Irritable Bowel Syndrome
gas, bloating and irregular stools are the new 'normal '
What is it?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) impacts between 12-25% of Canadians, and is ultimately a diagnosis of exclusion to explain symptoms of pain, diarrhea, constipation, or both! Most patients with these symptoms have been told at some point by their doctors is probably IBS, however for a true diagnosis, the most up-to-date diagnostic criteria (ROME IV) from May 2016 states you must have:
Recurrent abdominal pain at least 1 day per week in the last three months associated with two or more of the following:
- related to defecation
- associated with a change in the frequency of stool
- associated with a change in the form of stool
Subtypes can be classified as diarrhea (IBS - D), constipation (IBS - C), or mixed (IBS-M or IBS-DC). Furthermore, people may experience mucous in the stool, the urgency to defecate, and cramping (commonly relieved by a bowel movement).
IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning once all underlying pathologies like inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and infection have been ruled out, your symptoms are assumed to be a result of irritable bowel. People are often told they'll have to live with symptoms and manage them by taking psyllium and reducing stress, often with little success. Dr. Holmberg, ND recognizes that multiple food sensitivities, bacterial overgrowth, and an overactive enteric nervous system can play a large role in these symptoms, and management with natural therapies is extremely effective at addressing the root causes.
IBS is considered a diagnosis of exclusion, which means when all other lab markers (ultrasounds, stool cultures and scopes) are normal and they meet the diagnostic criteria of the ROME IV, irritable bowel syndrome is landed upon as the final diagnosis.
However, functional medicine provides a deeper dive into exploring other common causes of IBS that our conventional medical system doesn't evaluate for, also looking to understand associated symptoms such as gas, bloating, reflux and fullness.
Such testing may include:
- Food Intolerance Testing
- 3 hr Lactulose Breath Testing (for SIBO)
- Comprehensive Stool Testing
Goals of Therapy
Dr. Holmberg, ND focuses on addressing the root cause of your symptoms, with goals of treatment aiming to effectively rule out any underlying dysbiosis, food sensitivities, and infections/inflammation.
Natural therapies work effectively to relieve the painful symptoms of gas and bloating, resolve gut inflammation, and to ultimately restore the proper functioning of the gut.
Therapies involve personalized dietary adjustments, supplements, and lifestyle changes that support the health of the GI tract. Natural health products are chosen when appropriate and work to balance the nervous system, improve the integrity of the gut lining, the rebuild healthy gut bacteria.