As I have stated before, I suffered from First grade to High School with IBS. I went to countless doctors and most said that it is not something you can do much about. One doctor called it a “psychosomatic” disease which means “it’s all in your head”. I would have horrible pain after every time I ate. I sometimes would have to go to school late because I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and just couldn’t but was in so much pain. Leaving my classroom all the time to go to the bathroom made my teachers suspicious and embarrassing for me. Nothing helped me and I just had to wait it out, but 12 years of that got really old.
Today, Dr. Hyman and other researchers shows that 60 million people have been diagnosed with IBS. All these people are suffering with bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation and intense pain so, are we all making it up? Most doctors who haven’t known what to do with these symptoms tend to tell patients to take more Metamucil and fiber or prescribe sedatives, anti-spasm drugs or antidepressants which have done nothing for the problems! These are just ways to try to cure the symptoms but not the root cause of all these issues. I can imagine some of you reading this probably have IBS and feel very hopeless as if there is nothing you can do. In a previous article I talk about Leaky Gut Syndrome and this might be helpful for those of you with IBS as well. There is good news and that is that Functional doctors have been researching and finding ways to cure IBS. You don’t have to just “live” with it! YAY!
Functional doctors claim that IBS is caused by issues such as lack of digestive enzymes, parasites living in the gut, zinc or magnesium deficiency or heavy metal toxicity. This is why every person should not be treated the same because there can be so many reasons why someone suffers from IBS. I mention Dr. Hyman often because he has been leading the charge with researching this issue. He suggests 5 steps to begin healing your IBS.
5 Steps to Curing IBS by Dr. Hyman
- Get tested. Try to get a test for IgG food allergies and eliminate the foods that test positive for 12 weeks. Or simply try an allergy elimination diet for a few weeks. Dr. Sharon Norling is a great doctor to get tested from.
- Test yourself. If you can’t afford the test mentioned above, then just eliminate the most common food allergens for 12 weeks — that’s dairy, gluten, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts. And then reintroduce them systematically to see if they cause symptoms. This is an effective way to isolate the foods that may be causing you problems. Dr. Hyman has created a simple program to follow based on a comprehensive elimination diet called The UltraSimple Diet.
- Get rid of the unwanted visitors in your small bowel. Ask your doctor to prescribe rifaximin (Xifaxin) and take two 200 mg tablets three times a day for seven to 10 days. This is often the best way to deal with the chronic bacterial overgrowth that causes bloating and irritable bowel syndrome. You may also need an anti-fungal such as nystatin or fluconazole for two to four weeks.
- Repopulate your digestive tract with good bacteria. I don’t usually recommend brands, but when it comes to probiotics the quality varies so much that I suggest taking two specific brands. Take one packet of VSL3 or other high potency probiotic twice a day for one to two months. This probiotic has over 450 billion organisms per packet. I also recommend a probiotic called S. boulardii. Take two capsules twice a day for two months. This is a special probiotic that helps to further normalize gut function.
- Try digestive enzymes with meals to help break down food while your gut heals. You also may benefit from nutrients that help heal the lining of the gut including fish oil, GLA (from evening primrose oil, zinc, vitamin A and glutamine.
By taking these steps and seeking out the underlying causes of IBS, you can dramatically improve your health and overcome your digestive disorder. Let me know what you have done for your IBS and if it has helped or not! Happy Health!