Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a troubling condition for an increasing number of individuals. Symptoms of IBS can include bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort and pain, with diarrhea and/or constipation. While traditional medicine maintains that the cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown, research has identified some specific indicators for IBS. Knowing what triggers the onset of symptoms is an important part of effectively managing irritable bowel syndrome.
An imbalance in healthy gut bacteria is known as gut dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis can be the result of an overly processed or otherwise unhealthy diet, certain medications, or bad bacteria, parasites or yeast. In particular, antibiotics that help to combat bacterial infections also deplete the good bacteria in the body which leads to an imbalance in the gut. This disruption of healthy flora can lead to symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Problem foods can trigger inflammatory responses in the gut. While any food can be problematic for any individual, some foods such as dairy and gluten contain proteins that are particularly difficult to digest. These partially broken down proteins can result in malabsorption or ‘leaky gut’ which can lead to further increased gastrointestinal problems and increased sensitivities and allergies. Even individuals who do not have diagnosed Celiac disease can suffer from unspecified gluten sensitivity that contributes to significant gastrointestinal symptoms.
Stress can impact every bodily system and the gastrointestinal tract is no exception. Stress and related anxiety frequently result in physical symptoms including diarrhea and other GI symptoms. Chronic stress that is not managed can contribute to increased inflammation in the body and result in moderate to severe GI symptoms. This inflammatory state can negatively contribute to the body’s ability to heal properly.
While these are just some of the possible irritable bowel syndrome causes, addressing these factors can have a positive effect on reducing presenting symptoms. Those who suffer from IBS often find relief from symptoms by restoring healthy bacteria with probiotics, identifying and eliminating problem foods while maintaining a healthy diet, and making exercise and stress management part of an overall healthy living routine.