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Digestive Issues and IBS

What is it?

This condition involves a painful bowel and unusual, irregular and persistent bowel movements, often with excessive flatulence. If there is no medical cause following examination and CONVENTIONAL screening then IBS is the term applied meaning it is a ‘diagnosis of exclusion’. In other words, it is a diagnosis given when conventional doctors and tests can find no reason for the problems.

Problems associated with IBS

Functional medicine considers and reviews IBS by looking at why the gut may struggle with cramping and tension that causes pain and blocks the normal passage of food as it transits through the intestine.

There are many potential causes that conventional medicine tends not to investigate and these include:

  • Yeast, fungal, parasitic and viral infection in the intestines
  • Reduced stomach acid production
  • Reduced digestive enzyme production
  • Alteration of the bowel’s normal flora as a result of bad diet, a change of diet or medication (especially antibiotics)
  • Food allergy or intolerance
  • Poor fibre intake
  • Stress and the ‘Gut-Brain axis’
  • Metal irritation from amalgam fillings
  • Back problems or other causes of inflammation of nerves to the bowel

What it can lead to

Digestive complaints and IBS may be the forerunner to other conditions or a warning of a number of issues or diseases. It is important to have a normal functioning bowel for overall health and optimum performance as well as longevity. The saying “death begins in the colon”, has long been bandied around and is accredited to Dr. Bernard Jensen, D.C., the ‘Father of Colonics’.

Symptoms it causes:

  • Gripping or sharp pains
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn/ Reflux/ GORD (surprisingly often caused by a lack of stomach acid)
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Depression

Diagnosing IBS

As stated above it is considered a useful label when no marker or sinister pathology is found.

Functional medicine considers the following tests of benefit in helping establish cause and direct practitioners to treatment options.

Tests available

  1. Stool for Calprotectin

Calprotectin is a conventional test of a protein found in stool when a gut is inflamed. It is recommended by NICE as a non-invasive investigation to distinguish between inflammatory disease such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and even cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome

  1. Stool test for Eosinophil Protein X (EPX) to identify possible food allergy.

Eosinophils are white blood cells that increase in number and become active in the presence of allergy. EPX is a non-invasive stool test that clinical research indicates has a significant correlation to those who have food allergy.

  1. Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis.

This extensive test measures inflammatory markers, levels of good bowel bacteria, the presence of bad bacteria, yeasts, fungus and parasites and gives indication of both acid production, digestive enzyme levels and many other useful parameters in understanding how the gut works.

  1. Salivary vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This simple saliva test measures the EEG. A low level is correlated with a lack of stomach acid, which is often a cause of digestive issues, reflux and Gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).

Order one of these tests

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