I used to have irritable bowel syndrome which was finally resolved last year after addressing what was causing it. One of the things that surprises me about this condition is that many doctors don’t look for the causes, but instead, just provide symptom-relief. When I first developed IBS, I remember clearly asking my doctor at the time to run some lab tests to see if I had any “bugs” or things that could be causing it. I was under a lot of external stressors at a time: a divorce, a car accident, a new job and a recent move. My doctor told me that she would not run any tests and that my symptoms were likely due to all the stress I was under. It took me many, many years, to actually find answers. My intention now in writing this article is to help you by providing information on the IBS facts that your doctor won’t tell you.
I will not discuss why my doctor wouldn’t run the tests, because quite honestly, I have no answers on what the reasons behind that were. But I can say that in speaking with countless other people with IBS, I hear several commonalities: their doctors won’t listen to them. Their anxiety and stress is often-times ignored. Other symptoms are ignored. They go to their GI Doctor and get no answers. They have little improvement. Their doctors often-times won’t include lifestyle and dietary changes as part of their treatment. Medicines are giving them horrible side-effects. Triggers are dismissed. Sounds familiar? If so, you’re not alone. I went through the same.
When dealing with debilitating symptoms, we have one of two options: We do nothing, or we look for answers and try to find alternatives. For many years, I did nothing. Then I changed my diet, saw some improvement. I had somewhat good days but I had tons and tons of bad days. My dietary changes offered SOME relief. I removed dairy. I also removed gluten. I stopped buying “gluten-free” processed items. I started cooking ALL my foods from scratch. I created healthy recipes for myself and my family. I ate whole foods only. However, some of the symptoms were still there. If I was under a lot of stress, I’d have a flare. On top of that, I started having issues falling asleep at night, I felt fatigued and foggy-brained. I also started to have hormonal imbalances and it was hard for me to develop muscle regardless of how hard I trained.
In looking for answers, I discovered alternative approaches, including Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® and became a practitioner. Thanks to FDN®, I was able to run some lab tests and get some answers. One thing to note is that people with irritable bowel syndrome have a hard time assimilating nutrients. And we often have a hard time identifying what triggers the flare-ups. Of course, this should come as no surprise to you if you suffer from this condition. What I didn’t know however, is that there’s a condition called “leaky gut” in which your intestines which become highly permeable, meaning that the tight junctions in the intestines that are supposed to keep the bad stuff out, become loose, causing an autoimmune response, and in some cases, irritable bowel syndrome. I also didn’t know that there are several pathogens (parasites, bacteria and fungi) that may cause irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. In my case, I discovered that I indeed had a leaky gut, as well as a one-celled organism (parasite) called “blastocystis hominis”. According to PubMed, there is a direct link between blasto and IBS. Click here for the reference. But there are MANY other bugs as well. When speaking with people with IBS, they have told me that in many cases, their symptoms started with food poisoning and never went away completely.
Once I discovered the cause, I had one of two options: go to my doctor for treatment, which would have likely required antibiotics (that is, if my doctor was even willing to treat it, because blasto is something that doctors often won’t treat). Or take a more natural approach at addressing what was going on – which meant that it may take longer. I have always been of the belief that antibiotics should only be used as a last resort. Why? Because antibiotics not only kill the bad stuff, but they also kill the good bugs, which may have put me at a higher risk for being re-infected. Considering how sick I had felt for so long, I decided to address my issues through a more natural approach. I developed a specific meal plan for myself, keeping in mind what this pathogen liked. I also used some very specific probiotics and herbal supplements, not only to address the protozoa (blasto), but also to help reverse some of the damage in the gut, which helps in keeping these bad bugs away. I paid attention to my rest. My energy levels. I continued to exercise to keep stress levels under control. And I watched my diet like a hawk.
In my case, the infection was addressed successfully and I have been symptom-free for almost a year now. Was it easy? Not always. But it was worth it. While I can’t guarantee that someone will have the same level of success that I did, I can say that taking an alternative route at addressing your IBS symptoms will probably help you feel better. I know for me, diet was the most important part of it. But also creating a self-care protocol that was customized to my personal needs helped tremendously as well. I am now able to sleep soundly. I no longer feel fatigued all the time. And the best part, is that I no longer feel stressed-out when going out with my family because of concerns of having to use a restroom.
If you want to find out if you may have leaky gut, assimilation issues, or even a pathogen, I recommend taking my free leaky-gut assessment by clicking here.