*This article was written by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
- Get tested. Try to get a test for IgG food allergies and eliminate the foods that test positive for 12 weeks. Or simply try an allergy elimination diet for a few weeks.
- Test yourself. If you can’t afford the test mentioned above, then just eliminate the most common food allergens for 12 weeks — that’s dairy, gluten, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts. And then reintroduce them to see if they cause symptoms. This is an effective way to isolate the foods that may be causing you problems. I have created a simple program to follow based on a comprehensive elimination diet called The UltraSimple Diet.
- Get rid of the unwanted visitors in your small bowel. Ask your doctor to prescribe rifaximin (Xifaxin) and take two 200 mg tablets three times a day for seven to 10 days. This is often the best way to deal with the chronic bacterial overgrowth that causes bloating and irritable bowel syndrome. You may also need an anti-fungal such as nystatin or fluconazole for two to four weeks.
- Repopulate your digestive tract with good bacteria. I don’t usually recommend brands, but when it comes to probiotics the quality varies so much that I suggest taking two specific brands. Take one packet of VSL3 or other high potency probiotic twice a day for one to two months. This probiotic has over 450 billion organisms per packet. I also recommend a probiotic called S. boulardii take two capsules twice a day for two months. This is a special probiotic that helps to further normalize gut function.
- Try digestive enzymes with meals to help break down food while your gut heals. You also may benefit from nutrients that help heal the lining of the gut including fish oil, GLA (from evening primrose oil, zinc, vitamin A, glutamine and others.
By taking these steps and seeking out the underlying causes of IBS, you can dramatically improve your health and overcome your digestive disorder.
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