Why You Get It and What You Can Do To Help It!
By Dr. Kyle Gulledge
Did you know it is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month? It is, so this is for anyone wanting more awareness to why someone may get IBS and how to possibly help it.
What is IBS?
IBS is the most commonly diagnosed bowel condition. It can impact up to 20% of people at some point in their life and is one of the most common reasons for missing work. An IBS diagnosis is given when there are changes in bowel function such as pain, bloating, alternating constipation and diarrhea with no signs of structural bowel changes. The seriousness of IBS varies from a minor annoyance to a major issue that negatively impacts your life.
Causes of IBS
At True Health, we see IBS arising due to multiple factors. No two people are alike and the body is a complex thing, so to get to the bottom of health complaints such as IBS, you need to look in multiple places. Here are some causes and fixes that we see in a lot of our patients.
Have you ever gone out for hot wings that were a bit too hot for you? How’d you feel the next day? Many people report feeling disturbances in the digestive tract such as pain and quick moving bowels. This is due to substances in the food irritating the digestive tract. The nerves that go to the intestines then cause the body to move everything out in a rapid fashion. Now imagine there were other substances in your diet that while not spicy were still irritating your digestive tract causing things like pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. It can happen and people very often don’t realize the food they are eating is making them feel bad.
Food allergy/sensitivity tests let a doctor and patient know what could be causing the irritation.
When these sources are removed, very often patients report an improvement in IBS symptoms. Dairy and Grains are a common offender, but often our medical staff finds food sensitivities that patients never would have expected.
Another cause can be what is called dysbiosis. An imbalance in bacteria and yeasts in the gut can cause a long list of symptoms, IBS being one. This can occur from medication intake such as corticosteroids and antibiotics, and a poor diet or stress. Probiotic supplements and food such as Greek yogurt and sauerkraut can provide beneficial bacterial that often assists in restoring normal bowel function. For those that don’t notice a large benefit with this simple change, a more comprehensive approach is needed.
An often overlooked contributor to IBS is trauma to the neck and back. Did you know the nerves that control your digestive track come from your upper neck and your back? If you’ve had trauma such as a car accident, fall or sports injuries, even in the past, or many small injuries and a lot of sitting, you can actually irritate the nerves that send signals to your organs. This can lead to altered function and symptoms of IBS. When we find evidence of this kind of trauma, it’s often accompanied with things such as headaches, neck pain, tightness or back pain. A plan to correct the trauma built up in a patient’s body causing nerve irritation can lead to a significant improvement in symptoms.
Stress and Emotion
Another significant factor in IBS can be stress and emotion. If you’re under a high level of chronic stress, this makes your brain work in a way that is not conducive to proper digestive system function. Many people we see don’t fully realize how much stress they are under. As we all know, sometimes the stress of life is unavoidable. Try to schedule some down time for yourself every day. Surrounding yourself with positive people goes a long way in reducing the harmful effects of stress as well. Learning how to breathe deeply and slowly with your abdomen and diaphragm is an easy technique that many report finding very helpful.
We Can Help!
Most of the patients we care for come to us for chronic pain or weight issues. We find a significant portion of these people also have IBS or some other digestive complaint. When we look at the factors mentioned above and help treat them, we see a large percentage of people do much better. If you are looking for natural answers to your health issues, contact True Health for a free consultation. Call us at 913-338-1112 or visit us online at www.TrueHealthKC.com.
11879 W. 112th Street, Suite 100
Overland Park, KS 66210