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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a very common health problem among the population in the western world. The syndrome is characterized by disruption of bowel function and motility without evidence of structural defects. The syndrome is more common in women than men. The symptoms vary from person to person and can manifest in a wide range; From mild symptoms that do not affect one's lifestyle at all to severe symptoms that greatly affect the quality of life.

There is no specific test in place to check for irritable bowel syndrome while the diagnosis of the same is feasible by negating other illnesses that can cause the same symptoms (food intolerance, celiac disease, various infections, various bowel diseases, and more).

Image by Daniel Zurnau
Upset Stomach


Lower abdominal pain that is reduced after stool

Diarrhea and/or constipation, either chronically or intermittently.

Indigestion, gas, nausea, bloating.

Secretion of mucus in the stool.

Lack of energy and persistent fatigue is manifested by a bad general feeling.

Anxiety, depression, or difficulty in concentrating.

Causes of IBS

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unclear and are attributed to physiological aspects (such as structural impairment), psychological (such as stress, anxiety, and depression), and dietary ones (processed foods and deficiency in gut-friendly bacteria).

Conventional treatment

There is no cure for syndrome in conventional medicine, only treatment of its symptoms. 

Diarrhea is treated by prescribing drugs such as Loperamide (Imodium, Stop-it), constipation is treated with drugs such as Polyethylene glycol (Normalax, Peglax) while intestinal pain and spasms are treated with drugs such as Papaverine.

Image by Christina Victoria Craft
Natural Medicine

Natural treatment

Irritable bowel syndrome, despite of its high prevalence, is not a disease but rather a phenomenon most often associated with mental stress, poor lifestyle, and incorrect dietary habits. During the therapy sessions, I treat the syndrome through balancing the diet, providing emotional support, and addressing the exact herbs and nutritional supplements that the patient needs.

One of the most important dietary supplements is probiotics. This supplement, which contains good gut bacteria, based on my experience, can improve bowel function and significantly reduce the occurrence of symptoms. I provide special emphasis on dealing with mental stress, both with the help of herbs and supplements as well as using various relaxation techniques (breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditations, etc.) that can help reduce stress.

Another important pattern that I notice a lot in the clinic, is that lifestyle changes can significantly improve the occurrence of symptoms. Adherence to the amount and quality of sleep time and the performance of moderate and regular exercise has a significant impact on the digestive function, intestinal motility, and stress levels, have a crucial impact on the existence of the syndrome. Due to the different symptoms and manifestations of the syndrome, each of my patients receives a specific and tailor-made treatment plan that is suitable for him, his medical conditions, and his lifestyle.

Nutrition for IBS

The purpose of the nutritional treatment in treating irritable bowel syndrome is to balance and strengthen the digestive system and help improve the prevalence of the syndrome. During the therapy sessions, I create  a specific and balanced menu for the patient. A menu that contains all of the main food groups, dietary fiber (mainly soluble), bioactive foods, essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, that will ease the digestive process, improve intestinal flora and contribute to a healthy and normal stool, reduce stomach pain and increase energy. It is also important to keep in mind eating habits that include eating small meals at small intervals, prolonged chewing of the food, avoiding heavy meals, and separating between carbohydrates and proteins that facilitate digestion.

Many studies suggest a link between food intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, if there is a suspicion of food intolerance or hypersensitivity which may cause gastrointestinal irregularities, I usually recommend going on an elimination diet in order to identify the allergenic food.

Another amazing tool that I apply a lot when treating IBS, is FODMAP diet (low-carbohydrate diet). Some studies show that this diet can relieve irritable bowel symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain. Such dietary intake has shown to produce changes in the composition of the bacteria in the intestinal flora, which may explain the positive effect of diet on my patients' irritable bowel syndrome.

Healthy Food
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