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What Causes IBS?

Woman having stomach pain

Good ol' IBS… so mysterious, but not sexy.

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with IBS? Or have self-diagnosed yourself?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects between 10 - 15% of people, so it’s quite common.

Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Intestinal pain & cramping

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Alternating diarrhea & constipation

  • Changing stool consistency

  • Gas & bloating

  • Food intolerances (especially foods like onion, garlic, cauliflower, beans, dairy, gluten)

  • Fatigue & difficulty sleeping

  • Anxiety & depression

Sounds pretty broad, eh? Kinda like a very random collection of symptoms?

I always think of IBS as a ‘trash can diagnosis'. Doctors give this diagnosis when the client has an obvious but unidentifiable medical problem… but the doctor does not know what is causing it.

Here’s the thing: to fix your IBS, you need to work with a holistic practitioner who specializes in gut health and has experience working 1:1 with clients. You want someone who can provide you with tons of support. You want to dial in your diet so you can support your gut bacteria. The goal is to figure out the root cause of your symptoms!

The truth is, doctors have 10 minutes to talk with you - how can they possibly go over diet and lifestyle AND supplements?!

Doctors only have enough time to let the patient know “you have IBS”.

or “It’s just not clear where the symptoms are coming from”.

or “Try to eat more fiber. Or maybe avoid fiber.”


So that’s where I come in!

How to fix your IBS

Have you already tried eating more fiber? Taking a probiotic? Gone on an elimination diet?

If you’ve tried these things but are still experiencing ongoing stomach issues, there are likely underlying imbalances that you need to identify and correct so that the body can heal from the inside out.

You want to work with a practitioner who has lots of experience helping people improve their IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating and stomach pain.

As a Nutrition Therapist, I can help you:

  • Figure out which foods are making you bloated.

  • Improve your gut health so you can travel & eat at restaurants without pain.

  • Understand which foods are causing inflammation in your body.

  • Recommend natural supplements to calm down irritation so you can stop having heartburn or gas after meals.

  • Get you to a place where you don’t feel tied to your house with an upset stomach.

What actually causes IBS?

It is important to identify the ROOT CAUSE of the IBS symptoms. And it takes a lot for digging (which I love to do), and a lot of testing (which clients love because it gives you really cool results about your gut health).

So what causes IBS? There can be SO many things causing the digestive and systemic issues observed in IBS. In my nutrition practice, I see 3 common triggers cause IBS:

1. Bacterial imbalances

This could be too much of the ‘bad guys', too little of the ‘good guys’, or an overall bacteria imbalance. I use GIMAP Stool Testing in my practice so we can see EXACTLY what’s going on with your gut bacteria.

There could also be other overgrowths, like candida or H. Pylori or parasites. Functional stool testing is a great tool to get a glimpse of what’s happening inside of you - I like to test, not guess!

2. Stress

The gut-brain axis is very real - your brain and gut are super connected. Think about the feeling in your stomach when you’re nervous - that’s tangible proof! When your brain is stressed, your gut is stressed. And a stressed gut doesn't digest food as well, slows down the movement of food through your intestines, and decreases digestive enzymes. Stress management is an important part of the gut healing journey (and for many people it’s the hardest part!).

3. Food intolerances

Food intolerances impact our gut health by creating inflammation, leaky gut, and a decreased ability to fight pathogenic bacteria. Side note: leaky gut will end up causing food sensitivities, and food sensitivities cause leaky gut, so it’s a vicious cycle! I use evidence-based food sensitivity testing in my practice so we can remove the inflammatory foods while we heal the gut. The gut can’t heal if we keep throwing fuel on the fire! That’s why testing is so valuable.

Tired of getting gassy after every meal? Dealing with inconsistent bowel movements? I help you figure out the root cause of your digestive issues so you can stop obsessing about your diet and finally stop bloating after meals!


Looking for a diet that will stop you from getting gassy & bloated? Download the eBook "Build a Better Plate: Avoid Gas & Bloating" below!


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