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IBS is a Widespread Problem

Woman on couch holding abdomen

Did you know that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects between seven and 21 percent of the general population? About 60 million Americans struggle with some form of IBS. With symptoms that include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas, this problem is extremely uncomfortable. Do you know how to calm an IBS flare up? For IBS, functional medicine can be extremely helpful, because by looking at the whole person, functional medicine doctors are better able to determine the root causes of your IBS and the best IBS diet and lifestyle to ease your symptoms.

What is IBS?

To understand why that’s true, you need an understanding of IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome is not a disease, but rather a symptom cluster, caused by something that’s “off” in your system. Different people with IBS have different symptoms, and the triggers vary as well. Because of the individual nature of irritable bowel syndrome, self-care and self-monitoring are necessary. Symptoms of IBS include bloating, gas, cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, or both, and changes in stool color, or appearance, including mucus in stools or loose stools. Several different things can cause IBS, including a leaky gut, bacteria or yeast overgrowth in the small intestine, parasites, and food allergies or sensitivities. Identifying the cause of your IBS can help you determine your personal triggers.

What Causes an IBS Flare Up?

Just as the causes of IBS vary, so the triggers that aggravate IBS symptoms are different for different people. There are certain foods that are common triggers, including dairy, certain sweeteners, and gluten. However, many other things can trigger an IBS flare up, like stress, anxiety, and certain medications, including NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Lifestyle factors can contribute to a flare up too. Too little sleep, too much caffeine or alcohol, and a routine that constantly changes can all be IBS triggers. One of the best ways to determine what is causing your flare ups is to track your symptoms and possible triggers by keeping a diary of your diet and lifestyle, along with your emotional state and stress level. Over time, you may be able to identify patterns that can help you avoid your triggers.

What Are the Worst Foods for IBS?

Avoiding certain foods can help you control your IBS. Common trigger foods include:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Grains and legumes
  • Refined sugar and flour
  • Allergens like nuts and shellfish
  • Spicy foods
  • Foods that cause gas
  • Inflammatory foods like nightshades, caffeine, and alcohol

Functional Medicine, for the Whole Person

By approaching IBS from a functional medicine perspective, you can determine the cause of your symptoms and learn to control them. At Advanced Functional Medicine, an integrated medical clinic, we exclusively practice functional medicine. A full functional medicine approach to healing uses a comprehensive diagnostic screening to get to the root of a patient’s issues. Our whole-body approach to medicine utilizes all-natural, researched-based nutritional approaches to optimize the body’s natural healing abilities, rather than just using medication to treat symptoms. Each individual receives unique and customized care, formulated based on the latest scientific resource, and we have a 96 percent success rate in patient outcomes. As a medically driven, patient-focused health clinic, we support our patients’ individual health goals, providing natural relief for symptoms of chronic factors and expert guidance about the decisions affecting a patient’s long-term health. It is our goal to help reverse chronic disease without resorting to dangerous or unnecessary drugs or surgical interventions, promoting healing from the inside out, in its truest, healthiest form. To schedule an appointment or learn more about how we can help restore your health and strengthen your body’s unique physiological functions, call 858-500-5572 or contact us through our website.