Understanding IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in the Western countries. People suffering from IBS experience altered bowel habits, bloating, cramps, frequently suffering from constipation, diarrhea, or alternating episodes of both. However, their intestines contain no structural or pathologic abnormalities. It is important to screen for parasite infection, Coeliac Disease, Crohn's and Ulceraeive Coltiis before treating for IBS. Although IBS is extremely common, it is poorly understood. IBS is often divided into three major variants according to the Rome III criteria (Drossman DA et al, 2006).

1. Diarrhea-predominant IBS: three to seven bowel movements per day; loose, watery stools; and fecal urgency. One or more of these symptoms must be present.

2. Constipation-predominant IBS: fewer than three bowel movements per week; hard or lumpy stools; and straining during bowel movements. One of more of these symptoms must be present.

3. Alternating diarrhoea and constipation IBS.

There is no test that can diagnose IBS. And, because the symptoms of IBS occur with so many diseases, a long list of conditions must be ruled out before IBS can be diagnosed. It is important to note that IBS is not an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions are characterized by inflammation in the lower digestive tract, including the colon and (in Crohn’s) the small intestine. IBS produces no pronounced inflammation and no outward signs that anything is wrong. So far, the causes of IBS remain a mystery. The disease tends to strike almost exclusively among adults, and it is more common among women than men. A number of explanations have been proposed, including hypersensitivity and increased motor reactivity in the large intestine, often triggered by diet and stress. This affects the movement of stool and gas through the colon, resulting in constipation, diarrhea, or both. IBS flare-ups can be triggered by a number of factors, including specific foods, allergies, diet, and stress. In fact, IBS is associated with sexual abuse and rape (Kasper DL et al 2005).

Because IBS is so poorly understood, few drugs in the conventional armamentarium show consistent results. Instead, many patients are rotated among various drugs aimed at controlling their abnormal bowel habits and among antidepressants or medications that affect serotonin receptors. For most patients, however, these extraordinary steps are unnecessary, and the best therapy is natural, based on diet management, dietary supplements that encourage healthy digestion as well as lifestyle changes that have been proven to reduce symptoms and bring IBS under control.

The integrated medical approach we take to eradicating IBS at the CIBS Solutions, is to use current physiology to understand the root cause of why the gut is in a state of dysfunction and therefore why you aren’t feeling well. Recent evidence has shown that IBS is due to a fundamental, functional deficit in four areas, GUT MICROBIOTA, FOOD SENSITIVITY, GUT WALL INTEGRITY and VISCERAL/SOMATIC HYPERSENSITIVITY, and if all 4 areas are not addressed, any other approach is doomed to failure.  Addressing the underlying deficits and imbalances of the gut that lead to dysfunction is a different mindset from that of using drugs to suppress your symptoms. It requires more work, nutritional supplementation, multiple disciplines, better communication between physician and patient and a thought process that is able to get down to the basic, fundamental, physiology and functionality of the human gut and how to repair it.