Have you gone to your doctor with serious concerns about your digestive issues only to be told, “You just have IBS…it’s common, nothing to worry about. Eat more fiber. Take a laxative.”
That doesn’t really make you feel any better, does it? You might not even know what IBS is!
Well, most doctors don’t really know what IBS is either!
Some of the possible causes are genetic, stealth infections, trauma, stress, and the wrong diet.
Even the gut-brain connection is an important cause – it appears that something happens in the motility of the gut, when there is trauma to the brain. That’s why it’s believed that people with traumatic brain injuries (concussions) often have symptoms of IBS such as diarrhea or constipation.
Since IBS is a term used for many GI complaints, a functional medicine approach may be the beginning of finding some answers to your symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain.
A careful history that includes family history (since IBS tends to run in families), a physical examination and a diet history are the beginning of getting to the root cause of the problem. Often, but not always, the real culprit is lifestyle factors such as dietary, stress, lack of fiber in the diet, intolerance of milk products.
If there is blood or mucus in the stool, this is a red flag for more serious conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) or malignancies. In this situation a colonoscopy is necessary.
Overall, the Functional medicine approach is certainly a valuable tool to helping you become symptom free.
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