To date Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has largely been considered a diagnosis of exclusion and there has been little help for patients struggling with this issue. Fortunately for IBS sufferers, this is an area where naturopathic medicine shines. There is a lot we can do to effectively treat the root cause and heal the digestive tract, so that you can enjoy life once again. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the intestines. It affects nearly 30% of the population and is the most common reason for a referral to a gastroenterologist. It is characterized by a malfunction in the digestive tract whereby the normally rhythmic contractions of the small and large intestines become irregular and erratic which results in a painful cramping sensation. IBS can also sometimes be mistaken for ulcerative colitis which is an inflammatory bowel disease, but unlike ulcerative colitis, the colon is not damaged and there is no increased risk of colon cancer. Following are the most common symptoms of IBS: – Constipation and/or diarrhea – Abdominal pain and cramping (often relieved by or brought on by a bowel movement) – Gas, flatulence and/or heartburn – Audible abdominal rumbling and gurgling – Nausea and/or vomiting – Feeling full easily – Mucous in the stool Here are the 5 primary causes of IBS and solutions for each: 1. Food sensitivities and allergies The first step in treating IBS is to determine whether your problem is actually an allergy or sensitivity to food. You can do this in one of two ways: 1. Follow an elimination eating plan which removes the most common sources of allergenic and inflammatory foods from your diet 2. Get your IgE & IgG food allergies and sensitivities tested. This is a quick and easy blood test that measures your body’s reaction to 200 foods that commonly cause issues in the body. I run this test often with my patients with a lot of success. Once you identify what is causing the pain and damage, you remove it so your body can heal and you can feel good again. 2. A diet high in saturated fats, fried & processed foods, and refined foods. This creates a high level of inflammation in your gut and sets you up for IBS. The most reliable way to calm an irritable bowel is to adhere to good diet.
Solution: – Focus on eating whole foods that aren’t processed. Avoid fried and refined foods as they are hard to digest and will further irritate your gut. – Fiber is your friend. It will regulate your bowels and soothe your digestive tract. Gradually include fiber in every meal, especially whole grains, raw or lightly cooked vegetables, and legumes. Once your body adjusts you can slowly increase the amount each day. NB: avoid wheat bran – it often triggers allergies in IBS sufferers – Drink a glass of filtered water every 2 waking hours to ease the transit of your stool and keep your body hydrated. 3. Chronic infections of the digestive tract: parasites, bacteria or candida (yeast) There are a few specialized tests I use to determine whether you have a underlying infection or bacterial/yeast overgrowth. As with everything in medicine, knowledge is king. Once you know the cause you can address it. 1. Comprehensive Stool Test (with the option to add on parasite testing) 2. Organic Acids Test 3. SIBO (Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth) Breath Test 4. High stress levels and poor coping mechanisms Ongoing stress slows down the digestive process, and leads to faulty nervous system messaging to the GI tract.
Solution: – Find healthy outlets for your stress. Here are some thought starters: restorative or yin yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, guided meditation, spend time outdoors, surround yourself with positive inspiring people, watch comedies or uplifting shows and avoid suspenseful/violent programs – Relora, passionflower, Valerian root are all safe and effective ways of lowering your stress response 5. A lack of healthy defensive bacteria in the digestive tract Antibiotics are frequently prescribed to reduce a bacterial infection so the body’s immune system can clear it. However, they don’t discriminate when it comes to killing off bacteria. Antibiotics reduce both the illness-causing bacteria (pathogenic) and our defensive bacteria (flora) in the gut. If you don’t put back high levels of defensive bacteria into your gut in form of a multi-strain probiotic, your gut is left defenseless. Pathogenic bacteria, yeast and/or parasites can then take over the terrain and can cause all sorts of digestive issues including IBS.
Solution: – Take a professional grade multi-strain probiotic to maintain adequate levels of defensive bacteria in your body – Explore alternatives to antibiotics with your MD or ND
If you have IBS symptoms there is no need to suffer. Book an Appt. and let’s get the healing underway!
Disclaimer: The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this website are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on supplements, medications, treatment plans and testing.
Adrenal fatigue is one of the most prevalent and misdiagnosed medical conditions. It is caused by prolonged or frequent stress and is governed by cortisol. Cortisol is the “fight or flight” hormone that ourRead more