April is IBS Awareness month, it’s important to share that approximately 1 in 5 Americans exhibits symptoms of this condition and fewer than 1 in 5 who do will seek medical attention. It’s time we dropped the taboos surrounding this common illness. If you’re a woman, under 45 years of age, if there is a history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in your family, or if you are suffering from depression or anxiety – you’re at a greater risk of being affected.
IBS is a chronic condition causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation made worse when a person experiences stress, or neglects a healthy diet. With the proper nutrition, counselling, and tools however, IBS can be managed and sufferers can learn to lead a life without having to make as many sacrifices to accommodate the disease.
In serious cases, or if IBS goes untreated, rectal bleeding can occur, and abdominal pain can progress during the night causing sleep disturbances or insomnia. The fear of disturbing the bowel may further lead to unwanted weight loss should sufferers start to avoid or skip meals. Too many are allowing their symptoms to go unaddressed out of apprehension or embarrassment.
If you have been experiencing abdominal pain or diarrhea on a disturbingly regular basis, there is help available, and one of the most effective avenues to take is the way of functional medicine.
By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and psychological aspects of their life that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.
At Womens BestHealth we make it our priority to discover what is causing the irritation to occur before prescribing any treatments. We will study the contractions of your intestine during digestion for example, search for abnormalities in your gastrointestinal nervous system, and test for bacteria in the intestines. We will also monitor stress levels, and consider other triggers such as food choice.
Unknown allergies and food sensitivities will often play a role in activating and aggravating IBS symptoms therefore comprehensive allergy testing is recommended. We often find that choosing a gluten-free diet will start to alleviate symptoms naturally.
Because women are more likely to develop IBS, it is important to also consider the role hormones play, and whether a patient would benefit from hormone therapy. We will monitor women who experience periods over the course of their menstruation cycles, and watch whether symptoms are worsening.
Most importantly, we will work to strengthen your gut and immune system – immunity tends to weaken as a result of chronic illness.
If you think you might have IBS, give our office a call at (954) 782-4855, or visit our website at www.womensbesthealth.com and prevent abdominal pain and discomfort from continuing to control your life.