"Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects almost 50 million Americans, or almost one in every six people. You probably know if you have IBS, with its numerous symptoms including bloating or gas, distention, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and most likely, running to the bathroom after you eat.
Forty percent of all visits to internists are for “functional bowel” disorders such as IBS, and the cost for treating these types of digestive disorders is $107 billion a year.
Still, I see many patients for IBS who have not had success with conventional doctors. That’s because most doctors have no clue how to treat it or what creates it.
Functional Medicine practitioners take a whole new way of thinking about solving the puzzle of chronic symptoms and diseases. IBS provides a fantastic model for illustrating how Functional Medicine works. Even though it creates needless misery for millions of people, this condition is entirely fixable. "
"While research tells us the two main causes of IBS are food allergies and overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, many others can also contribute to this condition, including:
- A lack of digestive enzymes
- Parasites living in the gut
- Zinc or magnesium deficiency
- Heavy metal toxicity
This is precisely why it is so critically important to personalize treatment based on the unique circumstances that exist for each person who suffers from IBS. The solution is most certainly not one-size-fits-all. But solutions can be found if we look carefully at the underlying causes and treat them.
I’ve had excellent results treating patients with IBS, and have developed a protocol that can help you address and eliminatethis condition. Be sure to read next week’s blog where I will provide a comprehensive dietary, nutrient, and lifestyle protocol that helps address IBS."
"Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that causes millions of Americans to suffer with intestinal cramping, bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea. It affects women twice as often as men. Some women with IBS have constipation that can persist for days, weeks, or even months. Others have frequent loose stools. Alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea are super common, and sometimes people with IBS have a crampy urge to have a bowel movement, but nothing happens. Many women patients have sent me photos of themselves looking 5-7 months pregnant – when they are not pregnant at all; it’s due to bloating after a meal and has caused them substantial social embarrassment.
The Why and When of IBS Symptoms
IBS is so common that fully 30% of all referrals to a gastroenterologist are for IBS symptoms. In the past, women were told that the problem was basically psychological (are we ever going to stop telling people it’s all in their heads just because stress can be a trigger?). It is now known that people with IBS have greater sensitivity in the nerves and muscle fibers in their intestines than those who don’t have it. This means they are more reactive to a variety of stimuli including certain foods, chemicals we produce under stress, and hormones.
IBS symptoms may occur just situationally, for example, before a major exam, job interview, date, or public speaking engagement, or they can occur regularly, making you uncomfortable, or even downright miserable, many times each day, though most people with IBS struggle with it regularly even without major obvious emotional triggers.
Most, though not all, IBS sufferers report that their symptoms occur or are worse after a meal. Many women report that symptoms are worse just before the start of their periods. Some of my patients have had such significant problems with gas or loose stools that they are anxious about social events, and what should be normal activities like going grocery shopping or having to travel any more than short distances for fear of needing a bathroom quickly.
Conventional treatments include a variety of medications from antispasmodics to reduce cramping, to laxatives to control constipation, to antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to control mood. These all provide symptomatic relief but do not get to the root causes, meaning the underlying factors that lead to the gut hypersensitivity or irritability.
The good news is that IBS does not cause permanent damage to the intestines or lead to any dangerous or life-threatening disease. But for many, it can be socially disabling and downright uncomfortable.
My experience as a practicing integrative and functional medicine doctor has shown me that there are clear causes for IBS, and that it can be cured. I’ve seen it happen so many times that I’m sometimes shocked that conventional medicine just hasn’t caught on yet.
I’m going to share with you exactly what I share with my patients about how to cure it."