what causes irritable bowel syndrome?

Causes of IBS: Candida

(photo: commons.wikimedia)
(photo: commons.wikimedia)

One of the more common causes of digestive problems is Candida, or yeast.

Although there are other types of yeast, Candida is the word usually used to describe a problem with yeast. Although many people think of yeast infections as a female problem, yeast is an organism that can colonize any orifice.

In the mouth it is known as thrush. In the digestive tract it is often called a yeast overgrowth, or simply candida. These do not have to occur together. However, they are essentially the same problem.

What are the symptoms of Candida?

Yeast can cause a large number of symptoms, including all of those of irritable bowel syndrome – gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

How do you get Candida?

Candida are a normal part of the environment. However, a problem occurs when they get out of balance with the normal good bacteria found in your digestive tract. Then they can develop into an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract and cause problems there as well as elsewhere in your body.

Why does this happen?

One of the most common things that cause yeast to get out of control is the use of antibiotics. There are other causes too, but antibiotics provide an excellent case study. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but they do not kill Candida or yeast. Only antifungals kill yeast.

Therefore taking antibiotics kills off bacteria that are in direct competition with yeast for territory in your digestive tract. This is similar to any other battlefield. Everyone wants territory.

In this scenario yeast can flourish, potentially creating an environment where there is more yeast than is desirable.

What other symptoms can Candida cause? (more…)

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(img thanks to commons.wikimedia.org)
(img thanks to commons.wikimedia.org)

Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome with a Food Elimination Diet Followed by Food Challenge and Probiotics


“Conclusion: These data demonstrate that identifying and appropriately addressing food sensitivity in IBS patients not previously responding to standard therapy results in a sustained clinical response and impacts on overall well being and quality of life in this challenging entity.”

-Drisko et. al. 2006

Most people who suffer from IBS are suffering at least in part because of an allergic reaction to one or more foods.

And if you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, “Not me, I don’t have a food allergy.” Many often think they have a pretty good understanding of food allergies. You may know someone who has one and think, “My problem isn’t like theirs.”

Or perhaps you think that food allergies normally result in hives, a rash, or some kind of medical emergency. But even if you’ve already had food allergy testing, chances are it wasn’t very helpful. (For more information on this topic, see our page about the Standard Food Allergy Profile.)

You might have a tough time believing that you may have a food allergy because you’ve eaten the “offending” foods before, some every day, and have not suffered from consistently severe symptoms. Maybe you’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 like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation, can show up at any age, from birth to old age.

The challenge in discovering your 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 IBS Treatment Center specializes in properly diagnosing food allergies and in giving you the information necessary to make the dietary changes needed to cure your IBS. This expertise is one of the reasons we have a high success rate for curing IBS. CONTACT US to get started feeling better.

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Image via commons.wikimedia

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Most people who suffer from IBS are suffering at least in part because of an allergic reaction to one or more foods.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking, “Not me, I don’t have a food allergy.”

This is because most people think they have a pretty good understanding of food allergies. You may know someone who has one and think, “My problem isn’t like theirs.” Or you may think that food allergies normally result in hives, a rash, or some kind of medical emergency.

But even if you’ve already had food allergy testing, chances are it wasn’t very helpful.

You might have a tough time believing that you may have a food allergy because you’ve eaten the “offending” foods before, some every day, and have not suffered from consistently severe symptoms. Maybe you’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 like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation), can show up at any age, from birth to old age. The challenge in discovering your 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 IBS Treatment Center specializes in properly diagnosing food allergies and in giving you the information necessary to make the dietary changes needed to cure your IBS. This expertise is one of the reasons we have a high success rate for curing IBS.

If you have questions or would like more information, contact our office directly at 1.888.546.6283 or Info@IBSTreatmentCenter.com. We regularly work with patients from around the U.S. and around the world.

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Our intestines are a rich and thriving ecosystem, when we are healthy.

The massive surface of our intestines (about the same as a tennis court) provides everything needed for life – space, moisture, and nutrients. Given the ubiquity of anti-bacterial products in our society, many people are surprised to learn that they have about 10 trillion bacteria living in their intestines. But not only do we have bacteria lining our digestive tract, we desperately need them.

There are basically three types of micro-organisms living in our intestines:

  1. Good bacteria;
  2. Bad bacteria/microorganisms; and
  3. Disease organisms.

The good bacteria include species and strains that we evolved with, like acidopholus and bifidobacterium. These are an essential part of our digestive systems and we would not survive without them. They help us to digest food by producing enzymes, manufacture some of the essential nutrients that we need to live, assist in the development of our immune system, and prevent infection by occupying the space in the intestines that unwelcome organisms would thrive in, if they could.
(more…)

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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.
(more…)

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4 Common IBS Misconceptions

ibs misconceptions

Here are the 4 most common misconceptions about IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

#1 – What is IBS?

The biggest misconception is that IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) defines a specific medical condition. IBS is, by definition, just a group of symptoms affecting the digestive tract that haven’t been explained. Unlike cancer, a stroke, or the flu, IBS is more of a starting point than a diagnosis, because it doesn’t provide any new information.

Once a person has the symptoms it is necessary to do additional testing to identify the cause of those symptoms – what you might call an actual diagnosis. Once you have an actual diagnosis, then you can treat whatever it is that causes the symptoms and usually stop them.

#2 – What Causes IBS?

A second common misconception is that IBS is only caused by one thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The digestive tract is very complicated, but can only display a limited range of symptoms. There are many things that can cause constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, etc. Any individual might have one or more of the causes at any one time.

There is a wide range of causes of IBS and many patients have more than one cause, sometimes several causes, at the same time. For example, many patients have an allergy to a food, which causes them to have IBS symptoms. But not all IBS patients have food allergies. Many patients have bacterial or microbial issues, for example, not enough of the needed digestive bacteria are living in their digestive tract. But not all IBS patients have bacterial issues either. Some patients have food allergies, bacterial/microbial issues, and other factors. To correctly diagnose the cause of IBS symptoms it is necessary to test for a range of potential causes. If you don’t treat all of the conditions you have, your IBS probably won’t be resolved.

#3 – How to Treat IBS

The third misconception is that there is a single treatment for IBS. This misunderstanding goes along with the previous misconception- that there is only one cause. The reason that there isn’t a single treatment for IBS is that there isn’t a single cause. If all IBS were caused by dairy allergies, treatment would be simple – don’t eat dairy products. But because there are many, sometimes overlapping causes, there will never be a single simple treatment for IBS symptoms.

#4 – Stress & IBS

Lastly, but perhaps the most common misconception is that IBS is caused by stress. If this were true the world would be full of IBS patients. We see patients all the time that have been told by their doctor that stress is the problem, but once we identify the cause and treat it, the symptoms are resolved. What is even more interesting is that many patients report that while they had IBS symptoms they also had a heightened sense of anxiety, but that it went away when they treated their condition.

That is not to say that stress can’t make IBS worse. Stress can affect the immune system and that can impact IBS symptoms. But stress is usually not the underlying cause of the symptoms.

The IBS specialists at our clinic will determine the cause of your IBS and focus treatment on the underlying issue so you can be IBS-free for life. Contact the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle or Santa Monica today – we’ll help you take back control of your life.

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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.

(more…)