Irritable bowels syndrome or IBS is a disorder that your doctors diagnose when you have no signs of a real sickness but experience frequent gastrointestinal disorders and symptoms such as: winds, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. Doctors will first exclude more serious diseases such as Chronic Intestinal Inflammatory Diseases (COPD), which include crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, GERB (reflux/heartburn), diverticulitis or some other structural bowel disease.
If the mentioned diseases are excluded, the doctor will then use the Roman criterion for the diagnosis of irritable bowel, which includes:
Reaccuring abdominal pain or discomfort at least three days a month in the last three months and at least two of the following:
- Symptom levitation after defecation.
- Symptom development connected with changes in defecation frequency.
- Symptom development connected with changes of stool consistency.
If the doctor determines that you have IBS you will then receive medicines which will help alleviating the symptoms but not actually getting rid of them. The prescribed medicines mainly affect transit time through the intestines in order to reduce diarrhea and constipation and thus alleviate symptoms.
Such drugs are often ineffective and have side effects identical to the symptoms of IBS. Also read: Classic treatment of IBS
Treat the cause of irritable bowels
Functional medicine offers an alternative to classical medicine, it researches the cause of your digestive problems and abdominal pain, thus treating IBS for the long run.
What are the causes of irritable bowels
Irritable bowels don’t have just one cause, so it depends on each individual. Irritable bowels are more of a syndrome, a set of signs and symptoms that have several possible causes.
Traditionally, irritable bowels are classified as “functional” gastrointestinal disorders, which means that it is caused by impaired gastrointestinal function rather than structural or biochemical defects. In some cases, this is true, but often the causes are found precisely in biochemical abnormalities, such as the spread of bacteria or dysbiosis.
Be aware of this when your doctor tells you that everything is going on in your head. Often the irritable bowel is classified as a psychosomatic disorder caused by anxiety, depression, or some other unknown psychological cause.
Although connecting it with the brain is possible, we must be aware of the fact that this can go either way. The intestines and intestinal bacteria can also affect the brain. This means that you do not need to be reconciled with your diagnosis and life-long suffering, you just have to find the actual cause.
Recent research has uncovered five major causes for IBS:
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Unbalanced intestinal microflora (dysibiosis)
- Leaky gut
- Gut infections
- Intolerance for certain foods.
Modern treatment of IBS
Functional medicine relies on research regarding the cause of IBS with a variety of laboratory tests, medical history and symptoms. With modern functional tests, we can test all the five causes of irritable bowels. When the causes are known, the process itself is no longer so difficult. It is necessary to clean the intestines of the found pathogens and to establish a normal, balanced intestinal microflora. In the case of intolerance to food, a suitable diet should be prescribed.