on February 8, 2001
While this is an easy book to read, understand and even use in your quest to avoid the pain and symptoms of IBS there are several serious shortcomings. First, the author is a layman. She is not a doctor, does not treat IBS or practice any sort of health care. She is a writer. A good writer who draws from a variety of medical sources and credits them diligently, but still not a doctor or academic.
This is also a highly 'womanocentric' book. Of all the examples cited in the text I found ONE that was not a female. While woman are more likely to suffer from IBS than men in America this is still more of a 'womans book' and focuses at length on issues that do not concern the other gender at all. I will not, for instance, be experiencing any greater onset of symptoms during menstruation.
The author advocates adding fiber to the diet. This is sound advice supported by most, if not all doctors and nutritionists. While she mentions the difference between soluable and insoluable fiber she says "You needn't worry about which fiber is which..." (p.161) This couldn't be worse advice. Insoluable fiber causes many of the symptoms of IBS to worsen and is not recommended by any other sources I have found. Read other books on IBS, there are some great ones right here on Amazon, or check around the web where there are hundreds of resources for people with IBS. Nobody else recommends adding insoluable fiber to your diet, and most sources recommend eliminating it.
Finally, the bulk of the book does not concern IBS directly at all but is filled with 'holistic' approaches to all around wellness. This sounds nice but I'm not looking for a book on "Developing Coping Skills", "Exploring Biofeedback", "Learning Personal Relaxation Techniques", or "Talking to Yourself". these are all chapters in Ms. Shimberg's book. I have yet to find anyone else who links talking to myself with relief from a colon spasm.
You will find no list of potential food triggers, nor a discusion of meal planning or preparation. The author says that everyone is different so what triggers one person's symptoms is ok for another. While this may be true there are many food groups that most authorities agree are difficult to digest and should be avoided. Simply ducking the whole issue does not help me find reflief.
To summarize, this book offers no new information or research... it is by a layman. It offers a plethora of "New Age" treatments which have no proven benefits in treating IBS. And it actually has some outright bad advice in it. i.e. not worrying about which type of fiber you add to your diet.
If you are seeking an understanding of your pain and a strategy for relief, look elsewhere.
on September 8, 2000
Thank goodness that at last there are many books available about IBS (or whatever name you may have been calling your high-strung digestive system), but this one is a great one to start with. Right on the cover it lists several of the names IBS has been called over the years. It's short, which lets you then move on to books related to the specifics of your own condition, which it emphasizes again and again varies widely from person to person. I especially liked the chapter "Kids with IBS", a subject close to the hearts of any of us who have been long misunderstood (and too often blaimed) for having this disorder. We each develop our own way to cope, and how great to read the chapter "Talking to Yourself" and discover that I really wasn't crazy after all. A great book to start with, but don't stop here because the truth really will set you free (or at least help you live with it).