Have you been told you have IBS?  IBS is one of many conditions that is diagnosed when there is no other known cause of digestive symptoms. It is estimated that irritable bowel syndrome affects over 45 million people in the US. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, cramping, gas, and bloating, and changes in bowel movements (either constipation, diarrhea, or both).  While there is no single cause of IBS, drug companies want you to believe there is an easy fix. Conventional doctors will prescribe laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication, pain medication, and even antidepressants. Yet, these drugs are just managing the symptoms and many times they aren’t effective and have unwanted side effects. 

But, here is the good news…drugs are  not your only option!  

There are many contributing factors to IBS and as a holistic health care provider, I’ll assess the likelihood of these underlying causes during our consult. I’ll recommend useful lab testing and natural solutions to get your digestion back on track! 

5 Common Hidden Causes of IBS 

1) Food sensitivities. IgG food sensitivities are a common underlying cause of IBS symptoms. Testing and planning an elimination and reintroduction diet can help determine which foods might be affecting your digestion. Specific diets have also been shown to be helpful for people with IBS if there are issues digesting certain fibers.  

2) Gut infection/dysbiosis. Your gut microbiome plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, and proper elimination. An imbalance if your healthy gut flora or an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, yeast, or parasites can cause unwanted digestive symptoms. 

3) SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Bacteria from your large intestine can sometimes enter into the small intestine and cause bloating, painful gas, and changes in bowel movements. 

4) Stress. Being in a state of stress or sympathetic overdrive (fight or flight) especially during meals, affects your digestion significantly. You produce less digestive enzymes or stomach acid needed to digest and absorb your food properly. Stress also affects how food moves through the digestive tract, and can cause constipation and diarrhea.  

5) Hormone imbalance. Females are twice as likely as males to have IBS symptoms, and often they are worse before and during menses. An imbalance in estrogen and progesterone, specifically estrogen dominance (too much estrogen or too little progesterone), plays a role in inflammation, bloating, and cramping. 

There are lab tests that can help identify these underlying causes of IBS; food sensitivity tests, stool testing, SIBO breath tests, adrenal and hormone testing. Understanding the underlying imbalances will guide treatment that includes diet, lifestyle techniques, and nutrient and herbal supplementation.  If you’ve been diagnosed with IBS with offered no solutions, then schedule a consult today. You don’t have to suffer.