I struggled with digestive issues long before I realised I had issues and long before I sought help. Most people I have spoken to with similar issues also experienced the same indifference.
Reflux, indigestion, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea, constipation, food intolerances, and blood in your stools are not symptoms of a healthy digestive system if you experience them regularly, and yet we put up with them.
Is it because we think that they are normal and that everyone gets them? Is it because we are not paying enough attention to our bodies and what they are telling us? Is it because we enjoy the food we eat so much that we put up with the side effects? I know that it was a little of all of those points for me.
So if you are reading this is it likely that you either know you have an issue or perhaps you have an inkling that something is wrong. If you’ve been experiencing these issues for some time and if you haven’t already, then I recommend that you see a GP, a naturopath or a nutritionist (me in a couple of years!) because it’s important that you get expert advice to determine if there could be more serious issues that should be investigated.
If you have been given the all clear then there may be other factors at play and different practitioners will suggest different ways to manage and resolve your issues based on your unique situation.
When all my tests came back negative for anything serious, my GP suspected Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS is a collection of symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation (or both) that have no definable cause and as such it is hard to diagnose. I then began the low FODMAP diet which limits the amount of fermentable carbohydrate foods for 4-6 weeks and then slowly reintroduces them back in to see which ones you tolerate and which ones trigger your symptoms, you can watch a 3 minute video explaining the low FODMAP diet and IBS here. I saw huge improvement in my symptoms and it really helped me manage my symptoms but it didn't treat the cause of my issues.
Then in 2017 after doing more research into IBS I decided to take a breath test for SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) and it came back positive. I then worked with a natural health practitioner to treat the overgrowth with herbal antimicrobials and I followed the SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet (a little similar to the low FODMAP diet) to manage my symptoms. After many months of treatment I can pretty much consider myself symptom free. Yes, I can finally enjoy food again that I haven't been able to eat in many years, yay to hummus!
I also ensured that I made a daily conscious effort to exercise and manage stress and other triggers. I also sought help from health professionals (chiropractor, myotherapist, counsellor, acupuncturist, GP etc) when needed.
Whether you have a diagnosed condition or whether you just want to improve your gut health, I hope that through my blog posts and recipes, my experiences and education, you can find the inspiration and motivation you need!