Gut Health & Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Your gut bacteria, or gut bugs as I like to call them, are extremely important for many aspects of health. Collectively, they are known as your gut microbiota. Many studies have now shown that a disrupted microbiota may lead to chronic diseases e.g. type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Whether it's from a decrease in the number of bacterial species, or changes to specific types of bacteria, gut bugs may play a role in the development and management of these conditions.
Interestingly, what we eat has a major impact on these gut bugs, from supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria to maintaining a healthy mixture (diversity) of bugs that supports optimal intestinal and total body health.
Here are 4 science-based ways to improve your gut bacteria through diet:
- Eat a broad range of foods - this leads to a diverse range of bugs
- Increase your fibre intake (and prebiotic fibres) from a variety of foods - fruit & veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds.
- Eat fermented foods like yoghurts, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh
- Go for foods rich in polyphenols like dark chocolate, almonds, blueberries, onions & broccoli.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects 1 in 7 people, and twice as many women as men. It can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life.
Key features of IBS include:
- abdominal pain
- constipation, diarrhoea or a mixture of both
- excessive wind
- urgency to poo
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Treatment for IBS
Lifestyle changes are the best option for long-term relief of IBS symptoms for many people. In fact, there are now many scientific studies that have shown the effectiveness of a low FODMAP diet for IBS symptoms.
Once you have ruled out coeliac disease and other gastrointestinal diseases with your GP, seek the guidance of a Monash FODMAP trained dietitian who specialises in the dietary management of IBS using a low FODMAP diet.
The diet begins with a 2-6 week period where you only eat foods classified as 'low' or 'no FODMAP'. The Monash low FODMAP App is a brilliant resource for this.
If your symptoms ease during this period, reintroduce foods back into your diet in a systematic fashion to determine your unique trigger foods. When to reintroduce; which foods to reintroduce with; the amount of the reintroduction food to have, and the order of reintroducing foods depends on your specific circumstances.
You can then personalise a meal pattern moving forward based on your food triggers and tolerances.
We still don't know what causes IBS, although a number of factors including gut sensitivity, infections like gastroenteritis, and/or an unhealthy gut are thought to play a role.
IBS symptoms are real and in many cases, debilitating. The good news is IBS can be treated.
You may be restricting foods unnecessarily, avoiding entire food groups, developing a poor relationship with food, avoiding work/social situations...Don't put up with IBS-like symptoms anymore!
I can help.
Nick currently sees clients in his private rooms at
Phone (08) 9284 2333
Fax (08) 9340 6383
Bethesda Hospital, 25 Queenslea Drive, Claremont WA 6010
Phone (08) 9239 0200
Fax (08) 9335 3725
1/91 Hampton Road
(Corner Wray Ave and Hampton Rd)
(08) 9284 4405
9 Leura Avenue
Claremont WA 6010
(opposite Claremont train station)
*Nick is covered by all major private health funds and rebates are available for clients referred by their GP on EPC and Department of Veterans Affairs programs.