What is a trigger for IBS?

What is a trigger for IBS?

One of the ways you can really understand IBS is to look what triggers the gut reaction.  Often people will ask me what do you mean by a trigger?  

A trigger is like the INPUT that starts a reaction or a circuit. It can be from 'outside' or 'inside' the person.  They can be from the enviornment around us such as...."When I see the school bus, I feel........"  or they can be from inside the person- triggered not by the enviornment but by a particular thought that doesn't have to be related to where they.  "I am going to make a mess of this presentation next week!" One thought can then put focus on a whole series of other thoughts.   

In some people they are really obvious, and other times you really have to search for them. Foods can be an obvious trigger, but certain thoughts can also trigger a reaction in the gut.  For example for people who feel socially anxious, the thought of going to a party or a night out can make them stomach do somersaults!  For others going into a situation where they feel out of control like public transport or flying makes their stomach react before the journey.

A challenging trigger to find a way around for may people with digestive problems is the fear that something might happen, they expect their stomach to react and that in itself is stressful! 

The thought of: ‘where is the nearest bathroom...?’

becomes enough to trigger off awareness on the stomach and therefore heighten the chances that symptoms may come at any moment.  Every thought we have creates a biochemical response within the body.  Overtime, the longer we have run certain responses within us, the more automatic they become and the less it can feel that we could ever have control over them again.  Thanks to neuro-plasticity and the ability of our nervous system to continually update and learn new things, we can coach your mind to change these old habits and patterns of thought.

Changing the triggers and finding a way around them is fundamental when someone has quite reactive IBS symptoms, for other people triggers are less important.


Launch of IBS Wellness Workshops 20th May!

Launch of IBS Wellness Workshops 20th May!

Launch of Wellness Workshop: What can I do about my IBS?

IBS help Belfast

Exciting times! After having talked about it and planned for this day...we finally have a launch date for the IBS Recovery Plan.  Claire Clerkin and Aisling Cowan are joining forces to launch an integrated plan for resolving IBS.  We have already been trialling our system out on clients over these past few months and getting consistent results...

Two heads are always better than one! Working with another therapist with layers of knowledge means that we leave no stone unturned when working with our clients.  We look at the whole person, their physical health, emotional health and their diet and modify all at the same time.

We want to share this knowledge and start to get the information out there: that no one should have to accept that they have IBS and 'learn to live with it'.  We know that there is always a way to help support the digestive system towards resolving symptoms.

We are having a wellness workshop to launch our RECOVERY PLAN in the beautiful setting of Colinglen Allotments and Healthy living centre there will be cookery demonstrations, herb collecting and knowledge presented to help you make sense of your IBS and understand the gut-brain connections.

IBS treatment belfast

Do you have IBS or would you like to help someone who does?  Would you like to find out more about what our programme has to offer?

Do you work with people who suffer from IBS and would like to increase your knowledge?

Then this half day course is for you. Hope you can join us...

Aisling & Claire

Click here for the facebook event link

Click here to book on eventbrite


Will changing my diet affect my IBS?

Will changing my diet affect my IBS?

What is your Gut Telling You?

Digestive issues are on the rise and take many shapes and forms. I see clients every week and find that disturbances in the gut play a role in many of the conditions people seek help with – even if they do not seek help for digestive discomfort or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This anecdotal observation is backed up by numerous scientific studies which show that an imbalanced gut is implicated in a range of issues from arthritis, depression, skin conditions and many more.

So what is the story – can your gut really play a role in your overall health? The answer is clearly yes! Conditions like IBS are the most common forms of gut disturbance with many people suffering from bloating, cramping, constipation or diarrhoea. Even without a diagnosis of IBS, gut complaints crop up in a large section of the population, with many people learning to live with them as the norm.

Listen to your Body

When your digestive system starts acting up, it’s a message from your body that something is out of balance. The first step is to establish what could be causing your specific symptoms. Each person is unique and health problems will manifest in different ways.

Common causes of gut disturbance include:

  • Poor diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars and low in fibre
  • Long-term use of antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors and other drugs
  • Chronic or acute stress and anxiety
  • Previous food poisoning or gastroenteritis
  • Disruption of pancreatic enzymes
  • Alcohol abuse

Usually gut dysfunction appears due to a combination of factors, hence a multi-faceted approach to restoring healthy gut function is the best way forward.

Eat your Gut into Health

What we eat is one of the simplest ways to address digestive pain. Reducing or removing foods that cause your bowel pain is the first step. Keep a food diary and think about what foods may be causing your symptoms. Working with a trained nutritional therapist or nutritionist will ensure that you safely manage your diet to avoid any nutrient deficiencies. You can also boost your beneficial gut bacteria by consuming prebiotic and probiotic foods. Prebiotic foods contain specific fibres, such as inulin, that beneficial bacteria thrive on. Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, garlic, onions, oats and apples are all great sources. Probiotic foods deliver live beneficial bacteria directly to your gut. The best probiotic foods include milk or water kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables. Natural unsweetened yoghurt is also a great source.

Stress Levels Can Exacerbate Digestive Discomfort

When nurturing your gut health, always consider the role of stress and anxiety. The chemical changes brought about by short or long-term stress are closely implicated in many digestive problems. Engaging in stress-reduction techniques, gentle movement or counselling can help resolve gut issues for many people and this will be covered more indepth in other articles.  What you eat, your environment and how you think can affect the health of your digestive system. Don’t learn to live with your symptoms. Seek advice from trained professionals and start living your best life. For more information on solutions for IBS or other gut conditions, please contact us.

*Some digestive symptoms can signal more serious problems. If you notice blood in your stool or experience very dark or extremely changeable bowel movement, please seek advice from your GP.