IBS

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a problem that affects a staggering 3million people, or more, in Australia and about 20% of people world-wide. It is a condition that has baffled doctors for years. There is no single cause, no specific treatment and, as yet, no cure.

But first let’s look at some general information on IBS.

IBS is more common in women than in men and occurs more often in younger people. IBS is usually ongoing, and there are some times when symptoms are worse than other times. Having IBS does not mean you are more likely to develop colon cancer later in life.

Symptoms of IBS

Some people with IBS mainly have constipation, others have diarrhoea. Many people with IBS alternate between periods of constipation and diarrhoea.

Symptoms include:

  • Cramps and bloating in your lower abdomen, which usually get better after having a bowel motion or passing wind
  • Pain that can be a sharp or dull feeling
  • Constipation: feeling that you have not managed to empty your bowels completely, having bowel motions less often, straining to pass a motion or passing small, hard stools
  • Diarrhoea: having bowel motions too often and passing loose stools
  • Flatulence, or wind, and/or rumbling noises from your abdomen
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Headaches
  • Mucus in your stools

Some of these symptoms can also be from other inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which sometimes get categories as IBS.

But some of the symptoms above can also be part of having endometriosis and many women who are diagnosis with IBS, in fact have endometriosis. They then have all the testing for IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis etc (colonoscopy etc) as these don’t find anything and then these women are often told by doctors they are at a loss to what is happening. This is why endometriosis often takes up to 12 years for definitive diagnosis, which is terrible.

IBS triggers

The cause of IBS is not known, but certain things can trigger its symptoms, including:

  • Stress
  • Depressed mood
  • Food poisoning
  • Tummy bug
  • Virus
  • Certain foods and drinks
  • Some medication
  • Some people find avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine can reduce their IBS symptoms

As said before some women suffer more acutely from symptoms of IBS just before, or during, their menstrual cycle. IBS symptoms can also mean that they have a condition called Endometriosis. Many times these conditions can be overlooked and they can be present at the same time, along with bladder issues as well.

Lactose and wheat intolerance and wheat may be a cause and needs to be assessed before permanent changes to diet are made. Wheat grains are inflammatory to the bowel anyway and they should be removed if anyone does have inflammatory bowel issues.

Treatments

There are a few medical treatments available but results can be varying. Many people with severe IBS end up on steroids to settle inflammation in the bowel. There are also other medications to slow bowel motility and reduce inflammation as well.

Dietary and lifestyle changes are a must for the treatment of IBS. See my post on what real nutrition should be food what a good diet should be like.

There is, however complementary therapies that can bring great results.

The complementary medicine unit and the University of Western Sydney ran a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial to determine whether Chinese Herbal medicine was of any benefit in the treatment of IBS. Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat many disease states, including inflammatory bowel conditions.

The results were stunning. More than 70% of patients taking the Chinese herbs improved. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association.

There are also other complementary therapies and treatments that can be used and combined with medical interventions, or other interventions mentioned above.

Studies have shown that strain specific probiotic bacteria have induced remission in inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis and IBS. But, this needs consultation with a qualified healthcare professional to treat disease properly. Self-prescribing is not an option for this disease that affects over 3 million people here in Australia alone.

With any disease state such as IBS, there needs to be an individualised approach, not a one treatment fix all approach, because everyone is uniquely difference in their symptoms they experience and what their triggers are. There also needs to be a multimodality approach because many times IBS overlaps with conditions such as endometriosis for women, and other inflammatory conditions in men.

If you have IBS or inflammatory bowel disease and need help and assistance in managing your disease better, please give my friendly staff a call and they will explain how I may be able to assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

References

  1. Treatment of IBs with chinese herbal medicine -Alan Bensoussan, MSc; Nick J. Talley, MD; Michael Hing, MBBS, FRACP; Robert Menzies, PhD; Anna Guo, PhD; Meng Ngu, PhD http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=188145
  2. VSL#3 Probiotic-Mixture Induces Remission in Patients with Active Ulcerative Colitis- (American Journal of Gastroenterology 2005;100:1-8)
  3. Investigations and treatment of Endometriosis- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2008
  4. Bensoussan A, Myers SP. Towards a Safer Choice: The Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Australia . Sydney, Australia: University of Western Sydney Macarthur; 1996.
  1. Yu ZX, Wang K, Li FP. Clinical trial of Chinese herbal capsule for 157 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Chin J Integrated Tradit West Med.1991;11:170-171.
  1. Liu ZK. Chinese herbal medicine treatment for 120 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Chin J Integrated Tradit West Med.1990;10:615.
  1. Shi ZQ. Combination treatment of Chinese and Western medicine for 30 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Chin J Integrated Tradit West Med.1989;9:241.
  2. Chen DZ. Tong Xie Yao Fang with additions in treating 106 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Nanjing Med University J.1995;15:924.
  3. Xu RL. Clinical realisations during the diagnosis and treatment of 55 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Shanxi J Tradit Chin Med.1995;11:10-11.
Fibre from fruit and veggie 300x200 1

Foods That Can, and Do, Cause Constipation

Many people have trouble moving their bowels on a daily basis and are none the wiser as to why this happens to them. Many do not realise how bad for their health it is not to move your bowels daily and many people just think it is normal for them to not need to get things moving each morning.

Of course some people have conditions, that cause constipation, and these need to be ruled out too.

Conditions such as Endometriosis, Pelvic Inflammatory disease, IBS and other bowel disorders can all cause chronic constipation and inflammation in the bowel

But for most people the clogging of the back passage is caused by what they are eating and lack of foods that contain real fibre and water to keep the bowels moving.

Lack of proper hydration and stress is also a factor too. But when it comes to proper fibre, many people are just eating the wrong foods. Many of the foods people are having on a daily basis, thinking it is fibre, are actually closer to being cardboard and the effects on the bowel are just as bad.

So what are the foods that are causing a blockage in peoples elimination pipes.

1.Fast Or Prepared Foods

Those ready made meals and takeaway meals may be convenient, but they could cause a backup. Most are low in fiber, which you need to help food move through your system.

2.Fried Food

Fried foods are full of fat, lack fiber and are hard to digest. When food moves through your colon slowly, too much water can be taken out of it. That makes for a hard, dry stool.

3.Cakes, Sweets and Pastries

Pastries, cookies, and other treats with refined sugar are low in fiber and fluids, and high in fat. Many people think that because they contain grains, that they are good for you. But nothing could be further from the truth. Wheat grains are actually inflammatory and cause disruption to the digestive system. There is actually more fiber in whole foods such as fruit and vegetable. Grains are refined grains are not good if you’re having trouble keeping things moving. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some fresh fruits and yogurt. Your tummy will thank you for it.

4.Breads

Bread is basically made from flour and water and what does flour and water make? Glue that’s what it makes! That is what it turns to in your stomach and bowel too. Plus refined flours are made from inflammatory grains and these cause disruption to your digestion and bowel too. Too much bread will give you hard, dry stools and also mess with your digestion. It’s also made with low-fiber flour. The whole grain variety may be a little bit better, but not much. If your digestive system is shot and you are having trouble getting things to move, time to ditch the bread. We don’t need to eat it anyway.

5.Caffeine

A couple cups of teas coffee makes some people race to the bathroom, but it can have the opposite effect, too. The caffeine in coffee and tea are diuretics and soft drinks can keep your body from holding onto water, and you need water to stay regular. If you’re constipated, check how much tea and coffee you might be drinking and make sure you drink plenty of water after each cup of caffeine.

6.Alcohol

Alcohol can definitely dehydrate the body make it hard for your body to hang onto water. This can then cause gastrointestinal inflammation, upset the liver function and then cause constipation.

7.Eggs

Eggs are really good for us and they are high in protein but low in fiber. But, you don’t have to stop eating them though. Just add some high-fiber foods into the mix. Add some greens with them when you eat them. Try an omelet with fresh spinach and tomatoes.

8.Well Done Meat

Meat is a great source of protein but when its well-done and over cooked, it is lacking in fiber, that juicy steak needs to be a little less cooked (medium rare) and balanced with a side of nice green veggies, or salad. This will help get it comfortably through your digestive system.

 

Some Fiber Facts.

Veggie and whole Fruits (not dried fruits) have more fiber than cereals and grains and as they contain water and other nutrients needed to keep the bowel hydrated and moving properly. Time to ditch the cereals and start eating some more whole foods instead.

Oh… and don’t forget the prebiotics and probiotics to keep healthy gut flora/microbiome and keep the digestive system functioning properly.

Of course we should drink plenty of water and also make sure you get some electrolytes into your diet daily too. This will help keep your bowels working the way they should work, rather than the way they have been.

If you are having trouble with chronic constipation and getting your bowels to move daily, then give my clinic a call and book in a consultation where we can help you get your digestion back on track again.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

01 Dr Andrew Orr 1

modified 1744952 1920

Food additives and emulsifiers may increase inflammation and anxiety

A wide range of foods contain ingredients that we call emulsifiers. A new study has shown that these compounds can produce both physiological and behavioural changes.

Bread and many other common foods we eat daily contain emulsifiers and other additives.

Food additives have always generated a great deal of attention as they can lead to exacerbating many health conditions, or even be the cause of some health issues as well. Recently, emulsifiers have been drawing fire and rightfully so.

Manufacturers have been using these chemicals to alter food’s texture and extend its shelf life for years and they are not good for our health. These emulsifiers are found in many foods such as bread, chocolate, margarine, processed meats, and more.

Earlier studies have shown that emulsifiers can alter the microbiome of mice, causing low-grade inflammation and increasing the risk of obesity and metabolic disorders. But now a study in humans concluded that gut bacteria “can be directly impacted by these commonly used food additives, and these additives also subsequently drives intestinal inflammation.”

Recently, researchers from Georgia State University in Atlanta set out to see if these emulsifiers also influenced mental wellbeing. The focussed on two commonly used emulsifiers — carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and polysorbate-80 (P80).

The Microbiome and Psychological health

In many recent studies scientists have already described a clear pathway between the gut and the brain. These studies have shown that our gut health and the health of our gut bacteria can have a substantial influence on our mental well-being. Most of the studies concluded that lack of good bacteria in the gut and overuse of antibiotics could significantly alter the microbiome, anxiety levels, and social behaviour over the long-term.

This most recent study investigated whether P80 and CMC might alter our mental state. The team added CMC and P80 to the drinking water of recipients for 12 weeks. They then measured the changes in the microbiome, behaviour and other physiological changes as well. The results showed that these emulsifiers caused general systemic inflammation, which extended to the brain and to behavioural changes. The researchers published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

The impact of emulsifiers

The scientists showed that the emulsifiers did impact good gut bacteria, but in different ways for male and females. They also showed that the changes in behaviour were different between the sexes. Males tended to have an increase in anxiety, where the females tended to have a reduction in social behaviour.

While it is not known how these emulsifiers affect behaviour, it is speculated that the inflammation they produce affects signalling pathways in body tissue and parts of the brain. The gut also contains branches of the vagus nerve, which has a direct link to the brain. The researchers said that more research is needed into this very important area of medicine.

In recent years there have been increase levels of anxiety and mood disorders in our western society. While there are many other factors to the increase of anxiety and mood disorders, such as stress and lifestyle changes, the researchers have questioned if these additives may also be playing a part in this as well.

For now, the researchers recommend that we should really look at how these food additives impact our microbiome and gut bacteria and increase systemic inflammation in the body. It is great to see that science has now showing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the microbiome plays a significant role in our overall health. Not just our physical health, but our mental and emotional health as well.

This is why I always recommend health diet and lifestyle changes for every condition I help with. This is also why I promote the use of healthy beneficial bacteria (probiotics) daily in our diet as well. Good health always starts with good diet. Good health always starts with a healthy gut/microbiome as well.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

-No Stone Left Unturned

01 Dr Andrew Orr 1

healthy diet

Adherence to a Healthy Diet a Must For Fertility Success

Is it time you that you got your diet healthier to help assist you getting the baby you have been longing to have?

While eating a health diet isn’t going to be a miracle cure to having a baby, it may help you increase your fertility and chances of a healthy pregnancy.

Of course, there are so many other factors to fertility and proper evaluation and assessment is crucial, but research does show that by adherence to a healthy diet can increase pregnancy rates by up to 80%. (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) 61st Annual Clinical Meeting: Abstract 96. Presented May 6, 2013.) + (Fertil Steril. 2012;98[Suppl]:S47)

It is well known that healthy couples produce healthy sperm and healthy eggs and healthy parents produce healthy babies. A proper healthy diet may also help assist with gynaecological conditions as well, alongside medical management.

When I talk about diet, I am not talking about it in term of dieting. I am talking about it in terms of the proper way to way. Diet is such a crucial part of my  fertility program that has helped with assisting over 12,500 babies into the world.

So many people neglect a healthy diet and don’t try hard enough to adhere to it. Preparation for falling pregnant is just as crucial as preparing for a marathon. If you don’t put in the work, nutrients and the training, you won’t make the distance, or get a result.

It is so sad seeing people go through cycle after cycle and not doing anything to change their diet and lifestyle and then getting a failed cycle time and time again.

Of course their can be other factors to take into consideration as I said before. But, you can’t go into a cycle, or try to fall naturally, if you not eating properly, or if you are overweight, or underweight for that matter.

Medically we know that the risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, complication etc is high in women who are either under, or overweight. (Lifestyle management before fertility treatment -Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2007;110:1050-1058.)

So many people think they have a good diet, only to find out that what they have been taught is not right. It isn’t their fault. Some people really just do not know what a healthy diet its either.

A poor diet that is high in High GI Carbohydrates causes inflammation and this has a negative impact on fertility. Inflammation is causes by high sugars, which then spikes your insulin and this causes the inflammatory response. This may also affect hormones as well.

High inflammatory response then causes oxidation which may then affect your egg and sperm quality and this may then result in damage to the DNA of the sperm and egg.

As I shared before, a healthy diet is a big  part of my fertility program and those on the program then know what a good diet is supposed to be like. Yet we see many ignoring it and wondering what has gone wrong, or what else they can do.

One of the answers is, be good with your diet!

Close enough is not good enough in this case. It is all or nothing, because this is so important. This is about having a baby. But, while having a baby is one thing, we also need people to realise that a healthy diet is also important for living a long and healthy life long after baby has arrived.

If you are overweight, you need to lose weight and if you are underweight you need to put some on. Many people are looking for miracles and go looking for an answer that doesn’t exist, or blame something else, when the fix may be as simple as adhering to a healthy eating regime.

Again, obviously diet is only a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to fertility, but it is an important one at that.

There is so much medical research out there showing that adhering to a low GI diet and the diet I promote at my clinic and for those of my fertility program

  1. The nurses study of 17,500 women showed that a diet with protein, full cream dairy, multivitamins and supplements, good fats etc increased fertility rates exponentially. (Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nov 2007)
  2. Harvard medical schools study on 19,500 women showed that having full fat diary increased fertility while low fat dairy decreased it by 85 % and had an anovulatory effect. (Journal of Fertility and Sterility Feb 2008)
  3. A recent study in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility showed that diet increased embryo quality and pregnancy rates by as much as 80%. In a study presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in 2012, IVF patients who switched to a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet and then underwent another an IVF cycle increased their blastocyst formation rate from 19% to 45% and their clinical pregnancy rate from 17% to 83% (Fertil Steril. 2012;98[Suppl]:S47).

Even non-IVF patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis have improved pregnancy rates after making dietary and lifestyle changes.There are many other research papers out there showing this.

So if you are having failed cycle after failed cycle, or not being able to conceive naturally, you need to start looking at your diet and lifestyle as a major factor.

If you are overweight, or underweight, the same applies. An easy way to work out what weight should be (roughly), is take 100cms off your height and this will give you what you should be in body mass.

So if you are 165cms tall, then you should roughly be about 65kgs (give or take a few kilos).

All men should have a waist size of 94cm or below for good health, and all women should have a waist size of 80cms or below for good health. This is measured from the belly button around, not higher, or lower than this point.

If you are on my fertility program you should be doing this. If you aren’t and need assistance, then you can call my friendly staff and find out more about my fertility program.

I always tell my patients that the time for making excuses is over. If you do want to have this baby you have been longing to have, then you need to prepare the body as though you were about to train for a marathon. We always say that the ones that do everything right have a much higher chance of getting the results.

Is it time you got your diet and lifestyle back on track?

Take care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-The International Fertility Experts