Digestive Disorders and Gut Health
Sonya Reynolds – Online Nutritional Therapist
Online Digestive Health Consultations
Helping people make friends with their digestive health is one of my favourite things to do. Happy tummies lead to happy people – Life is too short to be spending all of your quality time with your toilet.
I offer personalised advice and treatment to my clients through convenient and effective online consultations. I don’t run a protocol, I am like a detective looking for the cause or the trigger of your condition. I use my extensive experience alongside comprehensive Stool Testing, Microbiome Mapping, IgG Food Intolerance Testing and Blood Testing to truly understand the “terrain” of your gut.
I have helped hundreds of clients, both kids and adults, over my 14 years as a nutritionist to heal their gut. I use natural food and targeted supplements to support and overcome digestive disorders like constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, acid reflux, IBS, leaky gut, food intolerances, and gut dysbiosis.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Constipation is not only uncomfortable but it also prohibits the regular elimination of unwanted bacteria, and waste products from the body causing more problems down the line. Maybe you have been constipated your whole life and that’s your ‘normal’ but now you are starting to notice that you get frequent headaches, stomach pain, or hemorrhoids.
If you’re thinking “that’s me!”, you’re not alone. It is estimated that up to 20% of Australians suffer from chronic constipation, which your GP will typically treat by prescribing a laxative, sometimes indefinitely.
There are 2 major issues when it comes to the use of laxatives for constipation.
- The bowel is a muscle and like any muscle, it needs to work to stay strong and operate efficiently. Consistent use of laxatives enables your bowel to become “lazy”.
- It fails to address the root cause of constipation, instead focusing on treating the symptom.
Constipation can have many causes including a lack of fibre, food intolerances, gut dysbiosis (bacteria), dehydration, medications and changes in habits or lifestyle. It could be one of those things or all of those things combined.
I take a whole-body approach to treatment. Not only will we look at functional stool tests (an advanced version of the standard test you get at your GP), but also food intolerance tests, Microbiome Mapping, blood tests and reviewing your body systems to uncover the complete picture.
Have you had the experience where your child can’t go to the toilet? Or if they do go, are they rabbit poos? Constipation makes kids uncomfortable, irritable and just generally unhappy. I’m passionate about helping parents to avoid indefinite laxative use for their children by getting their bowels working again naturally with both dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
The great thing about children is that they typically respond well to even minor changes and interventions, minimising the stress on parents and relieving the core issues quite quickly. As a specialist in children’s constipation and digestive health, I offer personalised advice and treatment to parents and their children aged 2 and above through convenient and effective online consultations.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Have you been diagnosed with IBS? Unfortunately, just knowing “yes I have IBS” does nothing to quell the onslaught of symptoms you’re undoubtedly suffering. We want to figure out why your bowel is cranky and irritable! My job is to look for potential causes or triggers for your IBS so I can use that information to formulate a plan to provide genuine relief.
Thankfully, your diet is the most powerful influence on IBS symptoms. Through a comprehensive review of your diet and lifestyle and their impact on your digestive system with functional tests, I will develop a strong understanding of what’s happening inside you.
Every person is unique and there is no magic pill or fix-all diet that works 100% of the time. Every recommendation I make is personalised to suit you and your needs. We may trial a low FODMAP diet which has been highly effective for many suffering from IBS, or perhaps we find other dietary triggers and remove those. Combined with nutritional therapy practices such as stress management and lifestyle guidance, I take a holistic approach to ensure the best results.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Many symptoms including food intolerances, headaches, bloating, gas, cramps and even skin issues such as eczema and rashes have all been linked to intestinal permeability, more colloquially known as leaky gut.
When our gut is “leaky” it allows larger molecules to cross the gut wall which can lead to increased immune activation and increased toxicity in the digestive system. This is typically caused by dysbiosis or bacterial imbalance between helpful and harmful species of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.
The good news is there are ways to test for intestinal permeability – I like to check Zonulin levels. If testing results and symptoms align we will work to treat the issue naturally using dietary and lifestyle changes.
Parasites can live in our digestive system for years without causing symptoms. When they do, symptoms can include pain, diarrhoea, nausea, bloating, skin irritation, weight loss, and feeling tired. We can confirm the existence of parasites with a basic test, but the problem with these basic tests is they don’t tell us what else is going on in the gut.
My aim is to understand the terrain of the gut. Just like the health of any environment, it matters what is in there and in what numbers. Maybe a parasite got a foothold because you don’t have enough good bacteria, or perhaps you have a pathogenic bacterial overgrowth alongside the Parasite causing IBS-like symptoms.
I will be your detective to figure out what is triggering your symptoms and then create a plan of treatment to improve the health of your gut through natural nutrition.
Dysbiosis occurs when the bacteria in your gut get out of balance. A healthy gut is a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria, but when there is a disruption to the microbiome, the bad guys can take over.
Just like a movie where there is a fight between good and evil to win the war, our gut is an ecosystem in constant battle. Unfortunately, sometimes the bad bacteria get the upper hand and the good just don’t have the numbers to fight back effectively.
This take-over of bad bacteria in the body’s digestive systems is commonly diagnosed as SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) or SIFO (Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth) and sometimes it is a combination of both Dysbiosis and SIBO or SIFO! I have had my own personal gut health journey with SIBO however, and I didn’t gain the results I wanted until I looked further into my complete microbiome mapping and worked on some key health markers such as secretory IgA.
The symptoms of dysbiosis include things like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, belching, and abdominal pain. If left untreated dysbiosis has also been linked with wider health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, allergies, IBD and even cancer.
Our lifestyle and diets can directly impact our gut bacteria and lead to Dysbiosis. The good news is we can change this terrain through improvements to your general gut health and bacterial diversity.
Book a FREE 15-minute introductory chat to learn more about how I can help address and manage your digestive disorders and place you on a path to better gut health with natural food and supplements.
I’m Sonya Reynolds, a Sydney-based degree certified Nutritionist and Life Coach with over 14 years of experience. I use a holistic approach to food and mindset to help my clients achieve their health and wellbeing goals.