irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), is a common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder affecting 10 - 20% of the general population. IBS is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians including Naturopathic Doctors.

IBS symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain & discomfort
  • Alternating or periodic constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Increased mucous secretion in the colon
  • Increased gas
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Food sensitivities
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Feeling of urgency (the need to find a washroom fast!)
  • Feeling of "incomplete" bowel emptying
  • and more...

Causes of IBS:

The exact cause of IBS is unknown. Symptoms appear to result from a disturbance in the interaction between the gut, brain, and nervous system that alters regulation of bowel motor or sensory function. IBS is often associated with emotional and lifestyle factors. Stress is often seen as a trigger for IBS symptoms, however is not thought to be the cause.

Diagnosis of IBS:

IBS is generally a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning all other structural, infectious and medical causes need to be ruled out before diagnosing IBS. However, it is possible to obtain a positive diagnosis if the Rome III Diagnostic Criteria are met for IBS.

Naturopathic Testing for IBS:

Often symptoms of IBS can be confusing and misunderstood. They can relate to food allergies, parasites, and other factors not usually examined by conventional medical doctors or by gastroenterologists.

As part of your diagnosis, I may utilize any of the following laboratory tests, available from Genova Diagnostics in the US. My goal is to get to the root cause of your pain and discomfort associated with IBS and to address any possible functional causes. Identifying underlying causes is crucial in resolving IBS.

Whenever there are inexplicable changes to your bowel habits, digestion or weight, it is important to seek medical help.

Naturopathic Treatment of IBS:

Naturopathic Doctors are well trained and have much experience in treating digestive related issues. Afterall, digestion is the foundation of good health.

We work together using a combination of clinical nutrition including dietary changes such as the hypoallergenic diet, botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, lifestyle counseling and stress management techniques. Our treatment goals are to remove the causes of your IBS, treat your symptoms, repair damage, restore proper digestion and prevent reoccurrence.


The Rome III Diagnostic Criteria* - IBS
(a system for diagnosing functional gastrointestinal disorders based on symptoms) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome is as follows:

Recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort** at least 3 days per month in the last 3 months associated with 2 or more of the following:

  1. Improvement with defecation
  2. Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool
  3. Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool

*Criteria fulfilled for the last 3 months with symptom onset at least 6 months prior to diagnosis.
**"Discomfort" means an uncomfortable sensation not described as pain.

Other symptoms that are not essential but support the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):

  • Abnormal stool frequency (greater than 3 bowel movements per day or less than 3 bowel movements per week);
  • Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool);
  • Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete bowel movement);
  • Passage of mucus;
  • Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension

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