Dr. Meghan MacKinnon, ND - York Region Naturopathic Doctor
Argh – frustrating isn’t it?
People with IBS may have symptoms such as bloating, discomfort and changes in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea or both). If you’ve been told that you have IBS, it means that other conditions have been all been ruled out. This makes IBS a ‘diagnosis of exclusion’, or as I like to call it, the ‘we don’t really know what’s wrong with you or how to help you’ diagnosis.
At this point in time, the exact cause of IBS is still unknown and there are likely many different factors and events that contribute and co-exist with this digestive disorder. One thing that is now known is that many people with IBS also have some form of stress or anxiety or they notice their symptoms become much worse in a stressful situation. This has led research to look into more about the brain-gut connection as we now know that there are way more brain neurotransmitters in our digestive tracts than in our brain!
How Do I Treat IBS?
1. Pain management with natural botanicals, teas, acupuncture or supplements.
2. Identify any food intolerances through testing to see if there are foods that are upsetting the digestive system.
3. Ensure that food digestion is happening appropriately. Ie. are you breaking down your starches, proteins and fats properly?
4. Make sure that unwanted bacteria, parasites or yeast are not contributing to your digestive pain and if they are get them out of there with natural treatments.
5. Closely examine the effect of stress on your digestive health, support the stress response and teach effective stress management techniques to prevent pain.
6. Acupuncture is often a helpful tool because in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture treatments take the whole person into account.
7. Rebuild the digestive system and protect it from potential future issues.