IBS; a condition that many Dr’s label when they don’t know or can’t be bothered finding out the root cause. IBS is exactly what is says- your bowel is irritated, but by what? And here lies the question!
Irritable bowel syndrome is an unpleasant cluster of digestive symptoms including abdominal pain, mucous in the stools, and alternating diarrhea and constipation.
What are the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- Abdominal pain or cramping that is often relieved by passing wind or faeces
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- A sensation that the bowels are not fully emptied after passing a motion
- Abdominal bloating
- Mucus present in the stools
Causes of IBS
A specific cause of irritable bowel syndrome has not been demonstrated however a number of factors are thought to contribute. It is important to note the triggers are likely to be different in each person.
Infection: Some cases of IBS are triggered by a bacterial, viral or parasitic infection. It is thought that the past infection may have altered nerve functions in the bowel or the treatment that was used altered the beneficial bacterial balance resulting in persistent symptoms. You can have pathology tests that use very sensitive DNA techniques to analyse faecal samples.This sensitive technology results in a higher detection of either persistent bacterial or parasitic infections.
Food intolerance: Food intolerances are a common trigger of IBS in some patients. A food intolerance is different to a food allergy as it refers to impaired absorption of food compound such as the sugar in milk (lactose) or FODMAP (which stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols). These are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed. In people with gastrointestinal symptoms, a diet high in FODMAPs can induce diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating, wind and abdominal pain. The major FODMAPs are fructose (found in honey, apples, pears…), fructans (found in wheat, rye, onions…), galactans (found in legumes, cabbage…), polyols (found in stone fruits, mushrooms…) and lactose (milk, ice cream…).
General diet: It is common to find the overall composition of the diet or sometimes a specific trigger contributes to IBS symptoms. Pancreatic insufficiency can also be a factor.
Emotional stress: It is well established that the hormones secreted in states of stress or anxiety can affect the digestive nervous system resulting in symptoms of IBS.
Medications: Some medications can cause symptoms of IBS symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea.
IBS symptoms can mimic coeliac disease so testing can be good to eliminate this as a potential cause or exacerbate.
So if you have been given the diagnoses of IBS and want to find out if there is anything more you can do, you can contact me to see how I can help you.
Dinielle Farquharson: 9553 9823
Nutritional Medicine Practitioner