Let’s talk about Irritable Bowel Syndrome, what the symptoms are and how common it is. For 17 years, I suffered from IBS. I hate the word “suffer”, because truly, who wants to “suffer?” However, this is the ONLY way I can describe my experience with IBS.

About 99% of the time, I had IBS symptoms that included chronic diarrhea, bloating, headaches, discomfort, gas, difficulty sleeping, or even feeling WAY too sleepy and fatigued. I also began to suffer from hormonal issues, low libido, a bit of hair loss, difficulty losing weight and irregular menstrual cycles.

I tried my best to live a “normal” life. But IBS and normal don’t play nice with each other. There were certain things that would make my flare ups worse: A job interview would send me running to the bathroom. Preparing for a test. Speaking in public. Or casually having a bite of certain types of foods, even healthy ones. Taking a road trip with the family would often be one of the most stressful things for me to do. I had to know where all the rest stops were, just in case.

Doctors told me that “diet won’t help”, but I always thought that there was something I could do to help me heal, or at least improve. I knew I could do more, because I had seen a bit of improvement with eliminating certain foods: dairy, sugars, processed foods and junk food were all out of my lifestyle. I also eliminated gluten and that seemed to help a lot. I still however, wanted answers and wanted to feel well. The one thing doctors never offered though, was to run lab tests to figure out where the problem was.

In my quest to find answers, I got certified as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® practitioner so I could run lab tests on myself and develop a self-healing protocol. I found out that symptoms are oftentimes the last to appear and many times are far removed from the causes. My hormonal issues may have just been linked to my digestive issues and the only way to find out if that was the case, was to run lab tests.

An adrenal/hormonal assessment profile test provided me with some answers regarding my hormonal imbalances. I then ran a metabolic assessment test, where I realized I wasn’t absorbing proteins and other nutrients. I also ran an intestinal permeability test which gave answers to the gut dysfunction. And finally a pathogen test, where I found some more answers: I had a protozoa that needed to be eradicated (and is common among IBS patients). I was able to create a self-healing protocol and have been symptom free ever since. I’m able to sleep better. My cycle is normal and my digestion issues are completely gone.

Irritable bowel syndrome is an incredibly common condition. It is estimated that 60% to 65% of IBS sufferers are female and about 40% to 35% are male. According to IBS.org, many IBS patients (the majority) don’t seek the help of a doctor and suffer from this condition quietly. Also according to IBS.org, irritable bowel syndrome is one of the leading causes for hysterectomy and other abdominal surgeries in females. It is estimated that 55% of hysterectomy surgeries occur in women with IBS, compared to other conditions.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome shows up with different symptoms. On some people, it may show up as chronic diarrhea. In others however, it may show up as constipation, or even a combination of diarrhea and constipation. Because we are all different however, the fact that I had a protozoa may mean that if you’re suffering from ANY of these symptoms, you might have the same thing I had, or you might have something else. So we never guess, we test.