Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a diagnosis that is made based on symptoms—gas, bloating, change in frequency of stool, abdominal pain—that are present over a period of time. But the diagnosis doesn’t tell us anything about cause. I can’t tell you the number of patients who come to me, in total frustration, saying that their gastroenterologist told them they have IBS with the recommendation to take a probiotic, stop stressing out and their symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, pain) should go away at some point. Does that typically happen? Nope. Obviously there’s more to the story on IBS, which affects 20% of all Americans and is the most common gastroenterological diagnosis.
Typically the IBS diagnosis is given when testing is inconclusive and digestive symptoms persist without doctors being able to find a cause. But, as naturopaths, we dig and dig until we get to a cause. Because there is ALWAYS a cause.
Here’s what I look for:
-Digestive enzyme deficiencies
-Fructose and lactose intolerance
-IgG and IGA food sensitivities
-Non-celiac gluten sensitivity
-Fungal and bacterial dysbiosis
-Endometriosis and hormonal imbalances
…and I’m just getting started.
Certainly stress is part of it, too. I’ve talked a lot about the gut/brain connection and having a clear, calm connection between brain and gut is crucial. So if you’ve gotten the IBS diagnosis, don’t stop there, find a doctor who can get at the root cause and can walk with you through the process from beginning to end and true healing, because that’s actually possible.