Irritable Bowel Syndrome (also known as IBS) affects much of our U.S. population, due to our highly-processed western diet. It is the most common reason for a referral to a gastroenterologist.
The modern-day, fast-food diet is definitely an issue. Refined, processed and altered foods that are hard to digest contribute to many symptoms of poor digestion.
IBS is characterized by a malfunction in the digestive tract. Usually, waste material is delivered through the tract to the rectum by rhythmic contractions of the intestines. In IBS, those contractions become erratic and irregular. Bowel movements become unpredictable and painful, with attending constipation, diarrhea, or an alternation of both. The abdomen can become cramped or bloated, certain foods can no longer be tolerated, and other all-too-familiar signs of gastric distress develop. In some cases, waste matter is pushed through the tract with such force that stool incontinence results.
There are really five main fundamental causes of IBS:
- The modern-day, fast-food diet is definitely an issue. Refined, processed and altered foods that are hard to digest contribute to many symptoms of poor digestion.
- Second, poor stress-coping mechanisms trigger nervous symptom reactions that contribute to IBS.
- Third, chronic infections of the digestive tract with candida, parasites, and bacteria can be causative factors.
- Fourth, poorly functioning digestive organs contribute to IBS symptoms. These include dysbiosis, where there is a deficiency of the good bacteria that are involved with digestion and detoxification.
- The fifth cause, and the least common, is a structural abnormality of some type. Spinal misalignments, for example, impair nerve flow to the digestive tract, which contributes to digestive problems.
It is VERY important that you consult with a gastroenterologist in order to properly diagnose IBS, as there are other illnesses that have similar symptoms. In my opinion, though, it is always best to try a natural route first, with the goal of finding resolution of this condition as they treat the underlying causes.
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Mucus in stools
- Abdominal pain and cramping, usually either relieved by going to the bathroom or brought on by it
- Flatulence and abdominal rumblings
- Intolerance to certain foods (food allergies)
- Gurgling and rumbling of the abdomen
- Occasional vomiting
- Unpleasant taste in mouth
- Rectal bleeding
- Feeling full easily
- Mental “fog”
- Frequent urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Painful periods
- Irritation of the rectum
- Helps maintain regular bowel movements
- Detoxifies—removes toxins from the body
- Helps maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Fiber may reduce incidences of diverticulosis,
colon cancer, and appendicitis