IBS is often used as an umbrella term for bowel dysfunction, although it is a very specific condition with a psychological element affecting the gut. Sufferers often have chronic diarrhoea and/or constipation which are worse when they are stressed. Therefore, both the biochemical and psychological aspects of any case must be taken into account for true lasting success.
Usually a combination of any of the following:
Is usually made after ruling out other functional gut disorders like Crohn's, colitis or diverticulitis. Many sufferers never see their GP and just put up with symptoms, which is a shame. That said, it is still probably the most common gut disorder seen in general practice. If nothing else is found and there are indicators such as bloating, pain with frequent bowel movements and a relief of pain when you do pass a stool, then it is normally thought of as IBS.
IBS can mimic other conditions, though, so it is worth getting checked out. For example, if you mostly have loose stools, you should check out coeliac disease and poor absorption problems like pancreatic insufficiency or even a bacterial infection. If you are more constipated, look at wheat intolerance, or get checked out that there are no mechanical issues like a blockage.
Other conditions to consider include:
Inflammatory bowel disease (like Crohn's and colitis)
Gut dysbiosis (an upset bowel bacteria balance)
Tests are important with a condition such as this as IBS can be caused by or be contributed to by so many different factors. Once you know what's involved, you can then target the problem much more effectively and hopefully solve it once and for all. There are many tests that could be done, but here are my top recommendations::
Gut Test - see the Gut Tests Overview for current recommendations of the best overall gut tests.
Candida SAPs (inc other yeasts, moulds and bacteria)
Pancreatic Insufficiency (ie. poor absorption)
Food Intolerance (dairy, wheat, grains, gluten, yeast)
Do read the full Gut Tests Overview here for more hints & tips on gut testing.
Over the years, I have seen many people with a diagnosis of ‘IBS' which turns out to be caused by one of the factors above. Food intolerance is the leading cause I've found, followed by candida overgrowth. For constipation, wheat intolerance and thyroid issues come up a lot.
Once you have ruled out acute problems such as bacterial infection (say, picked up on holiday) and coeliac disease (a clue is constantly low iron levels and/or feeling tired all the time), if the problem is chronic, you should take steps to eliminate it rather than continue to suffer.
Nutrigold have written a really good factsheet on IBS you might find useful, so I've included it for you here. The Gut Plan below is based very much on the naturopathic approach they talk about.
Are you fed up with bloating, wind, acid, mushy erratic stools and constipation?
Too many people continually put up with these symptoms which really drag down your quality of life, don't they? Draining bloating, embarassing uncontrollable wind, burning acid, rushing to the loo or sitting there for ages bunged up. Not nice.
You need the Gut Plan. Hop over here to read all about it and start getting rid; these are actually quite simple to solve once you know how. The Gut Plan is based on over a decade of specialising in this area and I wrote down what I find works for the vast majority of people with this type of gut problem.
The Plan is suitable if it's 'true' IBS with the gut-brain link well established. I have included details of how to break this link in it, based on the work we did for this specific problem in-clinic successfully for years.
Remember - always check out with your health practitioner or GP before starting anything new especially if you are taking any other medicines, are pregnant or trying to conceive or have high blood pressure. See here for more advice on interactions with meds and general cautions.
Click here for more info on what's in it ...
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The information given is not meant to be a substitute for seeing a health professional. It is our opinion only, based on several years of natural medicine practice and research. We're sure you'll find it useful, but please use it wisely and always exercise common sense.