IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a very common condition characterised by abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, irregular or loose stools, sometimes with urgency.
IBS is the reason I became a Nutritionist as I suffered with this considerably during my 20’s. Sufferers (like me) often have a history of high antibiotic use, which contributes to disrupted gut flora, generally found in people with IBS. 
IBS can affect different parts of the gut where the wrong type of bacteria can flourish, such as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). This is where there is increased bloating (and sometimes burping) in the upper gut, the small intestine, often as a result of medications that supress stomach acid. This is generally treated with herbs that reduce the levels of unwanted bacteria and a diet low in fermentable starches (FODMAP) for about a month.
Some people feel a tight band across their stomach when they eat certain foods, this is generally related to a food intolerance such as gluten, dairy, eggs or chocolate.
Other people experience bloating or cramping in the lower colon which is where favourable bacteria help dispose of waste and fibre, they may also have an overgrowth of yeast, parasites or pathogenic bacteria which can be identified via a private stool test, and then treated accordingly.
Removing key food intolerances for a month until symptoms subside and then reintroducing them carefully one at a time is a useful way of addressing food intolerances https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24582764
Probiotics are very helpful for reducing wind and normalising stools but be careful of ones that contain high levels of prebiotics as this can increase wind.
Stress can also play a part, and studies have found that high stress impacts on the levels of both favourable and unwanted gut bacteria https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28336545
Slowly increasing fibre from vegetables can help increase the number and diversity of gut flora, but this is best done under the guidance of a Registered Nutritional Therapist to choose the right vegetables and to give advice on cooking guidelines for certain vegetables to minimise bloating.
For more information go to www.whatseatingyou.co.uk

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