Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is the most common digestive disorder seen by physicians. More than twice as many women suffer from the condition as men. IBS is one of a range of conditions known as functional gastrointestinal disorders. In IBS, this disorder of functioning is with the way nerves and muscles are working. This interferes with the normal movement of food and waste material and leads to the accumulation of mucus and toxins in the intestine. This accumulated material sets up a partial obstruction of the digestive tract, trapping gas and stool, which in turn causes bloating, distention and constipation. There are no physical signs of disease in bowel tissue with this disorder, and its cause is unknown, but one theory is that irregularities in cholecystokinin (CCK), motilin and vasoactive intestinal theory, people with IBS have abnormal contractions of the smooth muscle of the digestive tract. Some scientists believe a virus or bacterium may play a role.

Conventional medical treatment of IBS focuses primarily on drugs that suppress symptoms.

Considerations

Lifestyle factors such as stress and diet are probably common causes as are food allergies. The overuse of antibiotics, antacids or laxatives, which disturb the bacterial microflora of the bowel may also be a factor. Whether or not an individual with IBS eats normally, malnutrition may result because nutrients often are not absorbed properly. As a result, people with IBS require as much as 30% more protein than normal, as well as an increased intake of mineral and trace elements, which can quickly be depleted by diarrhoea.

Most people with IBS can lead active, productive lives if they change their diets, get regular exercise and replace needed nutrients. That’s where testing the gut function becomes very helpful to assess what is going on in the gut, to see any potential macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies, microbiome status, any possible parasite overgrowth which can be behind all of the symptoms of IBS. The majority of patients with IBS have at least one food intolerance, and some have multiple intolerances.

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