, Lactobacillus acidophilus andBifidobacterium bifidus), and within each species, different strains (or varieties). A few common probiotics, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, are yeasts, which are different from bacteria.
 
Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium increase the absorption of minerals that require acid for absorption such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese.

It also increases our resistance to food poisoning.  Some food-borne infections lead to chronic illness, causing heart and valve problems, immune system disorders, joint disease, and possibly even cancer.  These floras make the intestinal tract inhospitable to the invading microbes.  It is a misconception that they kill invading microbes.  They actually change the environment by secreting large amounts of acids that make the area unsuitable for pathogens.
 
These floras can play a part in keeping your heart healthy.  They normalize serum cholesterol and triglycerides.
 
Probiotics also help us to metabolize foreign substances, like mercury and pesticides and protects us from damaging radiation and harmful pollutants.
 
Probiotics can be helpful in other conditions also: hypertension, cancer, immune system stimulation, kidney stones, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and alcohol-induced liver disease.
 
Probiotics are available in foods and dietary supplements (for example, capsules, tablets, and powders) and in some other forms as well. Examples of foods containing probiotics are yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and beverages made with soy. In probiotic foods and supplements, the bacteria may have been present originally or added during preparation.

While I rarely recommend supplements, some are beneficial.  Since I am not a big advocate of dairy or soy products, I would encourage you to look into probiotics in supplement form.

If you feel that you could benefit from taking probiotics do the research and pick the one that is best for you. 

Probiotics are an important part of achieving and maintaining good health.

You Deserve to be Healthy

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