Sometimes I Hate My Guts: Alleviating IBS Symptoms

IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, stomach pain, gut health, Dr. Matt Fisel

We had plans to go on a long hike.

I chose my breakfast carefully. I didn’t want to rock the boat with any foods that might upset my stomach. I thought I had covered all of the bases, but a mile in I noticed the usual symptoms:

bloating, gassiness, and then…

my bowels started to activate.

I knew from experience this was not going to go well.

Maybe you’ve had your own bout, in public or private, with cramping, constipation or a sudden onset of diarrhea.

And…your doctor just could not tell you WHY.

Patients who have been categorized with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) say,

“Dr. Fisel…I was diagnosed with IBS months ago, and was prescribed medication that doesn’t seem to be working. Are there natural ways to find relief from my IBS?”

Unfortunately, IBS tends to be a catchall for those unexplainable symptoms in the intestines, appearing “normal” when tested. Your doctor may have ruled out cancer, colitis, etc., but wasn’t able to specifically answer the question:

WHY ARE MY GUTS HOLDING ME HOSTAGE?

We help patients find answers using an integrative approach that assesses their diagnosis and also gets to the root cause(s) of their underlying symptoms.

HERE’S THREE THINGS WE LOOK AT, from a naturopathic perspective, to understand more about your personal condition and why your symptoms might be persistent:

GUT SYSTEM HEALTH: We can do additional stool, breath, and/or blood testing to identify more definitive causes of IBS (small intestine bacterial overgrowth – SIBO, microbial overgrowths, enzyme deficiencies, food sensitivities, functional bowel problems, leaky gut syndrome).

Also, a number of treatments we can incorporate to improve the FUNCTION of the gut, along with promoting intestinal repair (probiotics, digestive enzymes, intestinal healing herbs and nutrients).

FOOD SENSITIVITIES: We will sometimes do elimination diets or cleansing protocols that often help people identify food triggers within their diets.

Cutting back on FODMAP foods, or following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, can often help to give the intestines a rest allowing the intestinal tract to repair.

STRESS MANAGEMENT: Stress relief is key. At the very basic level we want to assess your day-to-day life and look at your habits.

You could start monitoring yourself by journaling about the foods you eat, how much sleep you’re getting, how you are moving your body – and of course how it makes you feel. Notice the trends.

Naturopathic medicine is an integrative approach to health care. Where western medicine leaves off, a Naturopathic Doctor helps patients get to the root of uncomfortable symptoms.

Dr. Fisel is here to help you get your life back after an IBS diagnosis and to help you feel relief from your symptoms. Please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment, today.

NEW PATIENT FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULATION: Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

Is It Really IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects one in five adult Americans, and is responsible for up to 40% of referrals to gastroenterologists. While there are legitimate criteria used to diagnose IBS (alternating constipation and diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain), the term is generally used to label patients who don’t have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other underlying “organic” diseases. Once patients have been labeled with having IBS, they are often given one or more medications to treat the symptoms, usually with little to no relief.

Fortunately for IBS sufferers, a multitude of underlying factors may be the real cause of digestive symptoms, making the likelihood of recovery much more promising. One condition in particular that’s often overlooked is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This is an abnormal colonization of bacteria within the small intestine by bacteria that are normally found in the colon, mouth, or pharynx. When left untreated, SIBO is not only mistaken with IBS, but has been linked to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome as well. The cause of SIBO isn’t always clear, but patients who are at higher risk include those with chronic constipation, achlorhydria, diabetes, scleroderma, diverticulosis, and adhesions from prior surgeries.

Up to 78% of patients who are diagnosed with IBS may in fact be experiencing SIBO. Testing for this condition is performed by blowing into a tube that measures gases given off by the excessive amount of bacteria that are present in the small intestine. While these tests are typically offered by gastroenterologists, there are several commercial laboratories that offer test kits for home use, which are then mailed back to the laboratory for analysis. If diagnosed, SIBO can be treated initially with specialized antibiotics. Once the offending bacteria are successfully eradicated, measures should then be taken to improve the intestinal environment (probiotics, digestive enzymes, etc.), which should help to prevent recurrence.

A diagnosis of IBS does not mean all hope is lost. Explore the possibility of SIBO, and seek out a naturopath or other alternative practitioner who can focus on how the digestive tract functions, rather than just looking for a disease.