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Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Functional Medicine Treatments

Intestinal Syndrome (IBS) is more than just bowel disorders. It causes discomfort, anxiety, social limitations (especially where food and drinks are involved), and declines in quality of life. There are a number of contributing factors to IBS including but not limited to altered bacterial microbes, inflammation of the immune system, inflammation of the stomach, stress: emotional and physical, food sensitivity, and chronic microbial infections (viruses, bacteria, protozoans , etc).

Are you struggling with:

  • Chronic bloating, even if you eat a healthy diet?

  • Do you have constipation without the help of fiber or laxative supplements?

  • Do you experience pain and cruelty in your stomach after eating?

  • Do you feel tired even after having a "good night" break?

  • Are you experiencing anxiety and / or depression?

  • Struggling with social eating, not knowing how your body reacts to food?

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a gastrointestinal irritation of the intestine. IBS is defined as It is a common condition that involves recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation, often associated with previous stress, depression, anxiety, or bowel infections. Common symptoms of IBS include: recurrent abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea, or both), indigestion, bloating, weight / loss, nausea, chronic dirty gas, urgency to empty stomach, fatigue, sleep, anxiety and depression.

About 11% of the population is diagnosed with this condition by their primary care physician, many of whom suffer from it secretly and are not diagnosed. There are self help and support groups, popular searches related to IBS, and general gut cleansing offered across the web. We see patients often trying to control this situation using different diets, oregano and probiotic oils, to no avail. Many people conclude that this is just a "new normal". On the contrary, just because these symptoms are common in general, they are not normal!

IBS is a difficult condition to diagnose because there is no "gold standard" test. IBS is often a diagnosis of exclusion; This means you can avoid all the scary things like cancer, Crohn's disease or internal bleeding, so all you have left is a blanket diagnosis for a long list of digestive and systemic symptoms.

What Are the Causes & Contributions to IBS?

  • Microbiological imbalance: We talk about gut flora.

    • Dysbiosis

    • SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial intestine)

  • Adrenal health / chronic stress. When the nervous system is in a state of sympathy with its dominance, it turns off the rest and overcomes the mechanism. This leads to poor digestion and malabsorption, which in turn causes anxiety and depression from changes in blood sugar.

  • Blood sugar dysfunction can often cause oxidative damage to the nerves in the intestines and stomach, which impairs digestive function and creates inflammation.

  • The increase and decrease of intestinal motility depends on the part of the gastrointestinal system.

  • Chronic infection / with biofilm. Most often, this occurs after a gastroenteritis attack. In fact, acute gastroenteritis accounts for 30% of all IBS cases.

  • Food sensitivity.

  • Stress: Both emotional and physical - History of abuse (physical, emotional, chronic, anxiety). We often see that the less supportive people are in their lives, the worse their IBS is.

  • Visceral sensitivity sensitive to rectal pain - Pain experienced in the rectum - this pain is lower for patients with IBS. IBS patients find more gas and discomfort in the stomach. IBS patients show changes in the brain esp for signals in the brain.

Let's look at some of these in more detail:

  • The Microbiome


Why is the microbiome, or bacteria in your gut so important? Did you know that some of your neurotransmitters are made in your gut? True, the bacteria in your gut can determine how well you break down and use your food, as well as how you feel. Did you know that enterocytes in the gut are one of the major producers of serotonin (a happy neurotransmitter)? Having unbalanced bacteria can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition, the neurotransmitter in your gut controls your perception of pain and digestive function.

Increase in bacteria

You can read more about the growth of small intestinal bacteria (SIBO) here. SIBO basically has too much bacteria in your gut. With healthy SIBO foods, especially carbohydrates that digest slowly actually feed too much bacteria. This causes symptoms like gas and bloating - especially as the days go by and it doesn't seem to matter what you eat.

The immune system

The immune system is very important in the pathogenesis of IBS. Your immune cells, especially Mast cells, are important in the motility of your gastrointestinal tract. When these cells are activated, they cause inflammation in the intestinal wall that affects peristalsis (intestinal wall contraction moves through the gastrointestinal system).

Low Grade Infection & Inflammation

Ever had a parasite? Montezuma's revenge? Mononucleosis (Also known as Epstein Barr Virus)? Chances are you still have it! We would like to refer to this as a subclinical chronic infection. The reason is, you may not have lymph nodes and swollen fever, but you may have chronic problems, or your digestion may not be accurate enough since the initial infection. This may indicate that even if you do not have acute infections, you may have low grade and chronic infections. These infections can create biofilms that make them virtually untouched by your immune system. Without breaking the biofilm, these pathogens continue to cause damage to your immune system and intestines. Biofilms can be associated with persistent symptoms such as chronic gas and bloating, diarrhea and constipation, chronic fatigue, and poor immune function.

Food Sensitivity

Food sensitivities are not allergic. While they do not cause life-threatening reactions, as quickly as a true food allergy, they stimulate and boost your immune system, creating symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, acne, fatigue, changes in blood sugar ... the list goes on . The only way to control these symptoms is to eliminate or minimize the foods that create these symptoms to allow your body to heal and regulate. The tricky part is figuring out which foods are the trigger. Just eliminating a suspected food can help you alleviate your symptoms, but if there is a lot of food that triggers you, your symptoms will not disappear completely; led many to conclude that it was not their food sensitivities and continued to eat them. Therefore, diet diets such as Whole30 have been designed to reduce the most common food sensitivities to "reboot" your system, and then slowly reintroduce eliminated foods.

The most common food sensitivities to most people are gluten (sometimes whole grains), eggs, dairy, soy, corn, and seafood. However, because everyone is so individual, healthy foods like bananas or sweet potatoes may trigger your symptoms. If you find that your diet does not make a mistake, it may be because you are still eating something you are sensitive to. Always start with the foods you eat most often. This may be the cause. Diet diaries are also a great way to track your eating habits. In our office, we highly recommend a food sensitivity test - it helps cut down on guesswork and also identifies foods that may cross over into your system.

Leaky Gut

If you are unfamiliar with leaky gut, it is when your intestinal wall becomes compromised and permeable, allowing food particles to enter your bloodstream, thus activating the immune system to respond to foreign "invaders". Over time, you can become sensitive to more food. Makes you reactive to foods you've never been sensitive to. When you restore your gut wall, many of these new sensations will be resolved.


Pressure is all happening in our society. From traffic jams to long office hours while raising families. It can be hard to find time for yourself, period. Forget about easy personal care like meditation, exercise, breathing, you're lucky enough to get a bath 4 days a week. Sound familiar? Stress has a huge impact on your physiological processes. It slows down and makes your digestive system less effective (stabilizes IBS), causes inflammation and changes in blood sugar and does not forget anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain. Practicing techniques to help your body adjust and relieve stress is very important. Taking a break from drinking stimulants like coffee and replacing adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, Reishi mushrooms, and Maca can be very rewarding.

How We Treat It Different from the Traditional Model

Most common for IBS in the Traditional Medicine model is symptom relief. The more things change, the more we love to see! However, if antibiotics, laxatives, anti-diarrheal drugs (or antispasmod drugs) and long-term elimination diets fail, we do our best to take control.

We use functional medicine to evaluate your blood work. We use values ​​that differ from the standard to evaluate optimal health and see where your body might start to struggle. Through this model, we find that the root cause of this problem is to solve the symptoms rather than treat the symptoms.

  • After blood work confirming presence of infection / joint infection we will treat pathogen (PLUS) eliminating biofilm

  • After blood work confirms any and all food intolerance, or intestinal leakage, we will treat your bowel obstruction and recommend foods or foods that should be avoided or replaced.

    • Diet removal

  • Lifestyle change

    • Exercise regimen

    • Identify pressure factors, and how to adjust properly

    • Treating depression and anxiety through supplements and exercise

  • Dehydrate your system and support your microbiome

    • Heart

    • Gut

  • Reset your metabolism

  • Manual modifications such as Visceral Manipulation to reduce pain and inflammation

IBS can be a complicated condition to deal with yourself, as there are several variables that contribute to your symptoms. If you do not consider all the variables, you will have a difficult time eliminating your symptoms for good. With all these factors adding to IBS, having a little guidance can be very helpful.


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