If you’ve dealt with the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), then you know how frustrating it can be. IBS is a condition that affects the motility of the intestines, so they move food and waste along either too quickly or too slowly. This causes cluster of symptoms, including abdominal pain, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS is a chronic condition that can be very disruptive to a person’s life and overall health.
What Causes IBS?
There are some key issues to consider before trying IBS treatment options. These include:
- Food Sensitivities. Different from a true food allergy, a food sensitivity is when your body experiences inflammation and discomfort in reaction to certain foods. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is sensitive to diet, and certain foods may cause problems by encouraging bacterial overgrowth, which contributes to the next condition.
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Bacteria from the colon can leak into the small intestine and rapidly multiply, causing many uncomfortable symptoms.
- Stress. As we gain more understanding about the link between the gut and the brain, it is becoming clear that IBS and stress cause a feedback loop. Stress causes the brain to send signals to the gut, causing the intestines to contract more quickly or more slowly. This contributes to pain and diarrhea or constipation. These conditions, in turn, cause more stress.
Why is IBS So Hard to Diagnose and Treat?
In conventional medicine, IBS treatment is somewhat unorthodox. Generally, the diagnosis is given when no other cause for the abdominal symptoms can be found. Then the approach to treating it is to address the symptoms. Rather than looking for a comprehensive IBS treatment, doctors often prescribe antidiarrheal, antimotility (to slow down how fast food moves through the intestine), or antidepressant medications. While these can result in temporary improvements in the symptoms, they do nothing to address the issues leading to IBS in the first place.
For functional medical professionals, treating the symptoms does not go far enough. Using tools such as breath testing to determine if a bacterial overgrowth is affecting the small intestine, doctors can identify the underlying problems that are causing these issues. With this knowledge, they can then seek to restore health and balance to the gut, with some simple but powerful tools:
- Diet modifications. In nearly all cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome diet plays a huge role. An IBS diet involves eliminating foods that a patient is sensitive to in order to restore a healthy balance in the gut. In fact, if SIBO is an issue, then it’s also important to remove foods that feed that bacterial overgrowth. The FODMAP Irritable Bowel Syndrome diet does just that, eliminating certain types of foods (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) that encourage the proliferation of certain bacteria. Eliminating those foods gives your body a chance to heal and recover.
- Antibiotics. If a patient has been diagnosed with SIBO, a course of antibiotics can be invaluable in restoring the small intestine to its natural, bacteria-free state.
Apollo Medical Associates
The compassionate professionals at Apollo Medical Associates provide a range of functional medical solutions. We are committed to addressing the whole health of the individual, using powerful tools such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). We find that BHRT helps us balance hormones in a gentle and comprehensive way, which primes the body to heal. This prepares the body to deal with many other conditions. Apollo’s approach to IBS treatment is just one example of a health problem that is easier to deal with once underlying hormone imbalances are corrected. Together with BHRT, we offer skilled diagnostics to get to the root of IBS or other health problems.
At Apollo Medical Associates we will never be content to simply reduce unpleasant symptoms. We seek to heal the body and restore the balance that leads to vibrant health. If you are looking for IBS treatment, please contact the functional medicine practitioner at Apollo. Let us show you how different it feels when your body is given what it needs to truly heal.