A Lasting Solution for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Autumn is the season of harvest, a time to gather and pull inward. It is a time to store up fuel, to plan and study for the stillness of the upcoming winter. In autumn everything in nature contracts. Leaves and fruit fall, seeds dry, and the sap of the trees go to the roots. As the dry climate prevails our bodies also tend to pull inward and contract. People with imbalances due to faulty diets, excessive activity, stress, organ malfunction and adverse climate changes also endure dryness. The major symptoms of dryness in the body are thirst, dry skin, itchiness, dryness of the mucous membranes, and difficulty with bowel movements. Autumn is also the time of year that most patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) see an exacerbation. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects 20% of all Americans. Symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. They include bloating and gas, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and fatigue. IBS suffers tend to hold on to physical and emotional stresses. The intestines gather, hold and malfunction. Over time an imbalance is created in the walls of the intestines. It then becomes damaged and symptoms occur. A healthy intestine allows nutrients from our food to pass into our bloodstream; when damaged larger molecules such as fats and starches slip through as well. These substances are recognized by our bodies a foreign invaders which trigger an immune response. This response is expressed in the symptoms of IBS as well as other body reactions such as migraines, rashes, joint pain and even psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

According to many experts, IBS is usually entirely food related. Therefore if you have any of the above symptoms the best way to start an effective treatment plan is to start by changing your diet. Start by eliminating refined sugar from your diet. Excess refined sugars are not completely digested and absorbed, and remain in the intestines, feeding the colonies of harmful microbes residing there that increase toxins in the body. Another way to change is to moisten the dryness of the intestines. This can be accomplished by increasing the fiber (minimum 30 grams of fiber per day) in your diet. Fiber is important not only for stool formation, but also for increasing the growth of beneficial microbes and diluting harmful toxic waste in the bowel. Try eating more fibrous foods such as vegetables, beans, peas and fruits. Increase your filtered water consumption to moisten the dryness. Finally, 67% of people with IBS have at least one delayed food allergy. Historically the problem has been finding the food allergy quickly and accurately. By identifying and eliminating allergic foods, your health and relief of the symptoms will improve significantly as long as the food is avoided. To eliminate the food allergy start by removing certain foods groups from your diet for 4-5 days. If you feel better chances are you’re in the right area. The eight major food allergen groups are: Milk, Eggs, Fish, Crustacean Shellfish, Tree nuts, Peanuts, Wheat, Soybeans.

Let’s take one food group as an example, dairy. Stop all dairy products (milk, eggs, yogurt, ice cream, butter, cheese, etc.) and I do mean ALL dairy for 4-5 days. If you’re feeling better remain off them for a 2-week period. Then slowly, repeat SLOWLY reintroduce them one by one back into your diet. If the IBS returns, then that particular food is on your never to eat again list. This process can take months.

Glutens in the diet can also cause IBS. Mainly derived from grains and flours they are also found in binders and fillers. Be aware that hidden gluten can be found in some unlikely foods such as: cold cuts, soups, ketchup, hard candies, soy sauce, jelly beans, modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein-HVP, hydrolyzed plant protein-HPP and may be found in low or non-fat products. You may need to read those food labels carefully. This process may be long and frustrating but the rewards are plentiful.

A natural method of care to sustain your digestive disorder while the allergen is being identified is to use Acupuncture. Acupuncture has a long and distinguished history of treating gastrointestinal complaints in Chinese medical literature dating back more than 2,000 years. It will help until your diet is changed and the food allergies are found. The body never forgets which foods it is sensitive to. The foods must be eliminated and avoided otherwise IBS and poor health will remain. Acupuncture can offer you a clear picture of the root imbalances that can lead to IBS.  To quote the most famous Chinese physician of antiquity, Hua Tuo in 140 AD “ if a evil arises (disease), treat first the diet”. IBS is 100% reversible.

Be Well, Stay Happy.

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