The first time someone encounters IBS can be when they're quite young. These days, with the proliferation of labelling and seeming ability to address issues quickly, people latch onto the term 'IBS' and lunge for one of the purported solutions that is said to ease the situation quickly; but as sufferers will know, these solutions hardly ever deal with root cause so the IBS drags on ... and on ... So what can we do for ourselves? Let's pan out and take a look at the wider picture.
- The period of stress can begin with anything at all; it's actually how you, as an individual, deal with it, not how someone else thinks you should deal with it that creates the cascade of effects.
- Zinc is depleted by stress; it is an active participant in many functions and reactions in the body, including immune system function, synthesis of DNA and protein, cell metabolism, wound healing, cell division, proper sense of smell and taste, and proper growth. It also helps stimulate about 100 different enzymes. Stomach pH is affected by stress; as it rises from the optimum 1.5 (acid) to around 3.5 (more alkaline), the contents of the stomach are only partially broken down...
- Whilst the body is still trying to work out what to do about your stressors, the GI tract will invariably have less energy and there will be an effect. The small intestine will be receiving partially digested food that it is not equipped to deal with, so a process of fermentation begins; this can set off a candida overgrowth, but probiotic use DOES NOT ADDRESS THE CAUSE (and constant probiotic use is not recommended).
- When the small intestine is receiving improperly broken down food, the villi on the absorptive surface of the ileum can become inflamed or damaged, causing an escalation of the discomfort being felt, especially if you eat harsh roughage, as opposed to soluble fibre (note: seed/grain husks are not soluble; even psyllium can aggravate the ileum in some people). Assimilation of food is then limited, so energy decreases. Less energy to the body = even less energy for digestion.
- The continued gut discomfort vs lack of energy = more stress and less ability to deal with the initial stressor, assuming it's effect is still around. The spleen not only supports our immune system, its also where we process emotion; if we feel overwhelmed and don't know how to resolve the situation, the spleen can feel painful and you may even become feverish, feeling a need to take to your bed.
- With no immediate answers to the emotional root of your issue, the whole cycle continues to repeat. So even cutting out certain foods that you think make you worse is only ever a partial answer, and you wonder why on earth you have been cursed with this condition.
As this is quite a big topic, and I could easily overwhelm you with a load of information here, I shall split this article and follow up in a few days with a list of things you can do for yourself to ease this irksome problem for your long term benefit. I'm not talking about miracle cures for those with severe allergies here, but I am talking about root-cause issues that are frequently over-looked.
So ~ see you again soon!