Coping with Endometriosis and IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is commonly experienced by women with endometriosis.1 I had always experienced bloating after eating certain foods, but I never really paid much attention to it. After a few years, I became really unwell and noticed more severe symptoms such as bloating, brain fog, anxiety, and fatigue, particularly after carbohydrates such as bread and pasta.
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Managing my digestive health
I decided it was time to have my digestive symptoms investigated. After seeing multiple doctors including a gastroenterologist and a dietitian, I still wasn’t feeling 100%. I felt that something was missing, so I kept searching and eventually saw an integrative doctor who finally confirmed I had Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). It’s now believed that SIBO is a common cause of IBS and requires a specialised treatment and diet.2
Improving my gut health has been key to improving my overall health, including improving my endometriosis symptoms and my mental health. I do enjoy cooking, so in the process of improving my gut health, I decided to create some of my own recipes. You can find them at The Healing Yogi.
I've found that like with endometriosis, IBS and SIBO are best managed with a holistic approach. I’ve found the following strategies help:
- Stress plays a big role and can cause both my endometriosis and IBS symptoms to flare. I meditate daily to manage my stress levels, but I don’t think it matters what you do, as long as you find time to relax and do something enjoyable every day.
- A low-FODMAP diet has shown to significantly improve IBS symptoms in women with endometriosis.3 I went to see a qualified nutritionist when I was starting out.
- Probiotics can help with symptoms and mood; there are studies which support their use for IBS.4
- Eating mindfully and actually chewing food slowly helps with digestion.
- Movement is also really helpful. I practice yoga, but any kind of movement, such as walking, can help.
- Limit takeaway (take-out, carry-out) food - I really notice the difference when I don’t eat food I’ve prepared at home.
- Seek support from a health professional to help guide you and find the underlying cause of your symptoms. I’ve found it takes the pressure off and it saves a lot of trial and error.
Yours in health,
Do you live with any other health conditions outside of endometriosis?