IBS – Taking Back Control Of Your Body

ibs_header

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition I see frequently in practice as a homeopath. With more and more people diagnosed with IBS, I thought it appropriate to explain a few things about the gut and why it can become so problematic.

Firstly IBS is merely a medical catch-all term for any bowel or gut condition that has no pathology attached to it. In order to arrive at this generic diagnosis you would usually (if your doctor is thorough enough) have been through a few basic tests to see what is happening in your digestive system. Colonoscopies, endoscopies, blood & stool analysis, to rule out Crohn’s, Colitis, Proctitis, Coeliac disease, H-Pylori or other IBD related conditions.

So what do you do now?

Usually, the best a GP can offer you is antispasmodics, laxatives, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) or loperamide medications like Imodium, depending on your symptoms.

IBS is categorised into 3 types:

Type 1: Constipation – Pain and congestion of the intestines, cramping pains, bloating and delayed or infrequent bowel movements. Hard stools. We also see piles and fissures alongside this due to congestion and straining.

Type 2: Diarrhoea – Pain and discomfort, frequent bowel movements, with urgency. Loose stools.

Type 3: Constipation & Diarrhoea – an alternating and altogether unpleasant mix of the above 2!


IBS sufferers may suffer with all 3 types at different times throughout their life

Laxatives are often prescribed for Type 1 & 3 – If constipation is your nemesis then a laxative can seem like welcome relief when things are at a standstill. The body dislikes statis, it needs to flow. Here’s the deal with laxatives, and why they don’t actually do you any favours.
Depending on the type of laxative, they can take up to 3 days to work, long term use can cause the bowel to lose its ability to contract efficiently.

The bowel or colon is a continuous tube from the small intestines, it is categorised into 3 parts, ascending, transverse and descending. The descending colon finishes in the sigmoid colon and contents pass from here out of the anus.Usually stools that are passed come from the last section of the colon (descending) the rest of the contents from the ascending and transverse section then slowly contract around to form the next toilet trip (anywhere from 12 -24 hours later)
However, a laxative does not respect this order, it is not patient and its job is to clear all sections of the colon as quickly as it can.

So why is this a problem? pain

Well, there is nothing left in the large intestines now. It could take anywhere from 2-4 days to have any content worth ejecting. Plus its getting lazy. Why contract so efficiently if it doesn’t need to? We then panic. “I haven’t had a poo in 3 days so I must still be constipated!”. Laxatives become habitual in our quest for a daily poo!

Type 2 IBS sufferers are often reliant on Imodium to be able to leave the bathroom and house in the morning. Anxiety and panic over where the nearest toilet is on their commute or school run. Scrutinising every food they consume, food diaries, allergy tests and a growing list of intolerances.

Whichever type you may be, the toll on our mental and emotional health is massive for an IBS sufferer. I know this, i’ve been there and I understand how crippling this condition can be..

There are many triggers for IBS.

Antibiotics – This is a big one, destroys all your gut bacteria, good and bad. We need those to keep a healthy gut biome. Long term antibiotic use can wreak havoc on your gut. It can take many years to balance itself. The gut biome becomes weak and defenceless. Probiotics can be really helpful here. A good quality Probiotic can do wonders for the gut and beyond. The market is flooded with options. Ideally you need a good multi-strain probiotic that can survive the acidity of the stomach and survive to repopulate the gut.

Leaky Gut – When our intestines become permeable, through damage, inflammation, long term medications etc. Waste products, bacteria and undigested food particles can pass directly into the bloodstream. The body is under attack and creates antibodies to protect. It cannot differentiate between extremely toxic waste and a bit of part digested wheat, so it mounts a full on defence. Hence the increased intolerances and allergies to allergen foods. I have seen many clients who have a list of foods as long as my arm that they can no longer tolerate.

Stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, panic attacks, adrenal overload and hormone disorders also affect the workings of the digestive system. It’s a well honed machine, it aim is to get back on track, and for the most part we are the ones who hinder this process, albeit unwittingly.

Now for the good news! I found a way out of this myself, as a homeopath I help people with their IBS symptoms, I look at each and every person’s case as an individual. I identify triggers and use homeopathic remedies that support the digestive organs. Whilst I class myself as a constitutional homeopath, meaning I find a remedy that encompasses all your symptoms (Gut and beyond) I do also use remedies as organ support. I also use bowel nosode remedies and I have been seeing some excellent results using these in my practice. These are used to help convert non lactose fermenting (bad) bacteria into more gut happy bacteria. The effects of bad gut health extends far beyond the mechanics of digestion. I see skin problems, brain fog, mood issues all being directly influenced by the gut biome.

If you’re sick of living at the mercy of your bowel, then take your health in hand then let me see if I can help you.

originally published to Steemit Jan 17

Homeopathy listens to your story.

annie-spratt-215731.jpg
I am often asked “Why do you ask me so many questions that have nothing to do with my illness?” The reason is simple, I want to know you, as the unique individual that you are. I want to know what your childhood was like, about your friendships and relationships, what do you dream about? What makes you angry or sad, and what makes you happy?

Just because you are feeling anxious or depressed or in a process of grief does not mean that you are feeling the same way that someone else is, who is going through a similar trauma event. And this is the key to it all. Homeopathy needn’t be complicated or confusing, the answer lies in its simplicity.

We are all individual! We have different desires, different goals in life, different body shapes and tastes in food, clothes and music. We express our emotions very differently and our bodies express physical, mental and emotional upsets in a myriad of different ways. You may think that this doesn’t sound simple at all, but it is.

We are a walking, breathing and animated version of what is going on in our conscious and subconscious mind.

All our fears and traumas are part of who we are and how we behave. Our childhood and early years set a blueprint for how we process and react to life and its stresses. As we grow we are influenced by many factors, from family, school and friendships. We learn behaviours and coping mechanisms when exposed to traumatic events, and these become a part of who we are and how we differ from our siblings and peers. This is why it makes sense to me that a system of medicine should encompass this individuality, in contrast to the one pill fits all ethos of modern medicine.

Homeopathy does not work by suppression, it does not focus on one symptom alone, for this would mean missing the bigger picture. All symptoms are messages from the body that something is out of balance, to suppress the messages does not re-balance the body, it often means the body will create more symptoms to express itself. To a homeopath every symptom is a window to see deeper inside.

As a homeopath, I am not so concerned by what disease you have or haven’t been diagnosed with, I want to know about how that disease, and more importantly how its symptoms, affect you. I want to know your story, told by you.

 

Nightmares & Sleep Issues – A child’s case treated with Homeopathy

lucy.jpg
I love treating children, they are often far more open with their feelings and easy to read. I do see a lot of cases of anxiety in young children, school fears and sleep issues being top of the list. Often I find that these concerns can be resolved in a short period of time when using constitutional prescribing, finding the remedy that best matches the symptoms.

Here’s a simple case, treated over 2 appointments, to illustrate the beautiful simplicity of the constitutional remedy.

Lucy’s Story
Lucy came to see me in October 2016. Her mother was worried about sleep issues,anxiety & poor concentration at school.
Lucy was a shy 9 year old, she arrived at the first appointment holding her mother’s hand tightly. She looked terrified and I tried my best to put her at ease. A child of few words but with the weight of the world on her young shoulders.The main worry her mother had was the amount of sleep Lucy was getting. She suffered nightmares although she was not afraid of the dark, she disliked being on her own upstairs, her anxiety around bedtime would start to build up after dinner time. She would go to bed at 8pm but would often still be awake at 11pm, when she did fall asleep she would wake up at least twice in the night with a nightmare, and it could take some time for her to drop off again. Lucy didn’t like the way the streetlight outside cast scary shadows on her curtains and wall.
She liked school and tried hard but her concentration and focus were often elsewhere. She worried about her Mum whilst she was at school.
She had been a sickly baby but now her health was good, if she does get ill it is usually a glandular issue affecting her throat. As a baby she had been slower to reach her milestones than her older sister, she did not start to speak until she was almost 2.

I gave Lucy Calcarea Carbonica (Calc) 200C, the theme of this remedy being centred around security and the home and it is derived from the shell of the oyster,  I knew Lucy was worried about what was happening at home whilst she was at school, Calc is a big remedy for children with insomnia and sleep issues, well indicated where nightmares are involved, they can be very fearful and their imagination can be vivid.
Lucy had been to the dentist recently and had been told she had a patch of thin enamel on one of her adult teeth. Calc has an affinity with the skin, teeth & bones and is reputed to promote development in these areas, often well suited to children who have a sudden growth spurt.
I also gave her some Calc-F and Calc-P tissue salts in 9x potency to take daily as a therapeutic for the dental issues.

The Second Appointment
January 2017: Lucy returned to see me, this time she seemed a lot more chatty! Her sleep was massively improved, she still had the odd nightmare but these were not every night and the anxiety that she had suffered from during the hours before bed had gradually faded. She was doing better at school and her concentration was no longer an issue, although probably her original lack of sleep had likely been a big contributing factor in this.
Lucy had joined an after school club and was enjoying the time with her friends, she did still wonder what her Mum was doing at home whilst she was at school but she didn’t seem to attach the same anxiety to this as previously. I repeated the Calc 200C

9 Months Later
I spoke to Lucy’s mum for a phone appointment in July for a skin rash on Lucy’s arms, I sent her Rhus Tox 30c to take for a few days which cleared things up. Rhus Tox being a complementary remedy to Calc, this was a good opportunity to hear everything was still going well for her and she was looking forward to moving up into the next school year, something her mother says would have terrified her before.
No report of any nightmares for several weeks, and generally a much happier child.


There are many remedies for children (and adults) with anxiety, insomnia and sleep issues. Calc is just one of them. This remedy was chosen for Lucy because it fitted many of her physical and mental/emotional issues, both current and historic. It took into account her specific fears, and the reason behind them. All the issues in this case stemmed from feeling afraid and not safe in her room.
Her fears would become real in her dreams and subsequently Lucy didn’t want to sleep.
Calc children can have very vivid imaginations and this can make their fears very overwhelming. They can be very impressionable to sad and frightening things that they see in films and on TV.
Calc is also a big remedy for throat and glandular issues, and sometimes suited to children who reach their developmental milestones a little later than their peers.

 

 

Anxiety in Adolescents.

anxiety-1337383_1280

Anxiety in young adults seems to be on the rise, in fact anxiety in society in general is becoming more prolific. Why is this happening and what can you do?

Modern life pressures are affecting the younger generation on a huge scale, referrals to CAMHS have escalated in recent years and for every anxiety case I see in young adults they tell me of a handful more of their peers who are under CAMHS and many more on anti-depressants.

My most recent cases all have anxiety in common, but the reasons for their anxiety range from bullying, parental issues and pressure from academic and parental expectations.
It can be difficult to spot the early signs of anxiety, typically teenagers become more private and withdrawn from their parents as they become more independent. I find a couple of the first tell-tale symptoms of anxiety is sleep disorders and eating habits. Anxiety can cause insomnia or the opposite, spending more time asleep, yet never feeling like they’ve slept enough. Disturbed sleep and troubled dreams are a complaint that I hear in almost all of my cases. Appetite can diminish or comfort eating can become out of control.

I tend to find constitutional homeopathic remedies can have a very positive affect on anxiety disorders. I’ve had 2 recent cases that have responded very well to Nat Mur, although I have used many other remedies in other cases. These 2 particular patients were both expressing their anxiety in different ways, with very differing physical symptoms from migraines, irritability & restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, memory lapses, panic attacks, nausea and IBS, aches and pains in the body, eating disorders and self harming, all of these ailments in these 2 cases were caused by a suppression of emotion from within, being unable to express their grief and feeling utterly overwhelmed by life and external pressures, “I cry on my own in my room, no one can see me” and “Whatever I am feeling inside I never let it show on my face” are statements I hear frequently, hence the potential for Nat Mur and its association with suppression of emotions and grief.

The remedies I use are chosen through a process of conversation and observation, getting to know the patient and listening for clues is paramount. Every piece of information offered (or extracted) from the patient is a determining factor in their treatment. There are many remedies indicated in cases of acute and chronic anxiety and seeing a qualified homeopath is beneficial in pinpointing the right course of action for each individual.

Click here to contact me