Healthy digestion is important for the breakdown of food and proper absorption of nutrients for optimal health throughout the entire body. The overall wellbeing of your gut can be adversely affected if the digestive tract is dysfunctional, or the microbiome becomes unbalanced.
Common digestive issues can range from general gas, bloating, irregularity, constipation, and digestive discomfort and pain to traveller’s diarrhoea and more severe conditions such as medically diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Medically diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) refers to a set of symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, excess gas, constipation and/or diarrhoea. IBS is a common ailment that can cause major implications for one’s quality of life, yet its cause is not yet well understood. There is no test for IBS, and it is diagnosed only when other conditions such as food intolerances and more serious issues (such as ulcerative colitis and cancer) have been eliminated, which can take some time.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects at least 1 in 5 people in Australia and is just as prevalent in the young and elderly, and it affects both males and females, though women are twice as likely to suffer from IBS as men¹. Most sufferers will experience symptoms for the first time before age 40.
Triggers for IBS can vary from person to person and may include food sensitivities (e.g., lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity), stress, a gut infection, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, taking certain medications, and consuming too little or too much dietary fibre.
IBS is a complex condition that can come and go or be a consistent, chronic issue requiring long-term management. Managing the symptoms of IBS is important, and, alongside stress management, avoiding alcohol, and making specific dietary changes, taking a high-quality probiotic is an effective way to help achieve this.
Whether you have IBS or not, maintaining a healthy microbiome is essential for your ongoing health and wellbeing.