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Unraveling the Mystery of Your IBS

Are you one of the millions of people struggling with the gut-wrenching symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? If so, you're certainly not alone. In fact, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, a staggering 10-15% of adults are impacted by this common digestive disorder.

But here's the surprising twist – IBS is not just a problem with your gut, but a symptom of a deeper issue within your nervous system. That's right, the key to unlocking your path to healing doesn't lie solely in managing your diet or medications, but in addressing the underlying imbalance in your body's control center.

Now, before you dismiss this as just another health fad, consider this – women are more likely to develop IBS than men, and the medical community has long considered it a lifelong condition. But what if I told you that it doesn't have to be that way? With my healing approach, you can reclaim your digestive health and say goodbye to the endless cycle of symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping: This is one of the most common symptoms of IBS. The pain or discomfort is usually felt in the lower abdomen and can range from mild to severe. Some people describe the pain as a dull ache, while others feel sharp, stabbing pains. The pain may be intermittent or constant, and it may be relieved by having a bowel movement.

  • Bloating and gas: Many people with IBS experience bloating and gas, which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. The bloating may make your abdomen feel swollen and tight, and you may notice an increase in gas and flatulence. These symptoms may be worse after eating certain foods or during times of stress.

  • Constipation or diarrhea (or alternating between the two): IBS can cause changes in bowel movements, leading to constipation or diarrhea. Some people may experience both, with alternating episodes of constipation and diarrhea. Constipation can cause difficulty passing stool and may be accompanied by straining, while diarrhea can cause urgency and frequency of bowel movements.

  • Mucus in the stool: IBS can also cause the passage of mucus in the stool. While mucus is a normal component of stool, excessive amounts may indicate inflammation or irritation of the intestinal lining.

  • Urgency to have a bowel movement: People with IBS may experience a sudden urge to have a bowel movement, often without warning. This can be distressing and may make it difficult to leave home or travel.

  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movement: Many people with IBS feel like they haven't fully emptied their bowels after having a bowel movement. This sensation can be frustrating and may lead to increased trips to the bathroom.

  • Fatigue and tiredness: IBS can cause fatigue and tiredness, which may be due to disrupted sleep patterns or the body's response to chronic stress.

  • Nausea and vomiting: Some people with IBS may experience nausea and vomiting, which can be triggered by certain foods, stress, or other factors.

  • Anxiety and depression: IBS is often associated with anxiety and depression. The chronic nature of the condition and the impact on daily life can cause feelings of stress and overwhelm.

  • Loss of appetite: Some people with IBS may experience a loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss and malnutrition. This may be due to the physical discomfort of eating or the emotional toll of living with a chronic condition.

Why Are Women More Prone to IBS Than Men?

Women are twice as likely to develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) compared to men.

Picture your digestive tract as a well-choreographed dance, with your bowel muscles as the dancers. When your estrogen levels are in flux, it's as if the music suddenly changes tempo, causing the dancers to move erratically and out of sync.

During the first half of your cycle, as estrogen levels rise, your bowel muscles may start to contract more forcefully. This increased muscle activity can lead to the hallmark symptoms of IBS – abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. It's as if your gut is on a rollercoaster ride, unable to find its rhythm.

Then, as your cycle progresses and estrogen levels drop leading up to your period, the opposite can occur. Your bowel muscles may relax too much, resulting in constipation and other uncomfortable digestive issues.

This hormonal seesaw can wreak havoc on your gut, leaving you feeling like you're navigating a minefield every time you sit down to a meal. It's no wonder that women, who experience these natural hormonal fluctuations, are up to twice as likely to develop IBS compared to their male counterparts.

In addition to hormonal fluctuations, women are also more likely to experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety, which can trigger symptoms. This is very common when your nervous system is holding trauma from childhood that it has not released or healed.

Imagine your gut as a delicate ecosystem, and stress as a wrecking ball, disrupting the balance of bacteria and causing inflammation. It's no wonder you may feel like you're navigating a minefield every time you sit down to a meal.

And here's the kicker – women are also more likely to seek medical attention for your IBS symptoms, leading to higher rates of diagnosis.

Why Trauma and Nervous System Dysregulation Causes IBS

The key to understanding and healing your irritable bowel syndrome lies not in your digestive system, but deep within your nervous system.

Picture this: your body is like a finely tuned orchestra, with your nervous system as the conductor.

When that conductor is thrown off-balance by chronic stress or unresolved childhood trauma, the entire symphony descends into chaos. The muscles responsible for your digestion start to either contract too much or too little, leading to the dreaded diarrhea or constipation – or even both!

But the impact doesn't stop there. That dysregulated nervous system also takes a toll on your gut's immune system, triggering inflammation and further fueling your IBS symptoms. It's like a perfect storm of gut-wrenching proportions.

Bridget Callaghan, a post-doctoral research fellow at Columbia's psychology department, has shown that the link between trauma, mental health, and gastrointestinal issues is undeniable. People with IBS often have a history of prolonged stress or unresolved trauma, which has essentially "rewired" their nervous system into a constant state of fight-or-flight.

So, my fellow IBS warriors, the road to recovery starts not with just managing your diet or medications, but by addressing the root cause – your nervous system.

Childhood Trauma and IBS: How Your Early Trauma Could Have Permanently Affected Your Gut Health

Recent research has suggested that symptoms of IBS can actually begin in childhood when there is exposure to trauma. Trauma is known to impact the developing nervous system, particularly the stress response system. Children who experience trauma may have a heightened sensitivity to stress which can impact the gut-brain axis, leading to IBS symptoms.

Childhood trauma can result in long-term psychological and physiological changes that can impact health. One way this manifests is through the gut-brain axis, which is the connection between the gut and the brain that plays a crucial role in regulating bodily functions. Trauma can disrupt this connection, leading to heightened sensitivity to stress and changes in gut function, which can result in symptoms of IBS. This highlights the importance of addressing the root causes of IBS, including childhood trauma, in order to effectively manage symptoms and improve overall health.

Children who experience trauma may have a heightened sensitivity to stress which can impact the gut-brain axis, leading to IBS symptoms.

It is important to address and heal any past trauma in order to fully treat IBS symptoms and prevent them from persisting into adulthood. This highlights the importance of early identification and intervention for children who have experienced trauma.

How Birth Trauma Impacts Your Gut Health

Birth trauma experiences can have a significant impact on gut health, as the gut-brain connection is strongly linked to early life experiences. Traumatic birth experiences, such as medical interventions, emergency C-sections, or prolonged labor, can disrupt the natural balance of the gut microbiome and lead to inflammation in the gut. Studies have found that children who were born via C-section have a less diverse gut microbiome compared to those who were born vaginally. Additionally, prolonged labor and stress during birth have been associated with an increased risk of gut inflammation and microbiome dysregulation.

The gut microbiome refers to the millions of microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These microorganisms play a crucial role in the body's digestive and immune system functions, and an imbalance in the gut microbiome has been linked to a variety of health issues, including IBS. The diversity and balance of the gut microbiome are key factors in maintaining gut health and preventing IBS symptoms. An overgrowth of certain types of bacteria or a lack of diversity in the gut microbiome can lead to inflammation, increased gut sensitivity, and changes in bowel movements, all of which are common symptoms of IBS.

Birth trauma can lead to a heightened stress response in the body, which can further exacerbate gut health issues. Early life experiences, including those related to birth, can also affect the development of the nervous system and impact how the body responds to stress later in life. Addressing and healing birth trauma through somatic therapy and healing as well as diet changes can help to support gut health and overall well-being.

Why Healing Your Nervous System & Releasing Trauma Is Key To Resolving Your IBS

IBS cannot be solely treated through physical means. It's crucial to relax the muscles of the gut and lower back while also working with the nerves that impact the large intestine, such as the sympathetic vagus nerve and parasympathetic pelvic splanchnic nerves. However, it's also essential to understand the root cause of the stress pattern leading to IBS symptoms. This involves delving into what's causing the body to hold a pattern of deep muscular contraction and programmed fear and unresolved childhood trauma held in the gut.

The gut also holds unprocessed emotions, which can impact physical health. The enteric nervous system (ENS), sometimes referred to as the "second brain," is a complex network of neurons located in the gut. It is responsible for controlling many aspects of digestion and gut function. Additionally, it communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve, which is a major pathway for the gut-brain axis.

Emotions like anxiety, stress, and fear can disrupt the ENS and impact the gut's ability to function properly. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea, all of which are common in IBS.

The gut also holds unprocessed emotions, which can impact physical health. Emotions like anxiety, stress, and fear can disrupt the ENS and impact the gut's ability to function properly.

Understanding and accepting the root cause of IBS can trigger a shift in the nervous system, leading to an immediate sense of relaxation and softening. Besides working with the gut, nerves, and muscles, addressing the lymphatic system can also aid in treating IBS, particularly for those experiencing constipation. The colon's lymphatic drainage occurs through the mesenteric nodes, which eventually empty into the thoracic duct.

IBS Diet: Foods to Avoid for Better Gut Health

For people with IBS, certain foods can trigger symptoms and should be avoided or limited in their diet. These can include high-fat foods, spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, dairy products, and foods high in fructose or artificial sweeteners. Additionally, some people may have specific food intolerances, such as gluten or lactose intolerance, that can exacerbate IBS symptoms. Keeping a food diary and tracking symptoms can help identify specific triggers and guide dietary adjustments to better manage IBS symptoms.

Gut-Healing Foods: What to Eat to Soothe Your IBS Symptoms

If you have IBS, it's important to eat foods that support gut health and minimize symptoms. Foods high in soluble fiber, such as oats, barley, and flaxseed, can help regulate bowel movements and reduce diarrhoea. Fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut, can introduce beneficial bacteria into the gut and promote healthy digestion. Fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, can reduce inflammation and improve overall gut health. It's also important to drink plenty of water and avoid trigger foods that can worsen IBS symptoms. By following a gut-friendly diet, individuals with IBS may experience a reduction in symptoms and an overall improvement in their quality of life.

Beware of the Booze: How Alcohol Can Worsen Your IBS Symptoms

Alcohol is a known irritant to the gastrointestinal tract and can cause inflammation and damage to the lining of the intestines. This can result in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea which are already common in people with IBS. Additionally, alcohol can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to further digestive issues. It can also increase the production of stomach acid, which can exacerbate symptoms such as heartburn and acid reflux.

Alcohol can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to further digestive issues

For people with IBS, consuming alcohol can trigger flare-ups and make existing symptoms worse. Therefore, it is recommended to limit or avoid alcohol intake to manage IBS symptoms effectively.

Take Charge of Your Future & Heal Your IBS Naturally By Resolving The Root Causes

If you're struggling with IBS and you're ready to heal the root causes once and for all, please reach out to me.

Through a combination of powerful somatic techniques, energy work, nutrition guidance, and personalised support, you can learn to release these emotional blocks and resolve your symptoms. Don't let IBS hold you back any longer – join my 1-1 healing programme today and start your journey towards vibrant gut health. Healing the root causes of IBS is a journey that also requires deep emotional work, including inner child healing and resolving childhood sexual abuse that is held in the body.

That's why I've created an online course that guides you through this process, step by step. Through this course, you will learn how to identify and heal the unprocessed emotions that are stored in your gut, as well as how to work with your inner child to address any past trauma or experiences that may be contributing to your IBS symptoms.

You will gain a better understanding of the mind-gut connection and how it impacts your physical and emotional health. With practical tools and techniques, you will be able to take control of your healing journey and move towards a life free of IBS symptoms. Book now, at the School of Healing Alchemy

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