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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses digestive problems and what you need to know to remedy your Irritable Bowel once and for all.
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Getting control of your condition and restoring balance to your digestive system needs to be a priority. If your doctor has not solved your Irritable Bowel yet, consider sitting down with Dr. Huntoon. The choice is yours!
Spastic colon; Irritable colon; Mucous colitis; Spastic colitis
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that leads to abdominal pain and cramping, changes in bowel movements, and other symptoms.
IBS is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In IBS, the structure of the bowel is not abnormal.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
From a Medical perspective, it is not clear why patients develop IBS. Sometimes it occurs after an infection of the intestines. This is called postinfectious IBS. There may also be other triggers.
From a Holistic Chiropractic perspective, the underlying cause is usually due to emotional stress in conjunction with a parasite that usually affects the gall bladder. This leads to problems after the gall bladder that affect the small and large intestines.
The intestine is connected to the brain. Signals go back and forth between the bowel and brain. These signals affect bowel function and symptoms. The nerves can become more active during stress, causing the intestines to be more sensitive and squeeze (contract) more.
IBS can occur at any age, but it often begins in the teen years or early adulthood. It is twice as common in women as in men.
About 1 in 6 people in the U.S. have symptoms of IBS. It is the most common intestinal problem that causes patients to be referred to a bowel specialist (gastroenterologist).
Symptoms range from mild to severe. Most people have mild symptoms. Symptoms are different from person to person.
The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating that have been present for at least 3 days a month for the last 3 months. The pain and other symptoms will often:
Be reduced or go away after a bowel movement
Occur when there is a change in how often you have bowel movements
People with IBS may switch between constipation and diarrhea, or mostly have one or the other.
People with diarrhea will have frequent, loose, watery stools. They will often have an urgent need to have a bowel movement, which may be hard to control.
Those with constipation will have a hard time passing stool, as well as fewer bowel movements. They will often need to strain and will feel cramps with a bowel movement. Often, they do not release any stool, or only a small amount.
For some people, the symptoms may get worse for a few weeks or a month, and then decrease for a while. For other people, symptoms are present most of the time.
People with IBS may also lose their appetite.
Signs and tests
Most of the time, your doctor can diagnose IBS based on your symptoms, with few or no tests. Eating a lactose-free diet for 2 weeks may help the doctor check for a possible lactase deficiency.
There is no test to diagnose IBS. Tests may be done to rule out other problems:
CBC with a differential to look at the WBC's and their fractions
Blood tests to see if you have celiac disease or a low blood count (anemia)
Stool cultures to check for an infection
Some patients will have a colonoscopy. During this test, a flexible tube is inserted through the anus to examine the colon. You may need this test if:
Symptoms began later in life (over age 50)
You have symptoms such as weight loss or bloody stools
You have abnormal blood tests (such as a low blood count)
Other disorders that can cause similar symptoms include:
Colon cancer (cancer rarely causes typical IBS symptoms, unless symptoms such as weight loss, blood in the stools, or abnormal blood tests are also present)
Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
The goal of treatment from a Medical perspective is to relieve symptoms. This will involve various medication with many different side-effects. This may make your condition manageable, but it will not help to improve the cause of your condition. This should be considered before beginning any treatment program.
Surgery may be offered as a last resort if the doctor finds severe problems within the intestine that warrants surgical intervention.
That is why it is important to work with a Holistic Chiropractor first. By developing a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all your imbalances, thus restoring normal function is prudent. This is the best way to restore balance and return to health.
Others have received help by working with an Acupuncturist, Homeopath or Naturopath.
Lifestyle changes can help in some cases of IBS. For example, regular exercise and improved sleep habits may reduce anxiety and help relieve bowel symptoms.
Dietary changes can be helpful. However, no specific diet can be recommended for IBS, because the condition differs from one person to another. There is No One-Size-Fits-All. That is why it is important to work with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you determine which diet is best for you and help you restore balance to your digestive system.
The following changes may help under the supervision of your Holistic Chiropractor:
Avoid foods and drinks that stimulate the intestines (such as caffeine, tea, or colas)
Avoid large meals
Use digestive enzymes with ALLof your meals
Take a probiotic supplement with each meal FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!
Increase fiber in the diet (this may improve constipation but make bloating worse)
Talk with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications.
No one medication will work for everyone. Medications your doctor might try include:
Anticholinergic medications (dicyclomine, propantheline, belladonna, and hyoscyamine) taken about a half-hour before eating to control intestinal muscle spasms
Bisacodyl to treat constipation
Loperamide to treat diarrhea
Low doses of tricyclic antidepressants to help relieve intestinal pain
Lubiprostone for constipation symptoms
Rifaximin, an antibiotic
Therapy may help in cases of severe anxiety or depression.
Irritable bowel syndrome may be a lifelong condition. For some people, symptoms are disabling and reduce the ability to work, travel, and attend social events.
Medicines Two Choices for You
When under the care of a Holistic Chiropractor, this does not have to be the case. By developing a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to addressing all your digestive imbalances, the condition can be resolved.
Symptoms can often be improved or relieved through medical treatment. Unfortunately, through medical treatment, certain side-effects and complications go along with any medication. Discussing this with your medical doctor or pharmacist is warranted. Understanding what to look for when taking medication will help to prevent one condition from turning into multiple conditions.
IBS does not cause permanent harm to the intestines, and it does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or if you notice a change in your bowel habits that does not go away.
Click the link for a description of this week's show and a link to the podcast from:
Advanced Alternative Medicine Center
Serving All Your Heath Care Needs ... Naturally!
Dr. Richard A. Huntoon