Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a dysfunction of the colon. Even if not a threatening disease, it is responsible for significant discomfort.
Symptoms include pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, or both.
Although no cause has been identified at this time, several bowel dysfunctions are observed:
– An abnormality of intestinal motor skills.
– A disorder of intestinal sensitivity.
– An intestinal inflammation associated with abnormalities of the intestinal bacterial flora.
From Western medicine stand point, the origin of the syndrome is still poorly known. Several factors are evoked: stress, hormonal imbalances, the aftermath of an acute infection of the intestines. and finally, lactose or gluten intolerance.
In the majority of cases, no precise cause can explain the irritable bowel syndrome.
However, in functional medicine, we can identify distinct causes behind these symptoms and treat them.
What are the causes of irritable bowel syndrome?
1. Bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic infections.
The flora in good health is rich in bacteria, yeasts, parasites, and viruses that are potentially pathogenic (it is estimated that there are about 3000 pathogens in a healthy individual), but these pathogens are “under the control” of other bacteria, yeasts, parasites, and viruses that are beneficial. The environment remains in balance.
On the other hand, the flora can become unbalanced and dominated by one or more species (virus, bacteria, yeast, protozoa, or parasites), and then contribute to irritable bowel syndrome.
For example: an infection with H. Pylori in the stomach can contribute to ulcers.
2. Stomach acid imbalance, either by:
– Lack of acidity (stomach pH between 1.5 and 3.0)
– Too much acidity: very rare, but can lead to an ulcer or gastritis.
– Bacterial infection with H. Pylori.
- Hiatal hernia
Remedies to repair the mucous membrane of the stomach include:
– L-glutamine 2000-3000 mg per day
– marshmallow root
– meat stock or bone broth: 3-4 cups per day
- Raw fresh cabbage juice: 1-2 glasses per day.
- Plenty of rest, and possibly fasting for a few days.
3. Small intestinal imbalance due to:
– SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
– Candidiasis in the small intestine or SIFO (Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth)
– Inflammation of the small intestine due to food intolerances.
Remedies for SIBO or SIFO include:
– Cinnamon oil in capsules
- Berberine, artemisia, olive leaves, caprylic acid, and Pau d’Arco tea.
- grapefruit seed extract.
- Eat a diet low in carbohydrates and sugars (which generally feed pathogenic bacteria and candidiasis) such as GAPS or Paleo.
- Consume meat broth
- If food intolerance: eliminate reactive foods until improvement, then reintroduce very slowly.
- If pancreatic enzymes are lacking, supplement with enzymes such a Digestzyme (Designs For Health): 1-2 capsules with each meal.
- Then, we need to replenish the gut flora with probiotics: either with lacto-fermented foods, such as milk kefir, fruit kefir; Kombucha home-made yoghurt or fermented vegetables.
4- Imbalances in the colon :
Due to candidiasis, bacteria, or parasites.
Remedies for the colon:
– Often the same remedies as for the small intestine.
– Avoid sugar which feeds pathogenic flora, especially candidiasis and
– Avoid or reduce starchy foods that turn into sugar and also feed the pathogenic flora.
– Activated vegetable charcoal to absorb excess gas.
- Green clay cleans up pathogenic bacteria.
- Enema: with either / or German chamomile, garlic, coffee.
Antibiotics, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, proton pump inhibitors, and even the pill… all can contribute to the development of irritable bowel syndrome.
6. Heavy metals and other pollutants:
- Mercury leads to candida development
- Fungicides, insecticides of all kinds
- chemical fertilisers…
- all of these disrupt the microbial flora of humans, animals, and soil.
7. Stress, adrenals, emotions :
It is proven that stress directly affects the quality of the intestinal flora.
For example, a group of young soldiers who were put into very stressful situation for a few days, saw their intestinal flora change very rapidly.
So, there are many causes to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and we need to search and treat all of them, one by one. If we find the causes, we find the cure!
If you would like to explore the causes of your irritable bowel syndrome, please e-mail me or check my website:
Yours in health,