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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) use to be referred to as “nervous digestion” or “spastic/mucous colitis”.

Many digestive disorders can mimic IBS so it is important to have a complete evaluation by your Naturopathic Doctor to determine if what you have is IBS. These disorders can include malabsorption disorders, lactose intolerance, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer.

Common symptoms of IBS include the following continuous conditions:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Variable bowel function: constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Gas/flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Low appetite
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Painful bowel movements

The factors that contribute to IBS vary for each individual, though research supports the following aggravating or causative factors. These factors include:

  • Multiple food sensitivities and/or intolerances
  • Inadequate nutrition, especially consumption of large amounts of highly refined, sugary, low-fiber foods
  • High levels of stress
  • Altered microbial organisms in the intestine (i.e. not enough of the “good” bacteria needed for intestinal health)
  • Lifestyle habits including lack of exercise
  • Heredity

Irritable bowel syndrome is an extremely uncomfortable chronic condition of the large intestine that afflicts both men and women. It is the most common digestive illness in North America, affecting approximately 15% of the population. IBS significantly impacts on comfort and lifestyle of people who live with its often distressing symptoms.

There are many other digestive problems that interfere with proper digestion and that cause uncomfortable symptoms. Improper digestion can prevent vital nutrients from being properly absorbed and used by the body.

Therefore, should you suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, skin conditions, heart burn, ulcers or other gastrointestinal problems a Naturopathic Doctor can help you resolve these concerns.

The Naturopathic approach
With all digestive disorders, including IBS, your Naturopathic Doctor will take an individualized approach to your health. To help rebalance digestion and repair the gastrointestinal tract, your Naturopathic Doctor may recommend dietary changes, herbal medicines, homeopathic remedies or acupuncture.

When treating digestive disturbances, your Naturopathic Doctor will help you understand what agents or foods are aggravating your digestive system and help educate you about removing or replacing those foods in your diet.

By eliminating these irritants, followed by treatments that repair the digestive system, significant improvement in symptoms can be achieved.

Page Last Updated: October 25, 2009

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