Book Review: The Gut Solution

Book cover The Gut Solution
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The Gut Solution: For Parents with Children Who Have Recurrent Abdominal Pain & Irritable Bowel Syndrome is written as a self-help book to give parents helpful tools for dealing with their child's digestive distress. The book is based on a program that the authors have developed for use in their own clinical practice for working with children who have IBS or RAP

The program on which the book is based is called the SEEDS program, which stands for Stress Management, Education, Exercise, Diet, and Sleep.

The book provides an overview of IBS and a rationale for the elements of the program. The book then offers instructions for parents to ensure that they are addressing all of the elements of the program in order to help to bring about symptom relief in their children.

About the Authors

The book is a collaborative effort of a gastroenterologist and a clinical psychologist. Michael Lawson, M.D. is a gastroenterologist with Kaiser Permanente and a Clinical Professor at UC Davis. Jessica Del Pozo, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist at Kaiser Permanente. 

Strong Points

  • The book is written in an easy-to-understand tone.
  • The book does an excellent job of providing parents with practical tools for supporting the overall, digestive, and mental health of their children.
  • The book offers a holistic approach to mental and digestive health, including strategies for addressing all of the aspects of the SEEDS program listed above.


    • The discussion of the factors that lead to the development of IBS was, in my opinion, dated. There was an over-emphasis on psychological factors and a dismissal or lack of coverage of more recent research findings.

    Is This Book for You?

    I really wanted to love this little book as it is so needed!

     And, I did - the second half! The first half, covering the medical aspects of IBS made me want to tear my hair out! As stated above, the authors focused almost exclusively on the brain/gut connection, in other words, psychological factors in the development and maintenance of IBS. The role of food  and food sensitivities was very much minimized (FODMAPs were not even mentioned until well into the second half of the book!)

    Similarly, the role of gut bacteria was also minimized. I had to stop myself from throwing the book across the room when I got to the discussion of post-infectious IBS: " is more likely that the original infection simply uncovered or triggered the IBS, allowing it to surface." Is it not more likely that the infection altered the balance of the gut bacteria thus creating a chronic condition?!? 

    However, I am glad that I stuck with the book. The second half of the book provides an excellent handbook for parents who are at a loss as to what to do with their child who always seems to have a belly-ache.

     The book could be seen as "Parenting 101", as it offers excellent, easy-to-follow, strategies as to how to be a good parent, including how to best manage a child who has chronic digestive issues. The book includes all of the aspects of the SEEDS program - stress management, education, exercise, diet, and sleep. 

    Is this book for you? The answer is an overwhelming yes if you have a child with IBS or recurrent abdominal pain. Just read the first half with a healthy dose of skepticism.

    Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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