What is IBS?


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What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the term given to a series of digestive symptoms that are not linked to an underlying disease or condition such as Crohn’s disease, colitis or colon cancer. It is sometimes broken down according to the most prevalent symptom—IBS-C (constipation); IBS-D (diarrhea); IBS-M (mixed); IBS-A (alternating); or IBS-P (pain-dominant).

IBS is fairly common, especially among women. Most people with IBS suffer from physical complications as well as social effects.

Causes of IBS

The typical Western diet is a major factor behind IBS. Western diets commonly consist of low fiber, highly processed foods and complex meals that are difficult for the GI tract to break down. This leads to impaired digestion, constipation or diarrhea, and imbalance in the gut microbiome.

Stress also plays a role, because stress causes unhealthy changes in the gut lining which can trigger IBS symptoms.

Food sensitivities, particularly to FODMAPs have been associated with IBS. FODMAPS is an acronym for a group of short-chain carbohydrates (mainly sugars) that can be fermented by gut bacteria in the GI tract. When this fermentation occurs, significant digestive distress may result—especially gas, bloating, abdominal pain and altered bowel habits.

Small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) is also an underlying IBS cause. With SIBO, some of the bacteria from the colon move up into the small intestine, causing fiber to be broken down too early in the digestive process and resulting in gas, bloating and pain.

Symptoms of IBS

IBS is characterized by episodes of abdominal pain and cramping, gas, flatulence, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include pain during bowel movements, excessive production of mucus in the colon, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety and depression.

Long-term effects of IBS

During an attack, IBS can make even the simplest activity difficult to complete, which can cause lost time at work or school. Frequent constipation or diarrhea can lead to hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and intestinal dysbiosis.

Over time, affected individuals may become depressed due to stress and social embarrassment. Some individuals with IBS even develop anorexia to avoid the pain associated with eating.

Natural remedies for IBS

Food combining has been shown to help support more efficient digestion and elimination of wastes, which in turn can help curb IBS symptoms. Food combining centers on pairing foods together that require similar digestive enzymes to ease the overall burden on the GI tract and promote better digestion.

Super Shield Plus Multi-Strain Probiotic Formula can help ease gas and bloating, promote more efficient digestion and support a healthy intestinal flora balance.

SIBO Defense Blend combines the natural anti-microbial properties of oregano oil and garlic to counteract SIBO and help restore a more healthful bacterial balance.

In addition, stress management is key for people with IBS, and chiropractic treatment has also been shown to be helpful.

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