Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a term for digestive issues with people experiencing a wide range of different digestive symptoms.

Lady suffering with IBS symptoms

IBS can be activated by different triggers and there are many underlying reasons for developing digestive issues. What functional medicine does best is to understand what these triggers are for each person.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

  • Constipation or diahorrea or both
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Changes in the colour, appearance, and consistency of the stool
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Anaemia

What causes IBS?

  • Leaky gut
  • Gut-immune issues
  • Gut motility issues
  • Stress
  • Low fibre diet
  • Food intolerances or allergies
  • Inflammation
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Medication side effects (especially for constipation)
  • Smoking
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Hormonal changes

Conventional approach

Once other potential conditions have been ruled out (celiac disease, IBD’s, colorectal cancer) then medications are usually the next option;

  • Laxatives for constipation
  • Anti-diahorrea medications
  • Anti-spasmodics for abdominal cramping
  • Fibre supplements
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-depressants

Things you can do:

  1. Eliminate the typical trigger foods for one month and then reintroduce one at a time to identify your triggers – dairy, gluten, grains, sugar, caffeine, raw fruit, cruciferous vegetables, beans and lentils.
  2. Include more healing foods for the gut; bone broth, probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, healthy fats like egg yolk, salmon, ghee, avocado, coconut oil, steamed apples.
  3. Reduce stress levels – take up meditation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi or walk in nature daily. Stress is known to trigger flares.

What can Functional Medicine do to support?

  • Investigate your own individual triggers to IBS, it is not a one size fits all.
  • Use functional testing to understand what is going on in your gut and look at your capacity to digest your food. Poor digestion can cause fermentation of food particles leading to many IBS related symptoms. It will also help to identify if there are any bacteria, yeasts or parasites that are disrupting the lining of the gut allowing food particles to pass through the gut lining and upset the immune system leading to symptoms. SIBO can also be tested and be addressed through diet, herbs and supplements to eradicate the unwanted bacterial overgrowth and repair the gut lining.
  • Provide individual dietary advice and guidance with herbs, supplements and lifestyle suggestions.

5 Pillars of Functional Medicine

Managing Stress

IBS and Functional Medicine

Do you suffer from IBS and have tried all the usual approaches?

Functional Medicine can help you, simply book an online consultation or arrange a free 15 minute discovery call and find out how we can help.