There’s an awful lot of confusing advice when it comes to gut health, mainly telling you to eat more of or avoid entirely very specific foods, and when you research it in more depth you’ll very likely find an article saying the exact opposite. It can be hard to untangle all the advice out there, especially if you’re looking for help with gut problems. So we’re going to help with some facts that can help you on your journey.
There’s No One Miracle Food
It’s hard not to fall for the idea that taking a supplement or increasing you intake of a particular food or herb will cure you. It’s incredibly attractive to be able to eat like you were and make one small change that will make you feel better, but in reality you’ll probably have to change a lot more about your diet if you have chronic problems.
Many articles that promote one type of food to make you better also focus on eating more healthily overall, which is good advice to heed. Most research suggests a balanced diet with fresh fruit, vegetables and protein (however you decide to get that, through meat or vegetables) will help a lot of gut issues. However, if you find you need a more specialist approach…
You May Have To Try Multiple Diets
We are each unique when it comes to the bacteria that live in our gut and the way our bodies process the food we eat, so finding the ideal balance when you are dealing with IBS symptoms or worse can be a long road. There’s no way to definitively test you and then give you a diet to match – of course you can be allergy tested for food intolerances to dairy, gluten, soy, nuts and several other things, but that often only gives you a place to start.
When you see websites dedicated to a certain type of diet, like the low FODMAP diet, it gives you great hope that “this is the one!”, and it may well be helping many people but just isn’t suited to how your body works. Whatever happens, don’t lose hope and if you’re trying to do all this on your own…
Getting Diagnosed Could Be More Effective
Gut problems can be embarrassing, and if they worsen can start to limit your lifestyle as you adapt to avoid difficult situations, but you can’t let that stop you from seeing a medical professional. The internet gives us so much faith in being able to diagnosis ourselves using intuition and a list of symptoms that we can sometime neglect those trained to help us. As I mentioned above, there are entire websites dedicated to solving people’s digestive woes, but they often aren’t run by people with qualifications, or if they are, can’t tailor their plans to your specific needs.
There’s also the possibility that you’re misreading your symptoms and are facing something like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis or even bowel cancer; all conditions that need very specific medical care for you recover. The issue is, a lot of gut diseases present with similar symptoms so specific tests are the only way to discover exactly what’s wrong.
A Diagnosis Doesn’t Mean You’re Cured
Putting a name to something often feels like the final hurdle to good health but it doesn’t always work that way. If you’ve been to the doctor’s and now have a name for your gut issues, that doesn’t always mean the end of your problems. Some conditions are life-long and some can be degenerative, requiring check-ups and additional care. If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition, you should receive appropriate support, but don’t get complacent and don’t let doctor forget about you.
Sometimes, the condition you’ve been diagnosed with can be incorrect, meaning you’ve been misdiagnosed or have been receiving the wrong treatment due to lack of monitoring. For example, ulcerative colitis can increase your chances of developing bowel cancer so regular checks, usually yearly, are necessary to get you right treatment should you need it. But if these have been neglected, you could find yourself facing a very difficult diagnosis. This type of thing is rare, but listen to your body and be your own advocate if you feel something has been missed.