What Is IBS?

You know there’s something very wrong. Is it IBS? It’s confusing, painful and embarrassing: abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating, excessive gas, an urgent (very inconvenient) need to empty your bowels…and/or an inability to empty your bowels. Indigestion and nausea. Cramps. On the emotional side, you feel anxious, depressed, afraid to eat; these feelings seem to be alleviated by defecation. Your social life has likely taken a hit, as you can’t know where-when-how-if your gut is going to function, and the last thing you want is to have an “accident.”

But do you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? What is IBS exactly?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an “umbrella term,” meaning that it just says a person suffers from something on that list above. It is not stating a cause or specifying a particular symptom. The single distinguishing factor in labeling IBS is time, meaning that if a person has suffered for several months, a diagnosis of IBS can be given.

IBS is a huge huge health issue. It’s widespread, expensive and serious. Worldwide, it affects 10-15% of our overall population. In the United States alone, that’s 25 to 45 million people! IBS is second only to the common cold for causing people to miss work, and accounts for up to 12% of total annual visits to primary care providers. Estimates say IBS costs $21 billion or more annually in direct medical costs, loss of productivity and work absenteeism.

Both genders get IBS: approximately 35-45% are male while approximately 55-65% are female. For women in particular, IBS carries potentially grave ramifications, with an increased risk of unnecessary surgery for extra-abdominal and abdominal surgery. For example, incidence of hysterectomy or ovarian surgery has been reported in female patients with IBS as high as 47% to 55%.

If you are in a typical medical doctor’s office, you will be told that IBS cannot be cured, only controlled, that it will flare and subside, and that no one really knows what causes it. Really the best you can hope for is remission. And lots of drugs to do that. What is IBS???

There is another way. There is the IB Solutions Method. Although we see — and help recover– many patients suffering the symptoms listed above, we do not technically “treat” IBS. This isn’t playing with words, or meant to confuse: we are a Functional Medicine Health practice. Our goal is to restore your body to its optimal functionality, not simply control symptoms. We step back and look at you as a whole in order to see you as more than a collection of symptoms. Over 30 years of practice has taught us that each individual who comes into our office is unique. While separate patients may suffer the same symptoms, each has developed those symptoms in his or her unique way, which can vary wildly patient to patient. Thus, to label IBS and treat all patients with those symptoms the same way doesn’t make sense. We must find out “why” before embarking on “how.” Therefore, we do not “treat” IBS: we treat YOU.

How do we get to “why?” What do we look for? We begin by looking for The Six Causes of Disease.

Surprisingly, a Traumatic Brain Injury (or TBI, such as concussion) can lead to IBS. Your gut and your brain are incredibly connected by an elegant and sophisticated two-way communication, via the powerful vagus nerve which can be disrupted by a head injury. Here at IB Solutions, we have great success in this arena, reactivating the vagus nerve.

Or, your IBS might be caused by a parasitic or other pathogenic infection. Or food allergies and sensitivities, either in the form of acute or delayed immune response. Leaky gut, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), unbalanced gut flora and fauna (dysbiosis), nutritional deficiencies and yeast overgrowth (candida) can all be potential contributing factors as well. Without determining the status of these factors, if we were to just say “take this, take that,” we might never arrive at “why.” We look for the six causes of disease: infection, allergies, genetic variability, unresolved trauma, nutritional deficiencies, toxic exposure. Learn more here: http://ibsolutionsmethod.com/six-causes-of-disease/

In addition, unique to the IB Solutions Method, physical medicine is also commonly employed to address the vagus nerve component of your illness, if that is indicated in your case, stimulating it to reconnect and restore function. We do treat patients virtually, but for those who can visit our clinic in person, we are a hands-on Functional Medicine practice.

Perhaps most importantly, the IB Solutions Method recognizes IBS as a gateway disease: let it go unresolved, and a gate is left open and unguarded for even more serious health consequences. You see, your gut is your first line of defense between the outside world and the internal environment, leading the fight against many diseases: it provides the basis for most of your immunity. It harbors trillions of beneficial bacteria, processes raw material into usable energy, and protects you from toxins. It regulates body composition.

Your gut is incredibly important to your body, so if a problem is occurring there, it’s affecting you everywhere.

The IB Solutions Method uses specialized functional tests to determine causes, unlike any available at your conventional doctor’s office. Without determining where we are, we cannot determine where we should go. Based on your results, we chart a personalized, targeted healing strategy just for you that corresponds to your needs, but also importantly strategizes your healing in the best order of things. Going in “guns blazing” can cause damage rather than affect a cure, and the correct method is to prioritize corrections that need to be made. We use targeted pharmacy-grade neutraceuticals, lifestyle management and patient education in your treatment.

Does the IB Solutions Method make sense to you? It would be our honor to help you heal on your journey to restored function and health. Our mission is to “heal the world, one gut at a time.” Let us help you with yours.

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Irritable bowel syndrome