life·8 min read

Got Gut Issues? Here’s What Could Help, According to an Expert

products for anyone who has gut issues
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Amazon
May 19, 2022
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Having gut issues may not only be painful and disruptive to your life, but it can also feel like a topic that’s sensitive to talk about. Gas, constipation, diarrhea — the list goes on. All of these things can make getting out the door in the morning way more difficult and add stress to your day. Because when you’re not feeling your best physically, it can affect how you feel mentally and emotionally. Which is why we turned to an expert.

For product recommendations that can help treat many common gut issues, we spoke with Tamara Duker Freuman, also known as the “The Bloated Belly Whisperer” (her nickname and the name of her book). Freuman is a registered dietitian at New York Gastroenterology Associates.


IBS

Ah, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You’ve seen the commercials, and maybe you deal with some symptoms yourself. From diarrhea to constipation, Freuman recommends a few different products for those who deal with the disorder, which affects the large intestine. 

PS: Something Freuman suggests if you find your IBS is really triggered by stress: the Nerva app. “It’s self-guided, gut-directed hypnotherapy, which has been shown to be really effective for various types of IBS, those with lots of pain and symptoms triggered by an emotional state of mind.” She’s been using it in her practice for over a year and has seen great results from patients. 

Now to dive into the different symptoms of IBS, and what could help you:

Symptom: Diarrhea

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Symptom: Abdominal pain

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Symptoms: gas and gas pain

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Symptom: Constipation

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Stomach Issues

Introducing: functional dyspepsia, otherwise known as IBS of the stomach. It can feel like a hypersensitivity to carbonation, spice, or anything fatty, being uncomfortably full from a small portion of food, and getting nauseous after eating (among other things). If this sounds familiar to you, Freuman recommends a mix of peppermint oil and caraway seed oil in pill or tincture form.

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Prebiotics & Probiotics

“Probiotics aren’t really evidence-based to help with IBS management,” Freuman says. “It’s more of a guessing game of what would help you that’s specific to your body.” In fact, Freuman doesn’t recommend prebiotics or probiotics for many people, especially those without common gut issues. “Your body’s gut ecosystem is so rich and complex, often one isn't necessary and won’t do much good for you. Currently, there’s not enough scientific backing that the average person benefits from probiotics.” 

If you want to positively change your gut’s microbiome, Freuman suggests that nourishing the beneficial bacteria species you already have is best. How so? Eat a high-fiber diet, filled with diverse types of fiber. This means elimination-style diets like cutting out all dairy or gluten aren’t the greatest for your overall health because you’re cutting out different types of fiber and nutrients your body needs. This is why the FODMAP diet can be hard to follow over time. If you’re looking to up your fiber intake, but are unsure of where to start, Freuman advises supplementing your diet with things like beans, artichokes, barley, flaxseeds, asparagus, onions, and leeks.

For those who are interested in trying prebiotics and probiotics (with or without IBS), Freuman highlighted the ones below:

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Skimm'd by Alexandra Napoli, Emmy Favilla
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