Top 5 Things You Need to Know When Diagnosed with IBS
Being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be a very frustrating process.
You’ve gone through a laundry list of diagnostic tests, different possible diagnoses, and multiple specialists.
Not to mention the uncomfortable symptoms you’ve endured during your journey to find an answer – bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, constipation or both.
You might have even lost hope that any solution might come at all.
But, when the diagnosis finally comes, in the form of IBS, it can be very disappointing.
You expect a treatment, you expect action, you expect relief!
Yet, you’re met with nothing more than a label. A label stating that you have a group of symptoms, which you already knew before you were diagnosed.
The problem is most doctors can’t tell you the root cause of your IBS or any specific treatments to help cure you– so you feel like you’re back to square one.
Yes, irritable bowel syndrome can be confusing for both patients and doctors. This is because there are different subtypes, different routes of treatment, and even different hidden causes.
To help ease your frustration, we’ve put together the top 5 things you need to know about your IBS diagnosis your doctor probably didn’t tell you.
1. The Rome IV IBS Diagnostic Criteria is Flawed
The Rome IV diagnostic criteria is not set in stone – hence why they are on their 4th revision of it.
More and more research is being done on IBS and when new statistics are unveiled, they have to update the diagnostic criteria to include yet another measure.
Irritable bowel syndrome is not a single disease with a single cause. There are no biomarkers for this disease– it’s all based on the patient’s symptoms.
The Rome Criteria states that to be diagnosed with IBS all you need is abdominal pain related to defecation and a change in stool pattern for at least the past 3 months.
The criteria doesn’t take into account bloating, which is one of the main symptoms of IBS.
This broad criteria puts a lot of people under the IBS label– which gives some doctors the easy way out to say, “Oh well, you have IBS.” This is where it becomes frustrating.
The doctors stop being proactive in looking for the cause of your IBS symptoms. But only when you find the cause of your IBS can you find true relief.
2. IBS Treatments Targeting Symptoms are Ineffective
Since the root cause of IBS is unknown, the treatments only target the symptoms and not the cause. These treatments can be very costly and are known to be temporary fixes with only minimal efficacy.
Do any of the following suggested treatments sound familiar?
- Avoid high gas foods
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Take a laxative, fiber supplement, or anti-diarrheal
- Exercise regularly
- Try antidepressants, antispasmodics, or pain medications
The treatments listed above are conventional IBS treatments. If you notice these treatments target just the symptoms – intestinal motility and pain.
Surprisingly, some of the prescribed medications for your IBS symptoms have side effects that actually cause abdominal pain, nausea, and constipation.
This only adds to your long list of symptoms.
If you have a fire in your house and you extinguish just the outer flames – does the fire ever burn out?
No, that’s because you need to put out the heart of the fire. And, the same goes for irritable bowel syndrome.
3. Your IBS May be Caused by Bacteria
Your intestines are full of bacteria– which your body needs to stay healthy. These gut microbiotas maintain homeostasis throughout your body by:
- Fighting infection by other disease–causing bacterias
- Improving the gut’s immune system
- Digesting and absorbing nutrients
- Acidifying the colon and promoting healthy bowel movements
When bacteria grow in the wrong place, they cause all the digestive issues related to IBS.
Bacteria in the small intestine gives off gases, which cause symptoms of bloating, abdominal discomfort and pain, constipation, diarrhea or both.
Different types of bacteria produce different types of gas. Research shows that IBS patients experiencing constipation have a higher level of methane during exhalation. As for diarrhea–predominant patients, they show higher levels of hydrogen during exhalation.
A recent study shows 84% of patients diagnosed with IBS have an overgrowth of gut bacteria. After treating this imbalance of gut bacteria, 75% of patient’s reported improvements in their IBS symptoms.
Has your doctor tested you for small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
4. The Gut-Brain Connection Plays a Key Role in IBS
The science behind “trusting your gut” and having a “butterflies in your stomach” is revealed through the gut-brain connection.
Your central nervous system – which includes your brain and spinal cord – has a complex pathway to send signals to your enteric nervous system.
Your enteric nervous system controls your digestive system – gut motility, secretion of fluids and blood flow.
The enteric nervous system is called “little brain” because it handles so much responsibility on its own– housing more nerve endings than your spinal cord.
So, if any dysfunction along this pathways is disrupted you can guarantee it upsets the function of your digestion and your mood. The gut-brain connection is a two-way street.
Not only does the brain send signals to your gut– your gut also sends signals to your brain. Proving true with IBS patients who often experience anxiety and depression.
Your gut contains 95% of your body’s neurotransmitters for serotonin. Serotonin is the happy chemical that contributes to well-being and happiness.
When you are stressed or anxious the mind sends signals to our gut to enact the fight or flight response in your body.
This interpersonal relationship between our mind and gut is the reason promoting less stress in your life is important in staying healthy.
Healthy gut, healthy mind!
5. How to Heal IBS Symptoms Naturally
No one lives a stress-free life but reducing stress is on of the best things you can do for your IBS. So, explore different ways to reduce the stress levels.
Try yoga, meditation, exercise or even going on a walk.
Anything that gets those serotonin neurotransmitters going. Support your gut-brain connection from both sides.
When it comes to finding a solution to gas and bloating, Atrantil is a supplement that doesn’t just mask symptoms – it actually works to improve underlying causes.
Atrantil helps reduce the effect of methane producing bacteria – relieving you of any bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Try Atrantil for gas and bloating to find relief that lasts.