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More and more people are suffering from the effects of irritable bowel syndrome and if not treated properly, the symptoms may progressively get worse over time. The symptoms of IBS can be a pesky nuisance or debilitating, depending on the person...and cause. Unfortunately, traditional medicine isn't necessarily equipped to deal with the root cause of this problem. Often, when sufferers go to the doctor for help, they are prescribed medications that are relatively ineffective and simply cover up the symptoms. We are here to tell you that finding the root cause of this problem doesn't have to be difficult.
Some of the main symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include:
- Constipation/diarrhea or a combination of both
- Abdominal pain, especially after eating
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- No desire to eat or strong cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
- Foggy Brain
- Acid Reflux
- Water Retention
If you've been suffering for quite some time and you've shared your symptoms with your doctor, you may have been prescribed corticosteroids, anti-anxiety medications or a strong acid inhibitor to name a few. These things can help reduce the symptoms but they will not cure the problem. You may have been told there is no real way to heal IBS with no answers as to how you got it in the first place.
We are here to tell you that there are answers and depending on how severe your symptoms, we have some options for you to consider.
Natural Solutions to Reduce the Symptoms of IBS
There are plenty of natural solutions to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms and possible cause of IBS. Decreasing the simple sugars in your diet or otherwise utilizing what is called a low FODMAPS diet can make a world of difference. FODMAP stands for "fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols." These are carbs that many people cannot digest and when consumed, can cause extreme gas and bloating.
A list of FODMAPs include:
- Fructose: A simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars.
- Lactose: A carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk.
- Fructans: Found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
- Galactans: Found in large amounts in legumes.
- Polyols: Sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners.
For a diet low in FODMAPs, look into a Paleo or Keto diet. If you are struggling with constipation, make sure you aren't consuming a majority of your calories in nuts or red meat. Many people mistake a Keto diet with Atkins. The Atkins diet can exacerbate digestive problems.
If you're experiencing diarrhea, you should look at adding in some fiber supplements to help firm up your stools. If you're having constipation you may need to take some magnesium or utilize some probiotics to help loosen your stools.
Peppermint reduces inflammation in the body.
A very effective supplement to heal the lining of the intestinal tract is an amino acid called L-glutamine. L-glutamine can greatly reduce the symptoms of IBS.
Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of IBS and alternative therapies such as hypnotherapy, mindfulness training, acupuncture, and stress reduction in combination with a low FODMAPS diet can be quite effective.
Looking For a More Direct Approach to Treating IBS?
If the natural solutions don't seem to be eliminating your symptoms, there are a number of tests that can be performed in our office to get to the root cause of your IBS.
Stool Test: A stool test can determine how well your body is breaking down and absorbing the foods you are eating. It can also determine whether you have the proper balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in your gut. Some bacteria is healthy and helps to break down the food you eat. If you've recently been prescribed antibiotics, you may need to replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut. Antibiotics will kill all the bacteria in your body, both good and bad.
Stool tests also identify whether there is any yeast or parasites present in your digestive tract. Yeast feeds on sugar and carbohydrates. If you are struggling with a sugar addiction or having strong cravings, you may have a yeast overgrowth.
SIBO Test: SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth. The SIBO test is a breath test. Many times, people with IBS also suffer from SIBO. In addition to a FODMAPS diet, SIBO needs to be treated with an antibiotic. The antibiotic will also eliminate any good bacteria present so a quality probiotic should be taken as well or you may find yourself right back where you started.
Food Sensitivity Test: Many people suffer from food sensitivities that are undiagnosed and create inflammation in the body. Our office utilizes the ALCAT test. The ALCAT tests for food sensitivities with over 450 substances. Typically people don't relate their problems to a food sensitivity because they can develop later in life. Food sensitivities can create IBS.
By utilizing these tests, we can best treat you by helping you avoid foods that you should not be eating as well as determining how well your body is breaking down the foods that you are eating and utilizing them for your energy sources. We can also provide you with some natural antimicrobials to help reduce some of the gas and bloating sensations that you may be having.
In the end, getting down to the root cause of your problems through testing can help us pinpoint exactly what treatments will benefit your unique body.
What Happens If IBS Is Not Treated Effectively?
Unfortunately, if Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not treated, it can lead to more serious issues such as an inability to think clearly and effectively, leaky gut, depression, insomnia, hormonal imbalances and eventually...malnourishment.
If you would like to learn more about whether your body is indeed suffering from IBS, take our MSQ Questionnaire online. Once our office receives the results, we will contact you to schedule an in person or online consultation with Dr. Paul to help you feel good again!