IBS? Don’t be mad at your belly when it hurts


In this impatient, fast paced world we live in, it can be most inconvenient to have a belly ache. 

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If your belly hurts a lot, you may even be diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). The term sounds ominous, and scary, and something out of your control.  

When you hear things like that, it’s really important not to throw in the towel and feel helpless or angry.   It’s just a term.  There are varying degrees of IBS  just as there are varying degrees of wellness and illness - it’s a spectrum. The thought should be about figuring out what caused it and finding ways to feel better. 


You could also step back and apologize.  Apologize to your body for whatever you may have done to make it unhappy.  Imagine those pains and discomforts are your body’s way of asking for help, much like an infant’s cries to Mom or Dad.  Your body listens, and when you respond with love, caring,  positive thought and action,  you will discover what your body needs to feel better. 

Life feels unpredictable when your digestive system is upset. You’re not sure when or if you’ll be crampy, or have to go, or be constipated.  Coupled with these uneasy feelings is the knowledge we have today that a significant amount of serotonin, the happy hormone, is produced in the gut, so when the gut is off, your mood likely is off too.  Digestive issues complicate mood, activity, sleep and energy, so it’s really important to look at what may be causing them and figure out ways to prevent them.  

Start with Food

Food passes through your digestive system every single day.  For that reason alone, you should be very choosy about which foods you put in your body. Are they high quality? Are you chewing throrougly,?  Are you relaxed when you’re eating? Do you eat enough, but not too much?  

Marie is someone I coached because of her digestive issues. Hers were so bad she was scheduled for surgery. Until we worked together no one asked her what she was eating, or when she was eating it.  They were looking at the problem, not the cause and not a lasting solution.  Marie had no gall bladder and was under a lot of stress, the perfect storm for digestive issues.  The approach to healing here was two-fold.  Marie was willing to improve her menu choices and she stopped late night eating all-together.  Additionally, I gave Marie a copy of my stress management meditation (sample here) to listen to every day.  The combination of better food habits and stress management helped Marie feel better, which in turn gave her some clarity in what she needed to do to lower her stress. 

Why Should Food Come First?

Our culture teaches us to look for the quick fix.  But we know that problems in health don’t occur suddenly; they are the result of some period of imbalance in the systems that regulate health.  To get better, nourishing the body with quality food gives us the foundation we need to get better. Without nutrients in the body, it is very difficult to heal. Start with food as your foundation. See how your body responds.  Tweak your choices if you feel even some quality foods don’t agree with you.  Keep experimenting, always with high quality foods.  Consciously acknowledge your intention to nourish your body as you eat.  Keep at it and remember Aristotles’ workds “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”