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  • Writer's pictureby Karen Pike

Gut Health S.O.S.! (all hope is not lost...)

Gut issues are extremely common and include constipation, diarrhoea, urgency to go to the bathroom, excessive wind, bloating, burping, acid reflux, indigestion and stomach pain. It’s no fun at all and some symptoms can have a debilitating effect on your life and/or generate a lot of anxiety. Being given a diagnosis of IBS and using ‘Dr Google’ to look for answers can leave you confused and unsure of how to find a solution or even if there is one!

Well, I have good news, so please read on if any of these issues are affecting you...

This was me 10 years ago. I was diagnosed with IBS in my mid 30’s following a period of long-term stress running and then trying to sell a business whilst simultaneously managing a busy home life with two lively toddlers!

It’s no wonder that my gut health (and overall health) was suffering. After many investigations and tests at the GP surgery and under the care of a gastroenterologist, I was left with the ‘diagnosis’ of IBS and offered anti-depressants as a solution. Which I actually turned down.

IBS is one of those conditions that there is no effective medication for so medical doctors can only help up to a point.

Looking back and knowing what I now know, I wished I had turned to a nutritional therapist for help...because the good news is that there is always a root cause of IBS. And the even better news is that there is always a solution! I resolved mine and I can help you to resolve yours!

Now that I am a nutritional therapist, through my own experiences and those of clients (I consider myself somewhat of a gut expert!), I want to share with you my approach to getting to the root cause of IBS and how I can help you to find a solution.

I take a 5-step approach to finding the root cause:

1. Understanding your full health history – we go right back to childhood to try and build a picture of your gut health to help understand any family history, illnesses, medical interventions and dietary patterns. No stone is left unturned during this thorough investigative process!

2. In-depth analysis of your current dietary habits – to see whether there might be any problematic trigger foods or eating patterns including what, when and how you eat.

3. Lifestyle review and factor in the mind/body connection – to see whether stress and other lifestyle factors might be contributing to your symptoms.

4. Creation of a bespoke and detailed health plan - for you to go away and try out for 4 weeks, with lots of supporting information, recipe ideas and lifestyle / supplement suggestions that I think may help. This may also include cutting out/reducing any suspected trigger foods, looking at possible food intolerances and known gut irritants. If there are any standard NHS tests that have not been conducted by your GP, you will also go away with a GP referral letter for further investigations.

5. Review and testing if needed – usually steps 1-4 prove to be successful and if you have been asked to cut out a trigger food, you will be able to add the suspects back into your diet to see if the symptoms return.

However sometimes in complex cases further investigation is needed. If you have followed the plan for 4 weeks and are still dealing with symptoms, then I will make a recommendation for functional testing – the go-to test being a comprehensive stool test. This will give me a detailed insight into the composition of your microbiome and the balance of good and bad bacteria, whether you have an overgrowth of yeast (candida), whether you are producing sufficient digestive enzymes, if there is any damage to the gut lining or even whether you have picked up a parasite whilst travelling (or eating sushi!).

If you have got to step 4 already and tried everything you can think of including cutting out foods to no avail, then the best approach may be to start with the functional testing and create a bespoke plan when we have the results.

Whatever stage you are at on your road to improving your gut health and banishing those IBS symptoms for once and for all, I can help.

My fee for a 6 week package which includes initial consultation (lasting 1-1.5 hours) and a follow up consultation 4-6 weeks later (plus email support and interpretation of any tests etc) is just £150 and I have spaces in my clinic held at Chew Medical Practice in Chew Stoke. See my website for more information on how to book.


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