IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder affecting the large intestine and is a collection of symptoms related to unpredictable bowel habits with the following criteria needed in order to make a diagnosis:
- Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort for at least 3 days per month in the last 3 months associated with 2 or more of the following:
1. Improvement with defecation
2. Onset associated with a change in stool frequency
3. Onset associated with a change in form/appearance of stool
It is important to understand that the diagnosis of IBS does not point to the cause of IBS.Often people are diagnosed in the conventional medical system with IBS based on a particular symptom picture of abdominal pain associated with alterations in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, alternating between constipation and diarrhea or a sense of incomplete evacuation of stool.
With IBS accounting for approximately 30% of all gut complaints in primary care, this syndrome can be frustrating for patients because it is difficult to diagnose and treat but naturopathic doctors work with patients towards the cause of their IBS in an effort to get to the underlying imbalances that may be contributing to the symptoms of IBS. These imbalances may include candida, food sensitivities, parasitic infections, low stomach acid and in particular, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO that is thought to account for more than half of all IBS cases. Other underlying causes of IBS can be due to frequent antibiotic use either past or current or history of gastroenteritis or Travellers’ diarrhea.
As naturopathic doctors, the specific areas we will investigate through a thorough medical history and lab testing include:
- Testing for SIBO -this is a simple non invasive breath test with results obtained within the week.
- Food sensitivities – if your naturopathic doctor thinks food sensitivities may be the cause of your IBS, a simple blood draw will be performed in the clinic during your appointment and results obtained within 7-10 days.
- Comprehensive stool analysis – this test looks for parasitic infections and yeast overgrowth that may be the cause of your IBS.
If you or someone you know has symptoms of IBS and you would like to discuss testing to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms, schedule an appointment today with one of our highly trained naturopathic doctors.