Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the large intestine that is characterised by bloating, chronic abdominal cramps and pain. IBS also causes bouts of altered bowel behaviour between constipation, diarrhoea, and sometimes alternating between both.
IBS affects people worldwide but has been found to affect more females than males. IBS can begin at any stage in life: childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. IBS symptoms can disappear for periods of time only to reappear at any time. Research has proven there is no connection between IBS and an increased risk in other bowel conditions such as colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is also known to some as spastic colon, spastic bowel, and functional bowel disorder. It is often confused with colitis which shares some similarities colitis is far more serious and can damage the colon if left untreated.
Although researchers have yet to discover what triggers IBS, some studies have shown IBS may be the result of the large and small intestines over or under-sensing factors which can lead to abnormal bowel function.
Some specialists also believe the following factors could also trigger IBS:
- Food allergies
- Lack of fibre in a person’s diet
- Gastrointestinal infection
- Lack of physical exercise
- Acute enteritis such as traveller’s diarrhoea
- Female hormones
- Certain medications and foods (such as coffee, chocolate, and dairy products
Certain events can also trigger IBS such as travelling, a change in your daily routine, attending social events, or during a female’s menstrual period.
Please note that there is no definitive proof these actually cause IBS. They have just been present in many cases of people who have been diagnosed with IBS.
How We Treat IBS
Each individual case of IBS must be looked at differently depending on the patient.
Your Naturopath at our Melbourne Natural Medicine Clinic in Ringwood, will look for the top underlying causes of your Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms:
We take a thorough case history and then especially check for the most relevant causes.
Targetted testing will help us identify the contributing causes of your IBS.
Once identified, we go about treating you so that you can regain control of your digestive health.
Here are 5 of the causes we check for:
- Yeast/parasites/bacterial infection
Changes in gut ecology can have a profound effect on not only the digestive system, but health in general. Yeast infections due to a diet high in sugar and overuse of antibiotics will cause a range of digestive symptoms. The same applies to parasites and bacterial infections.
2. Your sensitivity to FODMAP foods.
FODMAP stands for (Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Monosaccharids and Polyols)
Sensitivity to FODMAP’s refers to a condition characterised by the impaired intestinal absorption of certain dietary sugars. These sugars include fructose found in fruit and vegetables, lactose found in diary and sorbitol found in a range of fruits and vegetables. Eating these foods can bring on the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, especially pain, bloating, gas and altered bowel function.
You will also note your symptoms aggravated by fruit intake and often onions and legumes.
3. SIBO (Small intestine bacterial overgrowth)
In certain individuals, bacteria can migrate from the large intestine up into the small intestine where they are not supposed to be. Dietary sugar and starch are then fermented by these bacteria causing irritable bowel symptoms.
You may also find that your symptoms can be aggravated by sugar or starch intake.
4. Food Sensitivities/intolerances
70 % of our immune system is located around the intestines, so it stands to reason that people can develop immune responses to certain foods. Especially the case if the intestinal lining has been damaged in some way by things like excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, antibiotics, parasites etc.
Certain molecules found in food can react in the gut lining causing a range of irritable bowel symptoms. Common sensitivities include eggs, dairy and gluten.
A simple IgG food sensitivity panel will show if this is the cause of your digestive symptoms.
Stress is a known trigger of digestive complaints. We know that the brain communicates with the digestive tract. We often note that when we are under acute stress, the digestive system can become overactive. Or when nervous we get “butterflies in the stomach”.
From the information gathered and test results, we are able to formulate a healthy plan of attack to assist in relieving your symptoms and managing your IBS to allow your life to continue unhindered by embarrassing and painful symptoms.