Diagnosed with IBS?
Time to book a chat with Jess.
I’m Jessica Roocroft (just call me Jess), and I'm a:
- Registered Dietitian
- Online IBS Coach who has Completed FODMAP Training with Monash University
Most importantly, I know first-hand what it's like to deal with gut drama due to IBS.
If this is your reality, rest assured you've come to the right corner of the internet. I'm so glad you're here.
My mission is three-fold:
1. Translate tricky IBS science into plain English, so that you understand exactly why your digestion might be behaving the way it is.
2. Give you a step-by-step process as to how to soothe your type of IBS symptoms (and any other layers to your story, such as SIBO or Histamine Intolerance).
3. Get you feeling comfortable in your body (finally)!
If this is what you need:
- Grab one of my no-cost starter guides for your specific IBS subtype (D, C, M, or U) which also gets you in on my monthly golden gut notes, most relevant to YOU.
- Check out my IBS-D Program, book an appointment or check out my other resources, and tell me about your journey.
Let's take control of your type of IBS together, shall we?
Ready to Break up with your type of IBS?
Download the IBS Mini-Guide that's right for your subtype to get:
- Simple digestion strategies
- Red flags
- Common myths
- Approaches to managing IBS
- Description of the Low FODMAP Diet Phases
- Food swaps
- High FODMAP food additives
- 1 day Low FODMAP Meal Plan
- Low FODMAP sample shopping list
- and much more.
Information on my site, or any materials, does not replace the individual advice given to you by your health care provider(s). By filling out this form, you will be subscribed. I respect your privacy and you may opt-out at any time :)
If you're looking for a step-by-step approach with:
- How to eat for your subtype of IBS (from diarrhea to constipation, or in between)
- Mind-gut connection work
- Time constraints considered (who isn't "busy", honestly)
- Flavour (because what's life without it)
- Heart (IBS is my life too, and I can't wait to serve you)
...That is exactly how I roll.
I believe your story.
My goal is to make you feel as good as possible in your body so you can get back to kicking a*s at life.
Already have an IBS diagnosis?
If you have been diagnosed with diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D) like yours truly, I highly recommend my signature hybrid course the My IBS-D Program. Click the corresponding button to learn more and book a call with me.
If you've been diagnosed with mixed-predominant IBS (IBS-M), or Constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C), click the corresponding button to book a 1:1 initial session, as I do not offer a program for these IBS subtypes at the moment. Hang in there...I am aiming to develop one soon!
How do I know what type of IBS I have?
Why might it matter?
Did you know that one of the American College of Gastroenterology’s IBS Management Guidelines points to how important it is to subtype patient’s IBS?
Accurately categorizing those with IBS based on their primary bowel habit is generally recognized to help improve patient therapy – and may help steer patients away from recommendations that may actually worsen symptoms.
No one needs their IBS to get worse right? So let’s chat about the IBS “category” (or “subtype”) a little more.
The “abnormal” bowel movements define someone’s subtype of IBS in term of:
- Form (shape and consistency of your poop), and
- Frequency (number of poops per day)
There are 4 subtypes of IBS:
IBS-D stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (hellooo...this is my subtype)!
It is a type of IBS in which the individual experiences frequent diarrhea, often accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating.
Need some exact numbers, you detail-oriented person? Sure.
IBS-D is defined as MORE than 25% of abnormal bowel movements are loose or watery (Type 6 or 7), and LESS than 25% of abnormal bowel movements are hard or lumpy (Type 1 or 2). Or, IBS-D may be assigned when a person reports that most of their bowel movements are diarrhea.
IBS-D is a chronic condition and can cause significant discomfort and disruption to daily life. In fact, some studies suggest this subtype can have the greatest impact on someone’s mental health and wellness, mainly due to the anxiety surrounding having a “diarrhea episode” while out of their home.
I’ve sure been there.
The exact cause of IBS-D is not known, but it is thought to be related to changes in the way the muscles in the intestines contract and relax, leading to diarrhea and other symptoms.
1 in 10 people, for example, who experience digestive infections such as traveler's diarrhea, or food poisoning may wind up developing IBS-D.
Treatment for IBS-D may include changes in diet (FODMAPs, fibre, certain digestive enzymes, and more) and healing the gut-brain connection, as well as potential medications such as Rifaximin to help manage symptoms.
If you suspect you have IBS-D, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, as bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain may not only occur in IBS-D, but also can overlap with other (some, potentially serious) health issues including but not limited to: Celiac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD is not to be mistaken with IBS-D!) Microscopic Colitis, and more.
I have a both an IBS-D Program for eligible Canadians in certain provinces, and an IBS-D Ultimate Guide available that may be a great starting point once you have been officially diagnosed with IBS-D, (which usually involves your Doctor and/or Gastroenterologist ruling out the more serious conditions including the above mentioned diseases first).
For much more on IBS-D and tips that I use in my daily practice (and personal life in fact), head on over to my Self Help Resource Page and snag your own free (for now) copy of my IBS-D Mini-Guide.
At the end of the day, I truly believe that booking in with a registered dietitian trained in IBS (such as Monash University IBS Training) can point you in the right direction in your journey to manage your condition (trust me when I say there are a lot of IBS myths, wacky supplements, expensive and non-science based “food sensitivity testing”, and incorrect FODMAP food lists out there)!
IBS-C is the acronym for people with Constipation predominant IBS, or “IBS with Constipation”.
Like most with IBS, folks often experience an individual "constellation" of symptoms unique to them.
In my practice, I often find hard/dry/infrequent bowel movements, bloating, gas, nausea, abdominal pain and getting in enough (less bloating) fibre sources are the primary struggles of IBS-C folks, and thus my recommendations target evidence-based ways to help reduce such symptoms.
What’s the current definition of IBS-C in numbers? Glad you asked:
IBS-C is defined as LESS than 25% of abnormal bowel movements are loose or watery (Type 6 or 7), and MORE than 25% of abnormal bowel movements are hard or lumpy (Type 1 or 2). Or, IBS-C may be assigned when a person reports that most of their bowel movements are constipation.
If you suspect you have IBS-C, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, as bloating, constipation and abdominal pain may not only occur in IBS-C, but also can overlap with other, (some more serious than others) health issues including, but not limited to: Cancers of the reproductive system, Endometriosis, Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Hypothyroidism, Diverticular disease, Cancers of the gastrointestinal system, and more.
I have an IBS-C Ultimate Guide available that may be a great starting point once you have been officially diagnosed with IBS-C (which usually involves your Doctor and/or Gastroenterologist ruling out the more serious conditions including the above mentioned diseases first).
Booking in with a registered dietitian trained in IBS (such as Monash University IBS Training) would always be a worthwhile investment in my opinion, if you have the financial means or extended health coverage to do so, as potential dietary tools (such as the Low FODMAP Diet) can be quite the challenge to navigate without support.
Also, there could be other helpful strategies available that you might not yet know about for your particular IBS type that use tactics beyond what goes on your plate. Check out some more neat IBS-C info in my free IBS-C Mini-Guide.
Folks with Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Mixed Bowel Habits (IBS-M) cycle between hard and loose bowel movements, abdominal pain possibly other symptoms like bloating and gas.
IBS-M is defined as more than 25% of abnormal bowel movements are loose or watery (Type 6 or 7), and more than 25% of abnormal bowel movements are hard or lumpy (Type 1 or 2). Or, IBS-M may be assigned when a person reports that their bowel movements go back and forth between constipation and diarrhea.
In my practice I find clients with IBS-M are challenged with getting a handle on this metaphorical bowel movement “see-saw” so they can return to a consistent and predictable daily toilet routine, as well as getting enough (less bloating) fibre sources are the primary struggles.
Did you know that IBS-M may possibly be more of a constipation issue than one of diarrhea for some folks? I find this is more often the case in my practice.
So, my recommendations for IBS-M usually target potential tools to help disembark this awful roller coaster bowel movement pattern of constipation to diarrhea (and on and on it goes) first, and then make a plan to manage any other symptoms they may be experiencing.
If you suspect you have IBS-M, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, as bloating, constipation/diarrhea and abdominal pain may not only occur in IBS-M but also can overlap with other, (some more serious than others) health issues.
Is this your diagnosed subtype?
Unfortunately IBS-M is one of the least researched subtypes, but fret not! Booking in with a registered dietitian trained in IBS (such as Monash University IBS Training) can point you in the right direction in your journey to manage your IBS-M.
If you’d like to sneak a peak at some of my top IBS-M tips I use in my practice, head on over to my Self Help Resource Page and snag your own free copy of my IBS-M Mini-Guide.
Unclassified folks are assigned IBS-U when they meet the Rome IV criteria for IBS in terms of recurrent abdominal pain, yet their bowel habits cannot fit into any of the IBS subtype categories.
In other words, someone may not experience significantly abnormal bowel patterns (more than 25% of the time having constipation, diarrhea, or both) unlike the subtype categories.
People with IBS often experience an individual "constellation" of symptoms unique to them (not so surprising right?).
If you suspect you have IBS-U, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, as bloating and abdominal pain may not only occur in IBS-U but also can overlap with other (some more serious than others) health issues such as: Celiac disease, Milk protein intolerance, Lactose intolerance, Food chemical sensitivities, Pelvic floor issues, Endometriosis, Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Constipation, Hypothyroidism, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Diverticular disease Cancers of the gastrointestinal and/or reproductive system, Pancreatic insufficiency, and others.
In my practice, I often find bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort are the primary struggles of IBS-U folks, and thus my recommendations target evidence-based ways to help reduce such symptoms.
Is IBS-U your diagnosed subtype?
Unfortunately, like IBS-M, IBS-U is the other of the two least researched subtypes, but chin up! Booking in with a registered dietitian trained in IBS (such as Monash University IBS Training) can point you in the right direction in your journey to manage your IBS-U.
If you’d like to sneak a peak at some of my top IBS-U tips I use in my practice, head on over to my Self Help Resource Page and snag your own free copy of my IBS-U Mini-Guide.
WHAT ABOUT SIBO?
You may have heard of SIBO (and been through some successful...or maybe not so successful treatments for SIBO), or this may be a new consideration for you.
Did you know approximately 30-40% of those with IBS may also have SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)?
I can hear your questions already, so let’s dive in a little more.
What is SIBO?
Well, first of all I’ll tell you what it’s not:
SIBO is not an infection, inflammation, or an “imbalance” of our gut bugs, and (surprise!) it does not occur spontaneously, meaning it usually is a symptom of something else.
Let’s back it up a little:
Our large intestine normally has trillions of healthy bacteria, viruses, and fungi that help us digest and ferment our food, feed our gut cells, produce certain vitamins like vitamin K, and more.
If these bacteria sneak past our ileocecal valve (a little sphincter, or band of muscles, that is kind of like the gate where our small intestine connects to our large intestine) and out of the large intestine, and set up camp in the small intestine, this can cause intense bloating, in particular.
Why? The small intestine is great at moving food, but not at moving gas like the large intestine is.
So if these good gut bugs (again, this isn’t an infection) are coming into contact and digesting (fermenting) non-digestible food particles, such as FODMAPs from the diet, the gasses produced may be quite tough to tolerate for the small bowel, and can lead to the person with SIBO experiencing their symptoms.
Always speak to your Doctor if you suspect SIBO, as your practitioner may need to still rule out other (potentially serious) undiagnosed issues first, such as celiac disease, IBD, colorectal cancer, or other gut-related issues before starting any interventions for SIBO. These issues may share overlapping symptoms with SIBO, and may pop up at anytime.
Common questions I come across in my practice with regards to SIBO are:
What might SIBO symptoms look like?
- Bloating, distension, and abdominal pain, usually worse at night (and better in the morning, because we’re fasted overnight...and also pass gas as we sleep)
- Bloating earlier after eating FODMAPs compared to someone with IBS (SIBO bloating may happen within 90 mins of eating FODMAPs for example)
- Farts that tend to smell worse than usual
- Feeling that more stools are still remaining after having a poop (incomplete evacuation)
- Low tolerance to fatty meals (due to possible bile acid diarrhea)
What colour is SIBO poop?
- Some folks with SIBO find their poop is lighter-colored or orange-tinged stools, or
- Sticky, tarry stools that may be hard to wipe
- Note, some changes in stool colour need to be brought up with your Doctor ASAP as they may be "red flags" or signs of something serious, such as red/blood in the stool, or pale stools, for example.
What shape are SIBO poops?
- Some folks with SIBO find their poop is long, skinny stools (they look like noodles or pencils), while others feel their bowel movements appear with the “normal” brown tinge.
- What foods trigger SIBO?
- This may vary from person to person, but the lion’s share I see react mostly to fibres and/or FODMAPs. There are other foods and food categories that some people may also react to as well.
What increases someone’s risk of SIBO?
- Inflammation (Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, Colitis)
- Food poisoning or traveler's diarrhea*
- Low stomach acid (age, disease, or long term reflux/antacid medication use)*
- Slow gut or chronic constipation
- Bowel surgery (scar tissues, or resection)
- Excess alcohol
- Antibiotic use*
- Diverticula "pocket" in small intestine
- Pancreatic insufficiency (when our pancreas isn’t doing its job well)
- “Grazing” all day as opposed to eating regular balanced meals
- Taking a probiotic when also having any of the above issues noted with a “*”
How is SIBO tested?
- Breath tests are available in Canada with lactulose as a substrate (the same stuff you drink for bowel prep for scopes).
- Consult with your healthcare professional about your concerns about SIBO and whether they are able to order you a SIBO breath test kit.
- Note there are many factors that may illicit inaccurate SIBO breath test results, such as underlying constipation and consuming too many FODMAPs in the 24 hours leading up to the test, just to name two.
- Always check with your healthcare provider before undertaking a SIBO breath test.
Can SIBO be treated naturally?
- Some natural remedies have been proposed for SIBO, such as oregano oil, garlic extract, L-glutamine, and digestive enzymes.
- At this time, there is not enough evidence to indicate that herbal remedies are superior to antibiotics treating SIBO (and no, that 2014 study which states otherwise contained poorly designed research)
What is currently the most effective treatment for SIBO?
- Your healthcare provider may prescribe you an antibiotic (commonly Rifaximin) or a combination of antibiotics, depending on your individual health picture, bowel habits, and breath test results, among other factors they may consider.
Can I manage SIBO symptoms through diet?
- Some of my clients find the Low FODMAP Diet helpful in managing symptoms while being treated for SIBO. It’s important to point out the lack of research in this area, however.
- If you suspect the Low FODMAP Diet might be helpful in reducing your symptoms of SIBO, such as bloating, check out my free Bloating, IBS & Low FODMAP Starter Guide for Low FODMAP Food swaps, High FODMAP Food Additives to watch for, and my favourite FODMAP digesting enzyme blend that actually targets 3 of the 6 FODMAP groups (like the gassy fructans found in garlic and onion).
- Avoiding excess alcohol, can be one way of reducing a person’s risk of developing SIBO in the first place, and can help in reducing the risk of repeatedly developing SIBO.
If interventions for SIBO do not work, tell your Doctor, and consider working with a specially trained Dietitian to identify any possible FODMAP (or other) triggers.
Remember, SIBO is a symptom of something else and may reoccur if the reason someone developed SIBO in the first place remains unidentified.
If you are a resident of BC, and if you want help navigating your IBS (or your potential SIBO) book here if you’d like to work with me.
Always, always consult your health care practitioner prior to starting, stopping, or altering any diet, supplement or lifestyle change!