Are you struggling with IBS?
What if everything you’ve been told about IBS isn’t actually true! The thing that Western Medicine is getting wrong about IBS is thinking that various gut symptoms like chronic diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or reflux all fit under one diagnosis!
In so doing, it’s completely missing the opportunity to investigate what’s really driving those symptoms. And sadly the current standard of care focuses on relieving symptoms with drugs like laxatives, anti-diarrheal medications, antacids, or even anti-depressants. Yes believe it or not, the medical gas-lighting is real! If you’ve heard me talk about my experience with a Harley Street Gastroenterologist, you’ll know that she point blank looked at me and said, “There’s nothing structurally wrong with you, It must be in your head!” Those are words I will never forget… and when my clients come to me telling me that their doctors and specialists have said the same thing to them, well it makes my blood boil! Because the solution is really not that difficult! Yet, doctors stay trapped in the model of healthcare where all they offer is laxatives, PPIs or worse!
And while I have nothing against relief-care, in the long run, it doesn’t really help the person who is suffering, and in fact the side effects of being on medications are often worse than the condition you are being treated for – leading to, guess what, MORE medications! So let’s get into some facts about IBS and what you can do about it!
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder and is reported mostly by women. It’s a blanket diagnosis by the medical community for a cluster of symptoms that include bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and even reflux… However, it is a disempowering diagnosis.
While the exact cause may differ from person to person, we know for sure that it begins in the gut. And really, gut-brain dysfunction.
Let’s go ahead and look at some common IBS symptoms in women.
These are no fun and can really disrupt your entire life. I remember my days of stressing about making it to work on time because my stomach in the morning just never played ball with me. Numerous bathroom trips some days… and sometimes nothing at all, apart from cramping and bloating. Sound familiar?
If you’re dealing with IBS within the Conventional Healthcare world, you likely won’t get much further than scans, pills or being re-directed towards Hypnotherapy.
Trust me, I know – I’ve been there!
However this doesn’t actually resolve your IBS… it manages it… And if you knew what I’ve learnt about the gut, you’d never accept managing your IBS as an acceptable route.
That’s why if you’ve been told that you can manage your IBS, it’s time to seek help from a functional health professional and start making the necessary changes ASAP, so you can RESOLVE it once and for all.
To determine whether or not this may be your next best step, read through these common IBS symptoms in women:
1. Severe Fatigue
Do you ever wonder why you’re so dang tired, even after just waking up?
Fatigue is a common sign of IBS. In fact, about half of women with IBS struggle with fatigue.  And it’s the third most common complaint amongst all IBS patients. 
Apart from the fact that it’s absolutely exhausting running to the bathroom, and reacting to numerous foods, or wondering if you’re going to be able to go today… it all comes down to the gut-brain connection.  A large part of hormone production, including serotonin, occurs in your gut. Your hormones affect your nervous system, your sleep, and other important processes in your body. 
When there’s dysfunctional regulation of these hormones due to a compromised gut (as is true for women with IBS), these essential functions suffer, leaving you feeling exhausted. 
Does your belly suddenly blow up even when drinking water? Maybe after every single meal?
Few things are more discouraging than being suddenly unable to zip your jeans after just eating a salad. A SALAD, for crying out loud!
But most women with IBS experience this type of crazy (& often painful) bloating. I was no exception. 🙋
The reason behind bloating is likely due to a combination of gut-related issues, including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in the gut  . All of these “bad” bacteria can release toxins that cause excessive gas and bloating. Other reasons can be attributed to food sensitivities or a leaky gut.
3. Abdominal Pain
The stomach cramping and pain you experience with IBS can range from uncomfortable to straight-up unbearable – the kind of cramping that you can end up in the ER with – again trust me I know I’ve been there.
One study found that over 60% of IBS patients experience this on some level. 
If your cramps are anything like mine were back when I was suffering from IBS & burnout, you’re probably wondering WHY you feel this way. If you’re under a lot of psychological stress, or you’re running from one thing to the next without so much as a breath, you may have a SLOW transit time, or low motility… meaning your food doesn’t move quickly enough through your digestive system… Stress slows down digestion!
This can be compounded by the fact that you don’t have the
- stomach acid, or
- good bacteria or
- right levels of enzymes to break your food down,
So guess, what… the food is just sitting there not digesting, backing up, fermenting, leaving you feeling like you’re in the vice grip of an anaconda.
Pretty painful, right?
3. Unpredictable Bowel Habit
Are you experiencing digestive problems, like constipation, diarrhea, or both? Are you going late in the day, close to bed, rather than within an hour of waking? Believe it or not a healthy bowel habit is one where you eliminate within an hour of waking, and possibly again after breakfast. You heard me! Twice before 9am! But most people don’t even go twice in two days!
This is one of the most prevalent IBS symptoms in women.
IBS affects how muscles in the gut contract. It’s not uncommon for women with IBS to experience all sorts of digestive dysfunction, like a mixture of both infrequent and or loose stools. This often happens to women right around their period, so pay attention to this!
For instance, if you’re experiencing constipation during the week leading up to your period and then diarrhea in the days after, this is a clue that the gut-hormone connection requires attention.
Another sign is experiencing an extreme sense of urgency around going to the bathroom. Like, a ‘sprinting to the bathroom for dear life’ kind of urgency.
You may be paranoid about leaving the house, and opt to work right next to your own private bathroom (or even on the bathroom floor – if things get really bad).
In an ideal world, you should be eliminating within an hour of waking, and twice before 9am… without forcing or without it being explosive, or requiring hyper-wiping.
4. Depression & Anxiety
Are you experiencing some (or all) of the symptoms above, along with feelings of depression and anxiety?
These mood-related issues aren’t direct symptoms of IBS, but they are intimately connected.
First of all, it’s easy to understand why having these symptoms ^ would leave you feeling low. But it’s actually more scientific than that.
These health issues – IBS, depression, & anxiety – are all linked to gut health.  Remember: 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut!
If you heal the gut, you heal all three issues!! Plus, each of these issues are contributors to burnout. The longer you ignore them, the worse these health problems become, and the cycle of burnout continues.
What Should You Do Next?
At this point, you need to understand what’s the driver of your complaints… In order to heal, you need to address the why, and as you’ve seen, there may be NUMEROUS reasons WHY you have IBS symptoms…
Think of it like a flower planted a desert. If you don’t give the flower the right conditions in which to grow, it won’t bloom.
So, in this case, addressing the root cause of illness means addressing what’s happening in your life that is impacting your digestion!
Where have you travelled to, how do you sleep, are you happy with your work, your relationships, what kinds of foods are you eating, what makes you feel worse, what makes you feel better?
I know it’s hard to get real with yourself (remember, I’ve been there 🙋) but the truth is, you’ve lived your way into these symptoms.
At my job is to help you live your way OUT of them.
But before we get to that, whether you suspect you have IBS or another health problem, you need to do functional lab testing to get to the bottom of the issue.
It could be your anxiety that’s driving your IBS… but an overgrowth of micro-organisms could be driving your anxiety!
See why objective data collection is *essential* for healing?
Once you receive that data, you can work closely with a functional health coach practitioner, like myself, to develop a personalized gut-healing protocol. We do this by incorporating a combination of personalized diet, lifestyle changes and specific supplements, done in a particular sequence. Most people who come to me have only focused on removing offending foods from their diets, or on taking antibiotics or botanicals to remove pathogens / yeast. They’ve missed the rest of the steps that are involved!
This method does more than relieve symptoms. It facilitates true healing. ✨
You Deserve to Feel Your Best!
Your health & well-being is in YOUR hands! And that’s where true power lies! Even if things for you right now may feel overwhelming, have faith! Because if I could go from doubling over every morning in pain and avoiding all the foods, to now traveling easily without worry, then there is hope!
If you’re ready to finally be free from worrying about where the bathroom is, so that you have the headspace to focus on more important things like living your most vibrant self, check out my 3-month ONE-on-ONE coaching program: Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Life!