Chronic/Pain Conditions >> Irritable Bowel Syndrome
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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses Digestive Health and the importance of the microbiome.
Dr. Huntoon is passionate about helping people with digestive concerns and would look forward to meeting you.
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Also known as Spastic colon, Irritable colon, Mucous colitis, or 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.
Symptoms range from mild to severe, with mild symptoms being most common. Symptoms are different from person to person, but 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.
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 gallbladder. This leads to problems that affect the small and large intestines. Knowing this is most important before beginning any treatment for this uncomfortable condition.
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).
The goal of treatment from a Medical perspective is to relieve symptoms by suppressing them with the use of prescription medication. You may be recommended more than one medication at a time during your treatment. This will not help to improve your condition. They will offer you the opportunity to try different medications to relieve your symptoms and help you manage your condition. Unfortunately, being tied to a medication or medications does not allow for you to ever overcome the condition. With medications come harmful side-effects and this should always be considered before starting any treatment.
Having this condition is not fun at all. Being motivated to look for non-conventional forms of treatment is warranted. Working with a Holistic Chiropractor does offer specific benefits. Finding one who will evaluate you for parasites and determine if these parasites are impacting your gall bladder function is vital. Having had your gall bladder removed and still having the symptoms of IBS does not mean you do not still have a parasite affecting your digestive system. Having a simple blood test (a CBC with differential) will let you know if you have parasites. Then, using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the causes and imbalances within the person and discussing what is involved as well as the time commitment necessary to having a full recovery is necessary. This has demonstrated positive results when sticking to a specific treatment plan. Full resolution of the condition has been accomplished when following the specific plan to its completion.
Others have benefited by using Acupuncture, Homeopathy or Naturopathy when following the treatment guidelines set up by your practitioner.
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 determine if you are lactose-intolerant and if you have a possible lactase deficiency. There is however, 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. This will tell if you have an underlying infection if the numbers are elevated.
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
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.
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. Your Holistic Chiropractor can also determine if you have a parasite affecting your gall bladder, ultimately the true underlying cause of IBS.
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 ALL of 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)
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.
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, with time, 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 always recommended. 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 more serious diseases, such as cancer. But failing to address the parasite imbalance can and often does lead to other serious health outcomes.
Calling your health care provider
Call your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or if you notice a change in your bowel habits that does not go away.
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