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Hi,

I've been suffering with IBS for around four years now. Recently I've had two really bad episodes of crippling nausea that were so bad I had headaches and just had to stay in bed. Nobody really seems to know what's wrong with me but the doctor did think it could be IBS and I think from what I read it probably is IBS.

Anyway, my biggest problem is the feeling of incomplete evacuation which has been so frustrating at times, even although over the years I've become kind of used to it. Now though I really want to feel better mainly physically but also mentally. I definitely will be eating healthier and doing exercise which I know helps but I was wondering is eating healthy enough or do you need to get rid of the bad bacteria in your gut with a cleanse.

Should I just stick to eating healthy and doing exercise or should I try a cleanse which some people think has worked for them but also some doctors don't think it's necessary. I don't know whether I have loads of bacteria in me. So is eating more veg and cutting out my trigger foods enough? Because I know on a cleanse it might be too restrictive where it shocks the body and you can get headaches.

Has anyone ever tried a cleanse to help their IBS and if so what are your thoughs on it?
 

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I think you should start with the healthy diet. That will get you into the swing of leading a healthier lifestyle, which is important for IBS. Also take probiotic supplements to help your gut bacteria. Then after say 1 month, you could try the cleanse. If you are feeling a lot better by this time though, I wouldn't bother with the cleanse, because you should try keep building up the good bacteria. For me personally, I find fasting very difficult because my tummy will become very uncomfortable and my whole body feels weak, that is why I don't cleanse, but it might work well for you. It could kill off the worst bacteria in your stomach, the ones that feed off sugars and out-compete the rest. Fasting is only a very natural process that we would have evolved to go through centuries ago.
 

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I think that you should start with healthy eating as well. Cleanse may be a good approach, but as well it may be not, while good and healthy diet will be always a good approach, so you should start with things that are most likely to help you overcome your problems. Truthfully, a lot depends on how did you eat before? Did you rather eat badly or did you eat pretty much clean? I know many people for whom getting on a good diet was a total game changer, but I also know many that it didn't help as well. Thing is that, I can ensure you that at least it won't worsen your symptoms so it's definitely worth trying. Another thing is that, healthy diet and working out won't make you feel so much better right away. It will need time, but even though you should notice positive changes to your overall well-being pretty fast. Remember to not smoke, limit your caffeine intake - to 0 would be best and drink plenty of water on top of your healthy eating. Physical activity is also a must as it helps your body balance itself out.
 

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Doctors use the "IBS" diagnoses when they don't have any idea what's wrong with your gut. Normal western medicine is still in the dark ages when it comes to gut and microbiota disorders.

Even in healthy people, the gut microbiota produces some toxic metabolites that the liver has to process. In a healthy biota these metabolites are easily handled by the liver. When your gut is out of balance (dysbiosis), these metabolites can become so toxic that your body can't handle them well. This can lead to depression, headaches, low energy, etc. after eating the "wrong" foods which feed the part of your biota that has effectively become pathogenic.

So basically, you need to address the root cause of your problem, which sounds like an unbalance gut flora. You might get really lucky, take some cleanse, follow some diet for a few weeks, and "rebalance" or shift your biota into a healthier spot. (Just like what happens when you radically shift your diet and your microbiota shifts around.) I wouldn't bet on it.

Instead, I would first do the basics, which is to switch to the healthiest diet I could, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and get plenty of water. Maybe try the low FODMAP diet for 2 weeks. Eliminate *all* wheat, corn, dairy, soy, and white sugar for 1-2 weeks and see how you feel. Diet is an incredibly strong mechanism for debugging gut disorders.
 
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