symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

drwangenI rather like this study because it ties together two seemingly unrelated issues, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and erectile dysfunction (ED).

Although I’m a specialist in digestive problems, I frequently have patients who also have other problems. These range from headaches and sinusitis to eczema and joint pain, and everything in between. The common thread in all of these conditions is inflammation. And guess what?  The same things that trigger inflammation in the digestive tract also have the potential to trigger inflammation other parts of the body. Thus, one of the beautiful things about my job is that my patients frequently report improvement in non-digestive problems such as the ones mentioned. 

From Renal and Urology News:

In adjusted analyses, men with IBS had a nearly 2.6 times increased risk of ED compared with controls, researchers reported in Andrology (2013;1:793-798). The risk increased with increasing age and number of comorbidities.

Erectile dysfunction is also about inflammation. So it shouldn’t be too surprising to see that an association has been found between IBS and ED.

It’s not that one is causing the other, it’s that people who have one are more likely to have both. It also raises the question, if we can cure IBS, then can we cure ED?  I think it’s possible if, like with IBS, we focus on finding the cause of the inflammation.

Questions about IBS? Contact my office directly at or call us toll-free at 1.888.546.6283.


(image thanks to

Most people with IBS are suffering at least in part because of an allergic reaction to one or more foods. This often surprises people, who don’t believe that they have allergies. This is because they have friends whose allergy symptoms are different, or they think that food allergies result in hives, a rash, or some kind of medical emergency.

But even for those who have already had food allergy testing, chances are it wasn’t very helpful. This is because the majority of food allergy testing is only designed to measure allergies that produce skin rashes. The skin prick testing that is standard practice does demonstrate whether or not the patient will have a rash in reaction to exposure to the allergens used. However it doesn’t and can’t measure other types of immune system responses or immune system activities that involve certain types of antibodies.

People often have a tough time believing that they may have a food allergy because they’ve eaten the “offending” foods before, some every day, and have not suffered from consistently severe symptoms. Maybe they’ve had just a little diarrhea or constipation once in a while, until suddenly it gets worse or new symptoms develop. Symptoms of food allergies, including IBS symptoms, can show up at any age, from birth to old age. The challenge in discovering the food allergy is in getting the proper testing done and in getting the proper education about where the offending foods are hidden in your diet. Most clinics offer neither, even those that supposedly focus on allergies.

The immune system functions like a sentinel standing guard against foreign invaders. In the case of an allergy, the invaders are called allergens. The primary weapon that it uses against invaders is the production of antibodies. The antibodies cause reactions that result in the offending allergens being removed from the body. In many people, foods act as allergens rather than nutrition. This can result in the symptoms of IBS.