testing for IBS

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.
Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Reason #1

One major obstacle to figuring out which foods are problematic is that, even on an elimination diet, you may not have truly eliminated all of your allergenic foods.

Assumptions are often made about which foods are allergenic and which foods are not. These assumptions are often wrong. Even on an elimination diet you may still be eating something that will trigger your IBS, even if you are eating foods that you normally don’t eat.

In order to solve your IBS, you may need to stay away from entire food groups, not just one or two foods.

Food groups are much more difficult to avoid than you might think. One in particular that commonly causes problems for IBS sufferers is dairy. But dairy is not just milk.

Dairy includes cheese, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. It’s found in many baked goods such as muffins, breads, and cookies, as well as in many cream soups, some salad dressings, and milk chocolate. Coffee and lattes are another common source of dairy. Even margarine contains dairy. The list goes on and on.

Two key components of dairy are whey and casein, which many people cannot tolerate. These are used as additives in a great variety of foods, even those you wouldn’t consider to be dairy foods. Look at the labels on the packaged or processed foods you buy. Even non-dairy coffee creamer contains casein, for instance.

This example demonstrates how complicated it can be to avoid entire food groups in order to assess the dietary trigger of your symptoms. Many other food groups are just as complicated. If you remove only one part of a food group from your diet, you won’t really know if that group actually causes your symptoms. You need a great deal of information about the foods you eat and what they contain in order to understand which foods trigger your symptoms.

Reason #2

Another problem is that you may react to more than one food. In fact, most people with IBS are sensitive to more than one food or food group. You may suspect that your symptoms are caused by a certain food, but find that, even after you eliminate that food, your symptoms remain. This may lead you to mistakenly see the eliminated food as not part of the problem.
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Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.
Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has been conventionally defined not by what it is, but by what it is not, therefore successfully discovering its cause has been impossible, because the cause was thought to be unknown.

It’s really been nothing more than a guessing game, and you get to be the guinea pig. Fortunately that has now all changed.

Now we can define the cause of your IBS, and therefore treat it. IBS symptoms are almost always caused by either food allergies, bacterial imbalances, yeast, or parasites.

If you want to learn more about these topics and how they relate to IBS, then this website is for you. You may also refer to the book, The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution.

Two kinds of tests are recommended for nearly all IBS patients – food allergy testing, which is a blood test; and testing for bacteria, yeast, and parasites, which is done by stool testing.

Problems in any of these areas can alone cause IBS, but it is very common to have a combination of both a food allergy and a microbial issue.  There are other causes, of course.  But these tests capture the primary causes for the majority of patients and are therefore a great place to start.

These blood and stool tests provide an easy way to get a lot of information about the patient. These tests are available, reasonably straightforward, and affordable, especially when you consider the benefit of having better health for the rest of your life. There is no need to continue wondering, guessing what is wrong and blindly spending money trying to find something that will help you.

You can know what is causing your IBS.  And then you can do something that will end your IBS for good.

At the IBS Treatment Center we have physicians who are expert at treating IBS, and we use state-of-the-art testing to help us learn how best to treat you. You will be given a copy your test results, and extensive counseling on how to understand your results and successfully eliminate your IBS. We regularly work with patients around the U.S. and around the world.

Get in touch and start feeling better!

CONTACT THE IBS TREATMENT CENTER: Info@IBSTreatmentcenter.com or toll-free 1.888.546.6283.

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(img: commons.wikimedia.org/)
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Since 2005 the IBS Treatment Center has successfully treated thousands of patients of all ages, from infants to seniors. We understand the discomfort, frustration and embarrassment you have experienced, and we are here to help you.

The cause of IBS varies from person to person, which is what makes it so difficult for most doctors to treat. However, through proper testing you will be able to identify the exact cause or causes of your symptoms and live a life free of digestive problems.

There are several hundred potential causes of IBS, but most cases result from issues that fit into two major categories:

•Food Allergies and Intolerances
•Microbial Issues  – including infections, bacterial imbalances, yeast, and parasites

IBS has been conventionally defined not by what it is, but by what it is not, therefore successfully discovering its cause has been impossible, because the cause was thought to be unknown. It’s really been nothing more than a guessing game, and you get to be the guinea pig. Fortunately that has now all changed.

Now we can define the cause of your IBS, and therefore treat it. IBS symptoms are almost always caused by either food allergies, bacterial imbalances, yeast, or parasites. If you want to learn more about these topics and how they relate to IBS, then this website is for you. You may also refer to the book, The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution.
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Ideally, to create an optimal IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) diet, all you’d have to do is avoid a certain food or food group to discover whether it was triggering your IBS.
Unfortunately this is usually easier said than done.

It takes a great deal of time, persistence, and education to properly construct a diet that will adequately treat IBS.

Proper lab testing can help you avoid all of this.

The purpose of an elimination diet is to identify whether or not specific food groups trigger your IBS symptoms. Essentially, during an elimination diet you stop eating the foods you normally eat until your symptoms improve. If you feel better after you’ve eliminated a food or stopped eating altogether, then you might strongly suspect that your diet is involved. You may have gone on a fast or a cleansing diet, or simply avoided food for a day or two and discovered that your IBS was much better. Of course, eventually you have to eat, and the trick is figuring out exactly what you can eat.

If, when you reintroduce a food, your symptoms return, then it’s likely that the food or one of its ingredients is an IBS trigger for you. It’s sounds simple enough, but it can be a very slow process and very time consuming. And even after going through this process you may still not see a pattern or you may still be confused about which foods are causing your problems.

 

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(image thanks to steamboattoday.com)

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive problems, then it’s very possible that you have a microbial imbalance in your digestive tract.

We (at the IBS Treatment Center) are proud to be one of the few clinics in the country where you can now get DNA testing to measure the presence of the bacteria, yeast and parasites in your digestive tract, which we covered yesterday. Today we’re going to review the GI Function Panel.

The Comprehensive GI (gastrointestinal) Function Panel includes everything in the DNA Microbial Profile as well as several other tests that evaluate the overall function of the digestive tract. These tests include inflammatory markers, digestive markers, measurement of absorption, pH, occult blood, and several other tests. Each is described below.

Inflammatory Markers

Beneficial Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)

Beneficial SCFA come from dietary carbohydrates that have escaped digestion or absorption in the small intestine. They are also produced by bacteria in the large intestine via the fermentation of fiber. The production of SCFA in the intestine plays an important role in maintaining the intestinal lining. Beneficial SCFA include acetate, propionate, and butyrate. They affect the bacteria of the colon as well as the health of the colon and the entire body.

Lactoferrin
Lactoferrin is released in inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It can help to differentiate between IBS and these conditions, and to monitor improvement in inflammatory bowel diseases.

WBC (White Blood Cells)

White blood cells indicate inflammation in the digestive tract.

Mucus
Excess mucus indicates infection, inflammation, or injury of the lining of the digestive tract.

Digestive Markers

Elastase 1

Elastase 1 is a pancreatic enzyme that survives passage through the digestive tract. It is used to measure pancreatic insufficiency.

Triglycerides

Small amounts of triglycerides, are normal. Higher levels indicate incomplete fat digestion and possible insufficient pancreatic enzymes, insufficient bile, or hypochlorhydria.

Putrefactive Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)

These SCFA result from the bacterial fermentation of inadequately digested branch chain amino acids. High amounts of these SCFA (which are valerate, isovalerate, and isobutyrate) suggest the maldigestion of protein.

Vegetable Fibers
Fibrous residue of undigested vegetable matter suggests possible maldigestion.
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Because IBS has been conventionally defined not by what it is, but by what it is not, successfully discovering its cause has been impossible, because the cause was thought to be unknown. It’s really been nothing more than a guessing game, and you get to be the guinea pig. Fortunately that has now all changed.

Now we can define the cause of your IBS, and therefore treat it. IBS symptoms are almost always caused by either food allergies, bacterial imbalances, yeast, or parasites. If you want to learn more about these topics and how they relate to IBS, then this website is for you. You may also refer to the book, The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution.

Two kinds of tests are recommended for nearly all IBS patient– food allergy testing, which is a blood test; and testing for bacteria, yeast, and parasites, which is done by stool testing. Problems in any of these areas can alone cause IBS, but it is very common to have a combination of both a food allergy and a microbial issue.  There are other causes, of course.  But these tests capture the primary causes for the majority of patients and are therefore a great place to start.

These blood and stool tests provide an easy way to get a lot of information about the patient. These tests are available, reasonably straightforward, and affordable, especially when you consider the benefit of having better health for the rest of your life. There is no need to continue wondering, guessing what is wrong and blindly spending money trying to find something that will help you.

You can know what is causing your IBS and you can do something that will end your IBS for good.

For more information on testing for IBS, contact our office at info@IBSTreatmentCenter.com.

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Researchers used to think that most of our DNA was not actually doing much. Now they realize that this hugely complex, incredibly vast set of DNA information is actually doing very important work. 

If we learn to better understand evolution, we’ll understand that everything means something important. For example, our appendix is an important organ, not some meaningless appendage. And our gallbladder is very useful too. Yet when we don’t understand or appreciate an organ or even our DNA, then we assume that it is useless.

We know that just having a gene is often not enough to cause a disease.  Now we have a much better insight as to why – the rest of the DNA is controlling whether that gene is even being used and to what extent. 

Excerpt from NYTimes.com:

“In one of the Nature papers, researchers link the gene switches to a range of human diseases — multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease — and even to traits like height. In large studies over the past decade, scientists found that minor changes in human DNA sequences increase the risk that a person will get those diseases. But those changes were in the junk, now often referred to as the dark matter — they were not changes in genes — and their significance was not clear. The new analysis reveals that a great many of those changes alter gene switches and are highly significant.

“Most of the changes that affect disease don’t lie in the genes themselves; they lie in the switches,” said Michael Snyder, a Stanford University researcher for the project, called Encode, for Encyclopedia of DNA Elements.
The article says that this will be used to develop more drugs.  We hope it will be used to better understand how we can better interact with our environment so that we maintain the health of our DNA and allow it to work properly.”

Read the full article here.

Image thanks to lic.co.nz

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(image thanks to dietriffic.com)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or spastic colon is a bowel disorder characterized by diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and chronic abdominal pain. It is fairly common and makes up 20-50% of visits to gastroenterologists.

Although formal diagnosis depends on a very specific set of symptoms, the range of symptoms that occur in patients diagnosed with IBS is fairly wide.

The cause of IBS varies from person to person, which is what makes irritable bowel syndrome and its symptoms so difficult for most doctors to treat. However, through proper testing it is possible to identify the exact cause or causes of the symptoms and live a life free of digestive problems.

There are several hundred potential causes of IBS, but they can be broken down into two major categories:

#1 Food Allergies and Intolerances

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.

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The Standard Food Allergy Profile test takes the guesswork out of treating your IBS and saves you a great deal of time, effort, and discomfort. And if by chance your test happens to be negative, you can quickly move on to other potential causes of your problem without spending valuable time on an unsuccessful elimination diet and then wondering if you actually did it correctly.

Food allergy testing is a highly specialized procedure performed only by doctors trained in recognizing and treating non-anaphylactic food allergies, and only in laboratories especially equipped to handle the sophisticated testing required. In order to give you an accurate result, this test must be a blood test, and must include, IgE and IgG antibodies at minimum, and probably IgA antibodies in most cases. If it does not evaluate these antibodies, there is a strong possibility that the testing will miss your food allergy. (More information about food allergies and IgE, IgG and IgA antibodies.)

For you the procedure is neither complex nor difficult. The standard food allergen blood test measures reactions to nearly 100 common foods, including dairy, eggs, corn, soy, almonds, peanuts, wheat, seafood, and many others. You are not required to fast or to change your diet in any way prior to blood collection. In fact, it is recommended that you not do so. (However, steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as prednisone and corticosteroids may affect the results, so talk to your medical practitioner about these medications prior to testing.)
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All too often in medicine people have lab tests run and then never learn the outcome of those tests. It’s tempting to assume that no news is good news and therefore everything is normal, but we all know what can happen when you assume things.

You may be surprised to learn that it is quite common for patients to be unaware of positive lab results from tests run by their doctors. This isn’t usually the case with regard to procedures such as colonoscopies, endoscopies, and biopsies, but patients are more likely to be uninformed of the results of blood tests.

One example of this is anemia. Several times per year, while reviewing lab records that patients have brought with them, we will notice the presence of an anemia (iron deficiency) that had not been disclosed to the patient. Upon asking, “Did you know you were anemic?” or “How did you treat your anemia?” they will respond with disbelief, or “What anemia?”

Why does this happen? That is an excellent question. Maybe it got overlooked. Maybe it wasn’t seen as all that important. Neither answer is acceptable, but unfortunately it is not the standard of practice for all medical professionals to review all lab work with patients.

It is critical that you always get a copy of your lab work. If you aren’t offered a copy, then ask for one. If the clinic is reluctant to give you a copy, then insist on it. You have a legal right to your lab work, and you are the sole repository of your complete medical history. There is no central location where all lab results are kept. If you switch doctors, move, or for some reason need your old lab results, then you are at the mercy of your previous clinic to provide them.

Doctors move on, clinics close, and records are lost. And sometimes, not infrequently, clinics fail to provide medical records to new doctors upon request. It is not a priority, and they aren’t being paid to provide that service.

Your medical records are a key component of your health history. If you don’t understand the results, then ask. Even if you don’t understand them, you should make the effort to keep copies of you results.

Some patients take this a step further. If you want to get even more value out of your lab results, you can create tables and look for trends that occur over time. This is something that your doctor probably won’t be privy to and is something that only you are likely to notice. For example, you may see the development of an impending anemia as your results begin to drift out toward the edge of the normal range. Or you may notice that your cholesterol is creeping in the wrong direction.

At the IBS Treatment Center we not only promise that you will get a copy of your lab results, we review all of those results with you at your follow-up appointment. We also encourage you to ask questions about your lab work. A major factor in our success is communication, especially ensuring that our patients understand their test results and WHAT THEY MEAN. We are also aware that many people are frustrated at always getting negative test results.

But even if all of the lab work that we run is normal (which is uncommon), we will still know what to do next.