Finding your (own) way to gut health

This gut-health business is mighty confusing. I’ve been searching for answers for around a decade, and although I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere, the road to healing is still a long one. Quick update: my colonoscopy came back clear so whatever my issue is, it’s a functional one. The next step for me is to undergo a more comprehensive stool analysis to ascertain which bacteria are out of whack. I had a less elaborate test done a while back and it showed some issues, but couldn’t offer a clear enough picture of how to approach treatment.

Treatment: yes. Unlike many diagnoses I’ve had over the years – ‘You have IBS; manage it with a low-FODMAP or low-fibre diet’; ‘You’ll grow out of it’; ‘It’s stress-related; just relax’ – the latest news offers hope of actually overcoming the issue. (To recap, I’ve tested intolerant to yeast and dairy, signalling a general dysbiosis of the gut, most likely caused by antibiotic overuse at a young age (I had chronic tonsillitis)).

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through this process – or at least one of the biggest lessons; there have been many! – is that no two journeys to healing are the same. You’ll find so many opinions, particularly online, and it can get extremely overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been there. I feel like I’ve read all the books and tried all the diets. I’ve tested so many different therapies and seen I-don’t-know-how-many doctors and health professionals. I’ve clicked on way too many blog-post links that claim to know the secret to gut health. It’s information overload out there.

My only advice? Don’t give up (something the technician reiterated to me while I was being tested for SIBO), and try to find a professional who will take your issues seriously. Battling with daily pain and digestive issues is far too much to take on alone. Just because you’ve been labelled with IBS – the word irritable doesn’t quite cut it though, does it? – that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to overcome your digestive problems. Right, off my soap box now and off to yoga.

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