This month we will chat all about IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). IBS is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians (gi.org). It’s safe to assume you or someone you know experiences symptoms.
This condition is also notorious for being difficult to treat and therefor, really frustrating to the person who is experiencing symptoms. Let’s tease this out a little and try to bring some clarity to this common condition.
What is IBS?
According to The Rome III committee (an international effort to create scientific data to help in the diagnosis and treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders), IBS is “a chronic disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort associated with disordered defecation (either constipation, diarrhea or mixed/alternating symptoms of constipation and diarrhea)” NCBI.com.
A lot can fall under those symptoms, right? This may be why so many find it hard to diagnose or simply treat. Also, what seems to work for one persons IBS may not work for another. Let’s continue delving more into the cause.
Causes of IBS
The jury is still out on this one. Here is a list of commonly stated causes/contributors of IBS I found in my research:
-Overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine
-Imbalances in the nervous system
As stated above, the symptoms are broad and can change drastically from person to person:
-Passage of rocky, hard stools
-Stomach pain and/or cramping
-Mucus in stool
Treatments for IBS
Anti-depressants, smooth muscle relaxants, anti-convulsants, anti-inflammatory medications and even surgery have been popular treatments in the past. However, due to the more recent understanding of brain/gut relationship, holistic treatments are gaining popularity.
-Nutritional counseling: Diet plays a large role in what’s going on in your gut. Nutritionists, naturopaths and several other practitioners can be great resources for foods to add and avoid. -Stress relief/balancing out the central nervous system: Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, meditation, yoga…the list goes on. Anything to move your body into rest and digest mode (parasympathetic) and out of fight or flight (sympathetic) will help settle an unsettled tummy. -Herbs and supplements: Peppermint has been studied by western medicine as an intestinal pain reliever. Read this article for more info on this and other western herbs that have been shown to help: Verywellhealth.com. There are several other plants, herbs, vitamins and minerals to help relax your bowels. Check out Dr.Schmidt at Langford Chiropractic for more on supplements. Check out Mindy or Rachel, both licensed Acupuncturist of VAMT, for information on Chinese herbs.
Do you have IBS or think you might and are looking for treatment? Call us to set up an appointment | 651-756-8525.
Rachel was born and raised in St.Paul, MN, where she currently lives with her husband, Chris and Shih Zhu, Stewie. She graduated from Northwestern Health Sciences in 2017 with her Masters in Chinese Medicine. Rachel found Chinese medicine on a journey to understand and tend to her own anxiety and depression and now has a passion for helping others who experience a similar reality. She enjoys treating a wide variety of conditions and welcomes anyone looking for care.