Dr Oz: Living With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
How can you tell if that discomfort in your stomach is caused by a simple upset stomach or something more serious known as irritable bowel syndrome? Approximately 40 million people live with the cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea that accompany the condition. Dr Robynne Chutkan explained that when you consider how much of a role your gut plays in your overall health, it’s not too surprising that things can go wrong.
So many people may not know they have irritable bowel syndrome, because they may assume their symptoms are normal and the result of stress. Fortunately, Dr Oz had a quiz for everyone to take, to help determine whether you could be suffering from IBS. You can find the quiz on the next page.
Dr Oz: Could You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- Have you had abdominal discomfort that has lasted for three or more months?
- Does your pain go away after a bowel movement?
- Has the frequency of your bowel movements changed?
- Has the appearance of your stool changed?
Abdominal discomfort can come and go during those three months and shouldn’t severe enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. Dr Chutkan explained that one of the hallmark signs of IBS is visceral hypersensitivity, which means the hollow organs like the bowel are sensitive to being distended from things like gas or stool, so when they’re empty, you feel better. If you answered yes to the first question as well as yes to at least two out of the other three, you could have IBS. If you experience constipation, you could have IBSC, or if you have diarrhea, you could have IBSD. See your doctor if your symptoms are interfering with your everyday life.
Dr Oz: Brain, Gut Connection
Because the brain and the gut are so connected, your nerves can trigger IBS symptoms. There’s a real nervous system in the gut that can function independently from the brain. There are about 500 million nerve cells embedded in the lining of the gut. Those cells have a lot of functions, including the secretion of 90% of our body’s serotonin, which is a “feel good hormone.”
Dr Oz then took his audience inside the colon via a virtual reality device, explaining that the main function of the colon is to suck the moisture out of your poop and make it a little harder.
Dr Oz: IBS Trigger Foods + Relief
While your nerves can have a lot do with IBS, sometimes it’s the result of eating foods that aren’t properly broken down, either causing us to become constipated, or giving us diarrhea. You first want to eliminate those foods, known as gut obstacles.
If you have IBSC, eliminate processed carbohydrates. Processed carbs have a lot less fiber and nutrients. Try to get rid of white bread, cookies, crackers, and pasta. If you have IBSD, dairy could be a major cause. Try eliminating dairy for two weeks to see if your symptoms improve. Artificial sweeteners should also be avoided, because they are the worst for someone with IBS.
As for what you do want to eat, if you have IBSC, try eating steel cut oats for breakfast. You can cook a big batch of them over the weekend to make it easier to enjoy during the week. Just be cautious and ease into eating more fiber as to not overload your colon. If you have IBSD, you want to thicken your stool with apples for breakfast. Try sauteing apples in coconut oil and cinnamon for a tasty and healthy breakfast.
Dr Oz: Homemade Synbiotics For Gut Health
Finally, turn prebiotics into synbiotics. Synbiotics are the combination of probiotics and prebiotics. Use fibrous vegetables like asparagus, carrots, or onion, then add equal parts vinegar and water with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Combine it all in a mason jar with a lid then let it sit on the counter for 1-2 days to ferment. They will then last in the fridge for up to a month.