Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders of the gastrointestinal tract that people experience. It is believed to account for up to 50% of all referrals to gastroenterologists.

Women experience this condition more than men, at a 2 to 1 ratio. Up to 15% of all people in the world have this condition. IBS has several physiological, psychological, and dietary factors that contribute to its occurrence.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

There are a variety of different symptoms that people with IBS experience. Diagnosis of IBS is determined by a combination of the following characteristics:

  • Distension or pain in the abdomen
  • Changes in bowel function, including diarrhoea or constipation
  • Hypersecretion of colonic mucous
  • Dyspeptic symptoms, including anorexia, flatulence and nausea
  • Either anxiety or depression to varying degrees

The most typical symptom presentation that results in a diagnosis of IBS is bloating, bowel motions relieving pain, and an onset of more frequent bowel motions.

Therapeutic Considerations

When someone has IBS, there are a variety of things that a naturopath considers when coming up with a treatment plan. These include:

  • Increasing dietary fibre
  • Identifying and eliminating allergenic or intolerant foods from the diet
  • Reducing and/or eliminating refined sugars from the diet
  • Supporting healthy gut microflora
  • Supporting mental health, particularly reducing stress if present

Herbal and Supplement Support

Specific treatment options to consider for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) include:

  • Probiotics help to support a healthy and diverse intestinal microbiome. Improving gut function and helping to address inflammation.
  • Provide supplemental dietary fibre to help support and normalise stool formation and frequency.
  • Reduce inflammation using anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, liquorice, chamomile, and peppermint.
  • Reduce hypersensitivity of the gut using peppermint, fennel, lemon balm, chamomile, and St Mary’s thistle.
  • Support liver function using dandelion, globe artichoke, and turmeric.

Katherine Knott

Katherine is a certified naturopath and the founding director of Acorn and Oak.   She began studying Naturopathy when she was 18 years old and has practiced in both Melbourne and rural Victoria.  She has also studied 2 1/2 years of nursing and midwifery, but decided that she was happier to work with women as […]

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Nicki Stewart

Nicki has always been drawn to Holistic Health and she follows in her mother’s footsteps who is a Reflexologist and Natural Therapist. Nicki was inspired to study Herbal Medicine after attending one of Dr. Sandi Rogers’ (Naturopath, Director of National College of Traditional Medicine and former President of Australian Traditional Medicine Society) seminars on ‘Fruits […]

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Alyce Beaton

Alyce is qualified naturopath in Ballarat who loves supporting people on their health journey. Alyce believes optimising and restoring health first and foremost begins with food as medicine and creating healthy lifestyle habits. She is passionate about providing a safe, non judgement environment and endeavours to support her clients with strategies they can implement into […]

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