What is the gastrocolic reflex? On Instagram @AndreaHardyRD, I talk all about what happens when you experience the gastrocolic reflex and ways to help manage this IBS symptom.

Image of @andreahardyrd Instagram post about gastrocolic reflex


So many of my IBS-D patients are worried food is going ‘right through them’.⁠⠀
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It’s not actually (usually) the case 📋⁠⠀
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𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 ‘𝐠𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐨-𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐥𝐞𝐱’ 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞!⁠⠀
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When you eat, it triggers your nervous system to stimulate motility, or movement of your colon.💨⁠⠀
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This is your body’s way to make room for the food you’re ingesting.⁠⠀
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𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐦?⁠⠀
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When you have ‘visceral hypersensitivity’ (the ability to feel what’s going on in your gut more intensely, often resulting in pain a typical occurrence in IBS), this sensation is a pain in the b̶u̶t̶t̶ gut – especially if you have to 🚗 to work afterward! ⁠⠀
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It can be VERY stressful for patients to have to plan their lives around the 🚽, and can create a really negative symptom cycle.♻️⁠⠀
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𝐏𝐫𝐨 𝐭𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐲𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐨𝐦:⁠⠀
✅ trial having coffee/ black tea after, rather than before your morning BM, as it can heighten this response.⁠⠀
✅activate your parasympathetic nervous system prior to eating – some deep belly breathing is a great way to do this!⁠⠀
✅ eat mindfully, creating a positive eating environment⁠⠀
✅ practice self compassion⁠⠀
✅talk with your doctor about strategies for medication management if this is severe⁠⠀
✅work with a psychologist on body awareness, and creating safety in the body when this sensation occurs (this symptom is stressful and can activate our fight or flight – a psychologist like Kirsten @ignite.nutrition.inc can teach you skills to ride the wave of this discomfort, create safety in the body, and help to reduce these ‘fight or flight’ type responses). ⠀⁠