Dining with IBS: An Uncomfortable Date Indeed

For those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eating out can be a jungle expedition, fraught with danger, unexpected twists, and improvised back up strategies. The sufferer calls ahead to ensure there are suitable food options, ingests caustic medications with potential side effects that range from extreme constipation to heart attack, and drives a separate car that can serve as a getaway vehicle. At the restaurant they must nonchalantly nudge the dining party towards a table near a bathroom, and pounce on the seat with easiest entry and exit path. During the meal they must be vigilantly self-aware, constantly assessing their evolving physical state as the food digests. Only when the meal is over and the bill is paid can an IBS sufferer breathe a sigh of relief. A leisurely dining experience is never so simple for a person with IBS.

IBS is not restricted to digestive discomfort- it affects the way we live. The stress of IBS can lead to physical and emotional debilitation. However, we do not have to passively accept IBS or merely numb the symptoms. It is possible to combat IBS at its root and completely eradicate it from our lives. This month’s blogs will offer a simple 3-step solution for dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

IBS Eradication Step #3: Find Solutions that Work for You

Discover what foods serve as our triggers.

 

RAST blood examinations (short for radioallergosorbent test) which tests for acute immune reactions to food, combined with an ELISA Blood Test, which examines the body's latent reaction to 96 potential food allergens, provide a comprehensive picture of IBS triggers.

 

Exclude the trigger food from our diet.  

Though it sounds surprisingly simple, removing trigger foods can lead to radical improvements in our well-being. Once we discover and remove the root of the cause, the symptoms will dissipate.

 

Nourish stressed systems with supplements and enzymes. 

There are a variety of supplements and enzymes to heal a compromised digestive tract. Speak to your health practitioner about what options are best for you.

Out of the Digestive Jungle

Dining out does not have to be a dangerous trip into unpredictable territory. When we educate ourselves about IBS and make appropriate lifestyle changes, we can regain control of our lives. True health and wellness is within your reach.

IBS Eradication Step #2: Critical Analysis of Current Medical “Cures”

What Do Some Medical Doctors Say about the Cause and Cures of IBS? While some medical doctors concede that IBS is affected by diet, most do not test for food allergies. They allege that the true cause is unknown, and the best course of action is to numb symptoms with prescribed medication.

Is there a Second Opinion? Yes. Thankfully, some doctors realize the direct correlation between diet and IBS. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, says that “more than 50% of IBS patients were found sensitized to some food or inhalant.”

Why is there a discrepancy in opinion about IBS causes and cures? Michael Pollan, investigative journalist and author of the new book Food Rules explains that “there's a lot of money in the Western diet...The healthcare industry makes more money treating chronic diseases (which account for three quarters of the $2 trillion plus we spend each year on heath care in this country) than preventing them.” (Pollan, 2009, p. xiv) It is more profitable to prescribe medications to patients than to remove the cause of their illness.

It is important to think critically about our health. Once we see the sociopolitical factors that surround our healthcare system we can understand how to advocate for our own well-being. Stay tuned for IBS Eradication Step #3: Find Solutions that Work for You.

IBS Eradication Step #1: Understand the Cause

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? IBS is a continuum of chronic abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

How does IBS develop? Around 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Its primary role is to “ok” or “attack” a food we ingest. When our immune system doesn't like something we've ingested, it uses inflammation and excess mucus as ammunition. This inflammation leads to IBS, among other dietary disorders. The triggers of IBS are food allergies.

What are Food Allergies? An allergy is the immune systems response to a protein usually found in a food, such as peanuts, eggs, wheat or milk that it perceives as a foreign body. Most food allergies are acquired, not inherited. Some people develop sensitivities due to repeated exposure especially in large quantities, and others react to pesticides and herbicides combining with the natural chemicals in food. Whatever the cause, the result is the same- a compromised immune system and discomfort.

Once we understand what causes IBS can we begin to heal. Stay tuned for IBS Eradication Step #2: Critical Analysis of Current Medical “Cures.”

Why Medication Fails: A Closer Look at IBS Drugs

If you suffer from IBS or IBD, you have probably been introduced to a long and ever-growing list of medications. Unfortunately, drugs treat individual symptoms and not the cause. Additionally, many of the drugs have detrimental side effects.

6 types of drugs to treat IBS symptoms:

1. Bowel movement speed modifiers (Zelnorm, Lotronex, Calmactin)

2. Laxatives for constipation (MiraLax, Perdiem, Ex-Lax, Milk of Magnesia)

3. Antidiarrheal (Imodium, Lomotil)

4. Abdominal cramp pain relievers (Donnatal, Levsin, Levbid, NuLev, Bentyl, Pro-Banthine)

5. Antidepressants (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, Elavil)

6. Narcotic analgesics (Vicodin, Demerol, Xanax)

As you can see, none of these are an IBS “cure” because no such medical cure exists. You may feel relief temporarily, but this is because of a forced biochemical modification, not a permanent resolution. Once you stop using the medications, the symptoms will return. With over 20 million Americans diagnosed with IBS currently, it is time to address this disease with honesty and transparency. Many doctors and scientists agree - we must assess food allergies and digestion in order to transform our health once and for all.