Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

The bowel is another name for the intestine, which is responsible for your digestion, the absorption of nutrients and excretion of waste. IBS is defined as a condition where there are intestinal symptoms without any definable disease for longer than 3 months.

What are the Symptoms of IBS?

Bowel symptoms:

  • Abdominal discomfort and pain
  • Bloating or feeling of fullness
  • Constipation; hard, dry or difficult to pass bowel movements
  • Diarrhoea; frequent, watery or loose bowel movements

Symptoms/conditions known to be associated with IBS:

  • Tiredness, energy depletion
  • Mood changes, depression and anxiety
  • Muscle aches or pains

What are the possible factors contributing to my IBS?

  • Damage to the intestinal wall following infection
  • Increased sensitivity of the nerves in the intestines
  • Stress
  • Food intolerances from –
    • Fermentable foods ie sugars broken down by the gut bacteria eg lactose, fructose
    • Other foods eg gluten, dairy, and various other chemicals found in foods such as amines and salicylates
  • Gut dysbiosis- ie imbalance of the bacteria in the gut

What diagnostic processes may be involved for me?

Our approach includes the following

  • A comprehensive history (important for understanding your condition)
  • Clinical Examination
  • Investigations (the selection and order will depend on your personal situation):
    1. To exclude (or pursue treatment) of more serious conditions ie a colonoscopy e.g. tumours, inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, Coeliac disease and intestinal infections.
    2. To identify any nutritional deficiencies – blood and /or urine testing
    3. To identify possible aggravating factors and causes.
      • Possible infection – a faecal (stool) test, both simple traditional and modern DNA faecal tests maybe requested
      • Breath testing for fermentable sugars (FODMAPS) and bacteria
      • Food diary
      • Elimination diet to identify foods producing reactions and food challenge;
      • Other specialised tests

How can I manage my IBS?

Our approach would be to assist you in:

  • Developing an understanding, in liaison with your practitioner, of the connections between your food, the gut and the mind.
  • Correcting nutritional deficiencies
  • Working toward achieving balance of the gut flora and healing the intestinal mucosal lining through diet and supplementation as well as other targeted therapies.
  • Developing an appropriate eating plan for you.
  • Building your resilience to physical and emotional stress
  • Monitoring progress

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