Do You Suffer From IBS or IBD?

Hi Friends,

This post is for anyone affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s, Colitis or Celiac.  It’s a topic that affects me on a personal level as I myself have colitis.  I’ve been through the stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea and the deficiencies that come along with that.  The main takeaway from my illness and my Nutritional Therapy training is that “All disease starts in the gut” as Hippocrates stated.  I wanted to talk a little about I’ve learned from my personal experience in hopes that I can help someone else who is suffering as I did. 

Point one: Did you know that there is a card you can carry if you have Crohn’s or Colitis that basically is an ADA card that supposed to allow you to use restrooms in an emergency?  Yep!  Here is a link to tell you more.

Restroom Access | Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (

Even if you are careful about what you eat and know what triggers a flare and what doesn’t, you don’t always know when you might have unknowingly eaten a trigger food.  When that happens, believe me I know about bathroom emergencies!  Sometimes you know how much time you have, and sometimes you come just a little too close for comfort…or worse, you endure a very embarrassing situation.  And then there are times when you have the energy but are afraid to go out of the house because you don’t know if (or when) you may endure a flare up.  It’s stressful to say the least.

Point two: What you eat matters!  I can’t stress that enough.  First, you need to get as much nutrients as you can get in order to avoid deficiencies, second, you need to learn the foods that either help or increase the severity of symptoms.  Those foods are different for everyone.  Some may be able to cut out gluten and wow, no more digestive distress!  Others, like me, have to eliminate a few more things.  I truly believe that what we eat either nourishes and supports our bodies or inflames it.  Try limiting processed foods and focusing your meals on plenty of vegetables.  Try a food journal to see if you can find some common denominators, it can be really eye-opening to say the least!  You can also try adding some fermented foods to your diet or probiotics.  Keep in mind that not all probiotics are the same and you may need to try a few different ones before you find what work. 

Point three: Medications are not bad.  Sure, who wants to take any more medication than they need?  Sometimes, medication is needed and that doesn’t mean diet interventions failed.  Nor does it mean that you can’t do more digging into root causes and maybe no longer need the medication, or less of it.  All in all, my point here is that if we take care of our bodies, giving it what supports it and less of what doesn’t, it will go far in helping manage symptoms and possibly help the medications work better.  The goal is to have the best quality of life so that we can do the things we love!

Point four: The journey looks different for everyone.  I’ve spent the last 5 and a half years fine tuning my diet and lifestyle interventions to get me to where I am today.  I entrust my care to a great Naturopathic doctor who is certified in Functional Medicine.  He has been instrumental in helping me peel back the layers to uncover my root causes.  Some need to go deeper than others, and no two people will find the exact same root causes or interventions that help.

That brings me to point five: Add unconventional care to your health care team.  I believe in the benefits of having a Naturopathic doctor on your care team.  Regular (allopathic) doctors are great, and that care is important, especially as you’re getting symptoms under control, but Naturopathic doctors really go for the root causes.  I also believe that a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner can be a big asset to have in your health care toolbox.  As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, we can help you uncover some possible deficiencies and advise lifestyle interventions that can be a tremendous help in symptom management.  I got into Nutritional Therapy because I am passionate about being part of the care team that helps you live your fullest, most vibrant life.

My final point – Point six: Stress…we must manage stress.  Not only does stress affect Cortisol which affects blood sugar and belly weight, stress can also trigger or exacerbate stomach issues, constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion.  Stress affects our gut microbiome too.  Even more, chronic stress can increase severity of IBS and IBD symptoms.  Managing stress may mean saying “no” sometimes.  It may mean taking some time for selfcare.  If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we give of ourselves to others when they need us?  One way we’ve heard before to manage stress is exercise like running, walking, stretching, whatever it is that you like to do.  I recommend listening to relaxing music, taking epsom salt baths, breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, prayer, regular exercise, and EFT (Tapping) to help with stress and anxiety.  The mind and body are intimately connected and managing stress and anxiety are equally as important as what you eat or don’t eat in terms of managing digestive symptoms.  Even just a shift in your attitude and thinking can make a big difference mentally and physically.

We also need to get ourselves into a more relaxed state before we eat.  Just as managing stress from the workday, relationships, finances, or whatever else, puts or bodies in an overall more relaxed state that is beneficial for IBS and IBD, we also need to make sure we are in the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state for proper digestion of the foods we eat to ensure nutrients are absorbed and we don’t make IBS or IBD issues worse.  One more tip for digestion help is to not eat in a stressed state.  Try taking deep breaths before meals, taking a moment of gratitude/prayer before eating, eating slowly, chewing enough and being present with what you are eating and who you are eating with.

Living with IBS and IBD is hard, I know it personally.  But we there are things we can do to help, both mentally and physically.  Having digestive struggles is taxing on both our bodies and our mental health.  Take good care of your mind and body.

In good health…

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and the information in this post is not meant to be taken as medical advice.  Please speak to your medical professional if you have medical concerns.


Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Restroom Access. Retrieved from

Restroom Access | Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (

Hill, McKel (2020). Stress Affecting Your Gut? These 4 Tips Can Help. Retrieved from 4 Ways to Improve Your Digestion If You’re Stressed (