Natural Wellness Center

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) : Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome , IBS : Irritable Bowel - Constipation, Diarrhoea, Bloating, IBSMost of the patients I see with irritable bowel syndrome will complain of a mixture of the following complaints:

  • Constipation, Diarrhea, or episodes of both constipation and diarrhea

  • Abdominal Bloating

  • Abdominal pain (sometimes severe)

  • Foul wind, Bad breath,

  • Offensive and / or foul-smelling stools, reactions to foods ranging from tiredness to pain to sweating to brain fog etc. etc.

Can anything be done apart from "more fiber, relax more and have an occasional yogurt" Do anything really work for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Usually it is possible to obtain significant relief from the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

We use a clinical approach combining laboratory investigation with treatment of low-grade gut infections. We usually use Doctors Data Laboratory in the US for stool culture and examination. This information is usually extremely useful even in those patients who have previously had extensive investigation including colonoscopy etc.

It is also important to identify any food intolerances.

Some patients will be greatly helped by gastric acid and/or pancreatic type enzyme supplementation.

It is my experience that most patients can be significantly helped by a mixed nutritional and medical approach.

Please see the section below on Leaky Gut Syndrome. This may help explain the tiredness from which many Irritable Bowel patients suffer from.

Important Medical Advice

If you notice a change in bowel habit or rectal bleeding it is important that you discuss these complaints with your doctor. This is especially important in people aged over 40 years.

If you are going to come and see us…

It is important that life-threatening disease such as bowel cancer has been ruled out by your doctor.

The diagnostic criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome include :

  • 3+ months of continuous or recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort

  • Discomfort is relieved with a bowel movement and

  • Change in either the frequency or the consistency of the stool.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

The connection between irritable bowel syndrome and tiredness/fatigue.

How can a gut infection affect a patient's overall sense of well-being?

Certain areas of bodily function come up again and again in medical problem lists taken from chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

Very often patients are informed (erroneously, in my opinion) that there is no connection between their fatigue and their abdominal symptoms despite the fact that the patient may have quite severe abdominal disturbance.

In my clinical experience many patients with chronic (i.e. long-standing) medical conditions, may have low-grade gut infections making a large 'contribution' to their lack of well-being. Very frequently normalizing gastrointestinal function makes a huge contribution to the patient's overall sense of well being.

How can this happen?

The Bowel contains a lot of immune system tissue. Additionally the bowel should function competently as a barrier between the potentially toxic fecal matter contained in the bowel and the bloodstream forming a reliable separation between the two.

A brief explanation of 'leaky gut syndrome'

The bowel wall contains a large amount of immune or lymphoid tissue.

It is thin -just the thickness of an upper eyelid - however it needs to form a competent barrier between the essentially toxic fecal matter, which it contains, and the blood/circulatory system.

The bowel has its own blood return system -called the portal venous system- which is a subdivision of the blood and circulatory system. Blood coming from the portal (bowel) circulatory system to rejoin the main circulatory system has to pass through the liver filtration system before doing so.

The lumen (hollow) of the bowel contains partly digested food, bacteria, bacterial toxins, moulds or fungi, fungal / myco toxins, enzymes, the bugs that did not get washed off the lettuce with that quick wash you gave it(!)

The average healthy bowel contains a greater number of bacteria than the number of cells in the human body.

It is critical for several reasons to maintain the correct bacterial balance in our gut. An unhealthy gut may mean a poorly functioning immune system with recurrent coughs, colds, flu etc.

If the gut wall is inflamed and 'leaky' and is not functioning properly as a barrier, toxic products and half-digested materials will get across the gut wall into the blood stream. This frequently makes people feel quite unwell.

This means that proteins are not broken down properly into their constituent amino acids resulting in larger protein particles, called peptides (a particle composed of several amino acids) passing across the gut wall into the blood stream causing immune system problems and possibly also contributing to joint pains and various forms of arthritis.

There has been much research in the role of bowel bacterial infections in both rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis and he has identified certain species of proteus and also klebsiella as potential troublemakers.

The Liver and irritable bowel syndrome connection.

The Liver has an important role in detoxifying materials after they enter the bloodstream.

Any toxins getting into the blood stream should be detoxified by the liver before they are allowed out of the gut blood circulation, into what is called the 'Systemic Circulation' (the heart, great vessels, brain, etc.).

Relatively frequently the liver may be 'overloaded' by gut toxins or it may be sluggish for other reasons and find it difficult to cope with its work of detoxification. Consequently patients may feel somewhat weak and fuzzy-headed. Sluggish liver detoxification also contributes to chemical sensitivity. As one patient told me "I constantly feel as if I'm on the morning after the night before - except there was no night before. I constantly feel fuzzy-headed, as if I had a skinful last night, except that I didn't".

What kinds of troublesome low-grade gut infections are there?

Gut infections may be fungal, bacterial or possibly worm-like.

At the moment conventional medicine is working hard to develop more sensitive means of diagnosing gut infection and advances have been made, especially in terms of diagnosing bacterial gut infection using the Hydrogen Breath Test, but there is still a long way to go in terms of developing reliable investigations that are both relative and specific.

What happens if liver detox pathways are not running efficiently?

Almost everyone I see has had liver function tests, checked by either family doctor or consultant. These will usually have been totally satisfactory. This is important in that it excludes any serious or life-threatening liver disease.

However, the liver may be somewhat sluggish in its normal work of breaking down toxins/old red blood cells/old hormone molecules that are past their sell-by date.

As a result of sluggish liver detoxification people may notice food sensitivities and sensitivities to perfumes, inhalants, alcohol, chemicals and also processed foods.



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