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) 9239 0200
Fax (08) 9335 3725
1/91 Hampton Road
(Corner Wray Ave and Hampton Rd)
Phone (08) 9388 7780
43 Richardson Street,
West Perth WA 6005
(08) 9284 4405
9 Leura Avenue
Claremont WA 6010
(opposite Claremont train station)
Phone (08) 9284 2333
Fax (08) 9340 6383
Bethesda Hospital, 25 Queenslea Drive, Claremont WA 6010
*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.