Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the number one digestive disease in America with 30-50 million sufferers.
- Some 22 % of the United States population has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), either occasionally or persistently.
- It is the second most common reason for absence from work or school (common colds are the main cause).
- The inflamed colon of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is not a disease; rather, it's a combination of symptoms that do not currently respond well to medications or surgery.
- The medically descriptive term of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) together with Dyspepsia and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are known as the three major functional intestinal disorders.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Probiotics
The effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome results in an imbalance of digestive micro-organisms. The preferred ratio is 85% friendly bacteria to 15% pathogenic bacteria. The effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome disturbs this ratio resulting in excessive pathogenic bacteria and overgrowth of candida, other fungi and yeast.
Supplemental use of effective probiotics like
In a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled 2003 trial. Kim et al. reported a reduction in the urgency in diarrhea-predominant IBS patients involved in the trial. The fecal urgency score showed a trend toward reduction in the VSL#3 group.
UCLA's Cure Digestive Diseases Research Center reports that when assessing 443 IBS referrals, 66% of IBS patients reported gas as a symptom, and 60% reported bloating-type symptoms as "the most bothersome". VSL#3 has been successfully used in the Dietary Management of Bloating. There has been an 8-week double-blind placebo-controlled trial in 25 diarrhea-predominant IBS patients and VSL#3 was helpful in the management of bloating in IBS with bloating. 46% of VSL#3 patients reported satisfactory relief of bloating for 4 weeks on study vs 33% in the placebo group (P=.27)
VSL#3 has also been used in the Dietary Management of Flatulence (gas)In an 8-week double-blind placebo-controlled trial in 48 IBS patients VSL#3 was helpful in the dietary management of IBS with flatulence (VAS score at 8 weeks: 29.7 vs 39.5, P=0.01).
A very important fact was that there were no side effects reported in either of the randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trials of VSL#3.
Evaluation of Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS
An easy-to-administer comprehensive home stool test can give you more insight into your digestive function
and gut microbial ecology. The test gives answers - is it Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
The test includes expanded bacteria, yeast and parasite identification, a reliable assessment of exocrine pancreatic function, and a noninvasive risk assessment for colorectal cancer.
What's more, if bacteria, yeast or parasites are detected, they are grown out to establish which natural and medical products will inhibit their growth.
Supplements that reduce symptoms of Irritable Bowel syndrome are:
Essential Fatty Acids,
Aloe Vera Juice,
Perfect Food and
Who is affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS affects people of all ages and backgrounds, including children. (Don't be too quick to dismiss complaints of stomach pain by your children - even if they don't like school.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is characterized by some combination of:
- abdominal pain,
- altered bowel function (either constipation, diarrhea or alternating),
- hypersecretion of colonic mucous, and
- symptoms of indigestion (bloating, flatulence and nausea).
The symptoms may range from occasionally bothersome to disabling, causing sufferers to always have to have a bathroom location on their minds.
The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be both uncomfortable and distressing.
Gary Gittnick, Chief of Digestive Diseases at UCLA Medical Center, offers the following assurance, "Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) does not cause permanent harm to the intestines and does not lead to intestinal bleeding or to any serious disease such as cancer" (Freedom from Digestive Distress: Medicine-Free Relief, Three Rivers Press, 2000)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) shows no physical evidence of its presence on exam by blood test or X-ray. The alteration in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract in Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes malabsorption. This may result in chronic inflammation throughout the body. The inflammation may show up in any organ system.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
The exact cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is unknown.
There seems to be an underlying abnormality with bowel contractions.
People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may have more sensitive digestive systems, responding to stimuli that would not bother most people.
A genetic component may be involved.
In addition, recurrent abdominal pains during childhood may predispose one to developing the disorder.
Regardless, the usual suspects must be taken into consideration. These include poor dietary and lifestyle habits; lack of fiber, emotional stress, food sensitivities, and imbalance of colon organisms
There are conditions which may mimic Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). These include:
- excessive consumption of tea, coffee, carbonated beverages, and simple sugars,
- infectious diarrhea from micro-organisms (such as giardia parasites),
- inflammatory bowel disease- IBD (a much more serious disorder than Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS) and lactose intolerance,
- laxative abuse,
- diverticular disease,
- intestinal candidiasis,
- disturbed bacterial flora (dysbiosis),
- malabsorption diseases such as pancreatic insufficiency and celiac/sprue,
- metabolic disorders such as adrenal insufficiency, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism,
- mechanical causes such as fecal impaction,
The Diagnostic Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome have been established at International Medical Conferences. They are:
Diagnostic Criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Episodes of abdominal pain with frequent loose stools
- Pain relief after defecation
- A sense of incomplete rectal evacuation
- Mucus with the stool
- A sense of abdominal bloating
- Constant abdominal pain and altered bowel habits
- Presence of symptoms 25% of the time
- Constipation with or without pain
- Pain associated with bowel movements
- Painless diarrhea only
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Poor nutrient absorption if diarrhea is severe
- Abdominal pain accompanied by abdominal spasms triggered by eating
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is alternately known as:
- spastic colon,
- spastic colitis,
- mucous colitis,
- nervous stomach, or
- nervous diarrhea.