What is IBS? - What you need to know

What is IBS? – What you need to know

Does your stomach ache?  Are you experiencing Diarrhoea, Constipation, Bloating and the never-ending discomfort that comes with the sudden tightening of the muscles in your tummy? If you can relate to this then this writeup is for you. Unsure of what is going on? Have you considered IBS? Irritable Bowel Syndrome could be an explanation. What you need to know: What is IBS? What are the causes? And last, but definitely not least, what are the natural remedies for this gastrointestinal disorder?


Irritable bowel syndrome also known as IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder. A common disorder that disrupts the functionality of the large intestine. It would seem that for some people there is nothing structurally wrong with the digestive system of suffers. However, there is an understanding that the digestive tract doesn’t seem to be working optimally and may be a result of misinterpretation in the signals that are been sent from the human brain to the digestive system via the brain-guts axis.

Symptoms include bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, gas, and constipation or diarrhea (it could also be both). Women diagnosed with IBS are more likely to experience insomnia, fatigue, painful menstruation, premenstrual syndrome, backache, food sensitivity, amongst other things.


Even though the exact cause of IBS is not known, some factors are worth highlighting. These factors include:

  • The Nervous System

When there is an abnormality or general disfunction in your digestive system, it causes you to feel great abdominal pain especially when the abdomen is stretched due to stooling or gas.

  • Changes in Microflora

The bacteria in the gut is known as microflora. Usually, they are good bacteria known to reside in our guts. They play a major role in our life, health-wise. But the problem is, these bacteria play an entirely different role in people with IBS.

  • Bacterial overgrowth

IBS can develop when there is a severe infection in the intestine. It occurs after severe gastroenteritis. It is associated with bacterial overgrowth in the digestive system. 

  • Intestinal inflammation.

People diagnosed with this syndrome usually have an increase in the number of immune – system cells in their intestinal regions. These are immune – system cells that are associated with diarrhea and pain.

  • Muscle Spasms in the intestine.

The human intestine is in line with different layers of muscles. These muscles contracts when they move food through the tract. When the contractions are very strong and tend to last longer than usual, it can cause diarrhea, bloating and gas.


IBS can be triggered by:

  • Stress
  • Food or food intolerances
  • Hormones
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Medications
  • Imbalances in gut flora

Holistic support

It’s understandable when you have the urge to try anything to reduce the pain that comes with the symptoms. But the problem is, most of these medical prescriptions come with some side effects. So, how do you manage this naturally?

  • Eat healthily

Never underestimate the power of a healthy meal. Fill your plates with lots of quinoa, white and black rice, oats, and whole grains. Keep away from sugary foods, trans fat, saturated fats, frozen pizza, popcorn, etc.   

  • Probiotic Supplements.

After a healthy meal, you should also try probiotic supplements. Probiotic supplements are known to help enhance our microbiome. In short, it will improve bowel function. A probiotic supplement with a mixture of Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus is highly recommended.

  • Stress reduction

Routine time out is a must! There’s a great saying that “if you don’t make time to rest, the body will make you”. Finding a way to manage your stress can be life-changing if you have IBS. 

  • Deep breathing.

Deep breathing helps to calm the nerves that are ‘malfunctioning’. Inhale through the nose and count to five, then exhale through the mouth after the count. It helps to calm the autonomic nervous system. (This is also great to do before sleep if you are struggling to switch off)

  • Keep a food diary.

When you keep a record of some certain foods in your diet and their effect, it will help you identify the main trigger foods.

Even though IBS affects both men and women, it occurs more in women. There is a need for more research. But for the meantime, living a healthy life and staying away from its triggers will help control its symptoms.

Reach out if you need support, as a naturopath I can tailor make a plan to help you understand what is happening in your body and how you can feel your best – click here to contact me



For more info on IBS, check out – The Mayo Clinic or for info on the Gut-Brain Axis, check out – Harvard Health