You may feel you’ve come to the end of the road after being told to self-manage your symptoms but today we know a lot more about what contributes to IBS than we did even 12 months ago.
IBS will be diagnosed by the Rome IV criteria which directly relate to digestive symptoms but goes no further into investigating what could be the cause.
In reality a multitude of factors can be contributing to the symptoms.
It’s important to remember that IBS is a label but it doesn’t tell us what is behind the symptoms. It’s my role to help you uncover what is behind these symptoms and help you regain your health.
Can IBS Be Cured?
When we talk about gut health and the symptoms we may be experiencing it’s important to remember that IBS isn’t a condition like diabetes or heart disease. In these conditions there is a clear understanding of how they develop and how to test for them. In IBS things are less clear.
IBS is diagnosed on symptoms alone. The presence of bloating, cramping and altered stool patterns tell us a lot about how we’re feeling. However, they don’t get us any closer to understanding why we are experiencing them and more importantly what to do about them. The ‘why‘ can be different each individual but by understanding the gut we can work through the possible reasons and help to bring things back into balance.
The multiple factors that contribute to IBS have recently been explored in a peer reviewed article entitled “Does Irritable Bowel Syndrome Exist? Identifiable and Treatable Causes of Associated Symptoms Suggest It May Not”.
This title is not suggesting that IBS is made up in your head but the article focuses on the fact that there are many underlying issues that can contribute to digestive system being sent out of balance and this disruption is what is leading to your symptoms. By identifying which ones are most relevant to you and addressing them that we work towards bringing about lasting change.
The underlying issues fall into 3 categories:
- Lifestyle & Environment (eg. stress, poor sleep)
- Nutritional Factors (eg. vitamin deficiencies, food sensitivities)
- Functional Imbalances (eg. gut bacteria imbalances, infections)
Within each of these 3 categories there are a number of aspects that contribute to a disrupted gut. Some examples are listed above but in fact, the research identified 17 factors that have the potential to contribute to IBS. This is why medication can be so hit and miss as it can only address one aspect at a time.
So as you can see, to ‘cure’ IBS we need to see it as a disease. In reality it needs to be seen as a sign that something is out of balance somewhere. It’s my role to understand why your IBS is happening and help you take back control of your health.
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Treatment & Therapy
Rather than living on a restricted diet forever there is another way. By identifying and addressing the underlying issue we can bring about lasting change.
Treatment and support include:
- Short term elimination diets to assess for food sensitivities
- Strain specific probiotic supplementation
- Targeted nutritional supplementation
- Testing to assess the gut bacteria
- Supportive lifestyle recommendations