IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and together with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) is a non-specific diagnostic term for conditions which cannot be categorized as either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
IBS occurs when the lining of the bowel becomes inflamed or damaged, causing diarrhea, constipation, cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas and sometimes bleeding. Also known as spastic colon, IBS seems to be linked with food allergies, bacterial or yeast overgrowth, or nutritional deficiencies.
Even though signs and symptoms are uncomfortable, IBS, unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, doesn't cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer.
IBS is defined as abdominal pain or discomfort, along with a changed bowel habit (such as diarrhea or constipation), for 3 months or more. The symptoms may be different from person to person and can include:
- Sharp stomach pain and cramps
- Stomach gas and bloating
- Alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Mucus in the stool
- Feeling of nausea after eating
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain that progresses or occurs at night
- Weight loss
Causes of IBS
A variety of factors may play a role in the cause of IBS. The muscles in the walls of the intestines contract and relax smoothly to help move food through the intestinal tract to the rectum. If this smooth rhythm is disrupted, the contractions may become stronger and faster, causing gas, bloating and diarrhea. Conversely, if the contractions slow down the food will have a harder time to pass through the intestines leading to constipation and hard stools.
The causes of IBS can include:
- Allergies – especially to certain foods. Many people can identify that their IBS symptoms intensify when they eat certain foods. Common culprits include; chocolate, spices, fats, fruits, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, milk, carbonated beverages and alcohol.
- Hormones – may be a cause of irritable bowel syndrome since women are twice as likely to have this condition than men, and symptoms often increase around the time of menstruation.
- Other gastrointestinal disorders – such as gastroenteritis can cause IBS as can an overgrowth of bad bacteria in in lining of the intestine.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) doctors will often order diagnostic procedures which can be invasive and can be somewhat traumatic for the patient as they may involve a lighted scope being inserted into either the patient’s rectum or down their throat. Other IBS diagnosis procedures may involve a fine needle aspiration or biopsy needle being inserted into the patient. These procedures include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, upper GI endoscopy, ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound and liver biopsy.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, the IBS diagnosis approach is different. Firstly, the symptoms that the patient is presenting with will be evaluated, and not just the obvious ones such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea and cramps but also the less obvious signs of gastrointestinal disorders such as fatigue, allergies, candida and so on.
Then a functional evaluation will be performed to assess the functioning of each organ that may be potentially contributing to the symptoms. This is important since the dysfunction of an organ can be as symptomatic as a disease of one. The patient will then be evaluated to see what kind of nutritional supplementation will be required to bring the organ function back into alignment. A functional stool test may also be ordered to evaluate the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract, eg. Is there inflammation in gut, what is the enzyme activity in the pancreas, is bacterial overgrowth or parasites present and what is the immune status in the gut?
Natural IBS Treatment
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, once the diagnosis described above has been made, natural IBS treatment will then be offered. Natural IBS treatment is tailored specifically to each individual patient and will involve testing to see which nutritional supplements they will respond best to, in order to rebalance the gastrointestinal tract. There may be multifactorial issues which may be setting off a “chain reaction” throughout the body and so it is important to handle all components of these multiple issues, to ensure the body begins to heal properly.
Clearwater & Tampa’s Best IBS Doctor
Lifeworks Wellness Center is long recognized as one of the foremost natural health clinics in the US. At our Tampa Bay, Florida alternative medicine office we have been offering natural IBS treatment for a long time and many of our patients have benefitted from it. Our patients fly in from all over the world because they simply can’t find clinics offering solutions to their irritable bowel syndrome and natural medicine for IBS where they live.
We have helped many patients regain their health and we would love to help you, too. To become a patient, or for more information, feel free to call our New Patient Coordinator at (727) 466-6789 or simply submit an online web form with your request.
*Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary based on a patient's medical history and other factors.