IBS – a diagnosis of exclusion, and what to do about it.

Did you know that a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can only be made after a colonoscopy and endoscopy has been performed, and no abnormalities have been found, there are even subsets of IBS, IBS – C which is constipation dominate IBS, and IBS – D which is diarrhoea dominant IBS.

I call bullshit on IBS, and this is why; if your finger, for instance, is not working very well, or functioning at its best, and the doctor or specialist cannot find the cause they don’t just say, oh, you have irritable finger syndrome do they, no, they investigate further until they find the cause. The same can be said for any body part, I just used your finger as an analogy.

In my experience, and opinion, there is always a cause for IBS, and to be honest I really prefer not to even use the term IBS. Your gastrointestinal symptoms are being caused by something and it can take some good naturopathic detective work and functional testing to understand and treat the causes.

Your digestive distress may be caused by a food intolerance, short intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), fructose malabsorption, parasites, candida or yeast infection, stress, lack of digestive enzymes, motility problems, histamine or salicylate issues, or an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your bowel.

The key with understanding and treating your digestive problems lies in obtaining a correct diagnosis, this will usually require testing, although sometimes patients do present with very clear signs and symptoms of one particular gut disorder, when this happens we implement dietary strategies that are specific to that particular gut disorder.

Once we establish the cause of the digestive distress either via testing or via dietary changes we can then treat the problem. With gut problems a multifactorial approach is essential, foods will need to be removed, herbs and supplements will need to be taken to get rid of bacterial overgrowths, or excess hydrogen or methane in the small intestine, to reduce stress, and to build up gut immunity.

Again, it does depend on what is going on in that gut of yours, but be assured a diagnosis of IBS and your specialists or doctors “you will just have to live with it response,” is just bullshit. Remember IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, they tell you that have IBS when they have excluded everything else, and you are just left there, in some cases, crying, because you know darn well there is something wrong and that there must be answers somewhere, and yes there are answers, in most cases in your naturopaths clinic.