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Why do I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common functional tummy disorders in the world. There are many possible causes of this disorder and because everyone is so unique, the reasoning behind their tummy troubles is usually specific to the individual as well.


It is thought that the development of IBS can be attributed to a number of things. Clinical trials have found that those with IBS are more aware of the sensations within their gastrointestinal tract, meaning that they are more sensitive. It has also been noted that low-grade inflammation within the membrane of the gastrointestinal tract is common in those with IBS. This in turn can alter neuromuscular function influencing how fast food passes through the digestive tract among other things.


Another thought which has become very popular and well known is poor bacteria balance in the intestines. Most people have taken a probiotic at some point in their life and this is a very popular management strategy for those with IBS. There are many reasons that this less than optimal bacteria balance can arrise. Food poisoning, overuse of antibiotics, some prescription medications, overuse of herbal remedies, stress, poor dietary habits and alcohol consuption all influence the balance of good and bad bacteria. I could keep going but I think you get the point- there are a lot of things that influence our tummy health!


Some people may also have food intolerances which may trigger their IBS. This may be something that is genetic/inherited or it may be something that has happened over time and can be due to multiple causes such as parasite infections, inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, etc. This can also be linked to leaky gut syndrome. A condition where the cells in the gastrointestinal tract aren't as tightly knit as they used to be, so bigger food particles enter circulation from the gastrointestinal tract, this then triggers inflammation and can produce symptoms such as pain, bloating, gas and headaches.


A really important thing to note about IBS is that it is closely linked to stress. Many people with IBS notice that their symptoms are worse around stressful events such as exams, first dates, interviews, the passing of a loved one or any major events.


Because IBS is influenced by so many things it can seem overwhelming and many people don't know where to start or why their symptoms aren't getting any better. At this stage it may be worth seeing a Naturopath to help you in your journey. Gut health is our 'bread and butter'! While stress management is key to reducing flare ups of IBS, we also look at what foods are being eaten and how the liver is functioning. The liver is so closely linked to digestive function its not even funny!


Living with IBS can be disruptive, anxiety provoking, painful, uncomfortable and decrease your quality of life. However, there is hope and many different management techniques out there to help you get back to living the life you want.

Please reach out if you have any questions or want to know more about anything in this article.


Yours in health,


Rachel



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