About 1 in 10 People In Singapore Suffer From IBS—Your Gut Microbiome Can Help

Gut problems can cause all kinds of issues. One of them is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a very uncomfortable gut condition that causes diarrhoea, cramps, bloating, and constipation. According to National University Hospital, IBS affects about 10% of all Singaporeans, which means over half a million people in Singapore suffer from it. 

IBS can be hard to diagnose and hard to treat. Since no treatment will completely eliminate it, people with this condition will have to rely on diet to minimise the symptoms. Being more in tune with your gut health can help you reduce the painful effects of IBS and return to your everyday life. OSbiome’s gut health testing kits can help you identify which foods can help you improve your gut health and minimise your IBS symptoms.

What Is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the function of your large intestine. It is also known as 'sensitive gut,' 'spastic colon,' and 'nervous colon.' It is not a life-threatening disease, though it requires long-term medical care to prevent painful and uncomfortable symptoms.  

People who suffer from IBS generally experience abdominal pain, inconsistent bowel movements, and bloating.

Symptoms of IBS

People who suffer from IBS may experience one or a combination of the following symptoms:
  • Abdominal cramps,
  • Diarrhoea,
  • Constipation, 
  • Bloating
  • Rectal bleeding,
  • Unintentional weight loss,
  • Anaemia,
  • Lumps in pelvis, abdomen, or rectum, and
  • Elevated inflammatory markers.

Many of these symptoms could be caused by many other factors, such as bacteria in the food you ate or slight-to-moderate food sensitivity. However, if you experience these symptoms on an ongoing basis, it might be a sign that it could be because of IBS. 

How Can I Check if I Have IBS?

Unfortunately, no test will confirm that you have IBS. To get diagnosed, you will need a clinical evaluation to rule out other possible diseases to isolate IBS as the probable cause of your symptoms. 

A common way of diagnosing IBS is the Rome III Criteria. These diagnostic criteria for IBS require patients to:

  • Suffer from ongoing abdominal pain or discomfort at least three days a month for the past six months, 
  • Experience pain alleviation after defecation, and
  • Have symptoms associated with frequency of defecation as well as the form of defecation (appearance).

Your gastroenterologist may use the criteria above to help determine if you are indeed suffering from IBS. 

How is IBS Treated?

As mentioned earlier, no pill or medicine will cure IBS for good. However, practical management of IBS can control the symptoms to the point where patients will no longer experience discomfort from IBS on a day-to-day basis. 

The most common treatment for IBS is the FODMAP diet, also known as the elimination diet. Certain foods can trigger your IBS, so finding out what they are is a great starting point in your healing journey. The elimination diet can help IBS patients identify exactly which foods activate their IBS, thus allowing them to experience some relief of symptoms.

The downside of the elimination diet is that it starts out very restrictive, so it is hard to follow. Shanti Eswaran, M.D., from the University of Michigan Health, says that people with IBS can really benefit from following the FODMAP diet because "[once they] discover what they can and can't eat, they actually find it liberating. That's because they are then able to eat without fear of their meal causing unwanted symptoms."

How Your Gut Microbiome Can Help With IBS

You may have heard of gut health as one of the most popular new health phenomenons in Singapore. Before you dismiss gut health as nothing more than a health fad, you should hear about how it can help people with IBS. Studies show that there is a correlation between gut health and IBS, and patients with IBS can benefit from improving their gut microbiota.

Evidence suggests that an imbalance in your gut microbiota—or "dysbiosis"—can cause inflammation in your gut that can eventually lead to IBS. Though there is no conclusive evidence as to what causes IBS, a weak microbiota could very well contribute to it. Studies show that gut microbe diversity tends to be reduced in patients with IBS.

Additionally, an increase in probiotic consumption has been linked to reduced symptoms of IBS. Patients who consumed probiotics in controlled trials experienced a reduction in all IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and bowel movements. This shows that diverse gut flora can help alleviate the symptoms of IBS.

Finally, antibiotic use has been shown to impact your gut health negatively. Not only can this impacted gut health worsen or trigger IBS, but studies have shown a statistically significant association between antibiotic use and subsequent IBS. 

All of these associations show a clear relationship between IBS and gut health. Whether a weak gut microbiome can cause IBS or not, it is in the best interest of everyone to keep a healthy gut in order to prevent or treat IBS. If you are currently suffering from IBS, turning to your gut health can be a great way to keep your symptoms in check.

Gut Health In Singapore

The best way to keep your gut healthy is by feeding it the types of foods that will foster a flourishing and diverse microbiota. OSbiome provides gut health testing kits to the people of Singapore so that they can have a closer look at their microbiome and understand how to best take care of it. 

With our revolutionary testing kits, you can get a hold of your gut health by finding out which foods are beneficial to you as well as which foods to avoid. After analysing your stool sample, we will send you a personalised report that will tell you what to consume based on your gut flora.

If you are suffering from IBS, a gut health testing kit from OSbiome could really change your life. In addition to reducing your IBS pain, a healthy gut can result in a healthy brain by improving the gut-brain axis. Order your testing kit today to start treating your IBS symptoms through ground-breaking technology from OSbiome.

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