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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

20% of North Americans suffer from IBS, with twice as many women than men diagnosed each year.

Individuals who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience a range of symptoms, from mild annoyance to severe, debilitating distress. Symptoms can range from chronic, mild dysregulation of gut motility to episodes of diarrhea or constipation that incapacitate the patient and cause loss of time at work, withdrawal from family activities, and even hospitalization. Most people with IBS experience times when the signs and symptoms are worse and times when they improve or even disappear completely.

Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by:

  • Food. The role of food allergy or intolerance in IBS isn't fully understood. A true food allergy rarely causes IBS. But many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages, including wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk and carbonated drinks.

  • Stress. Most people with IBS experience worse or more frequent signs and symptoms during periods of increased stress. But while stress may aggravate symptoms, it doesn't cause them.

  • Hormones. Women are twice as likely to have IBS, which might indicate that hormonal changes play a role. Many women find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods.

Lifestyle Recommendations:

• Perform food sensitivity and gut dysbiosis testing along with testing for Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO). • Keep a food journal and track response and symptoms. • Avoid antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as much as possible. • Prioritize relaxation and acquiring help to deal with stress, anxiety and depression through psychological therapies and support; also consider herbs and nutrients that help modify the stress response in order to help calm the body. • Exercise at least 3 days per week, mild to moderate activity. • Women should have hormone panel performed to rule out or determine hormonally-driven IBS.

Dietary Recommendations:

• Avoid allergenic or intolerant foods; for foods to which there is a mild intolerance rotate every fourth day; avoid gluten and dairy. • Avoid coffee, alcohol, diet drinks, artificial sweeteners and spicy foods. • Avoid fermentable foodstuffs by following a low FODMAPs diet (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols). • Salads and raw vegetables may be difficult to tolerate. To increase chances of success with eating them, eat one type of vegetable at a time with a meal rather than a variety, and choose soluble ones over insoluble ones.

Can Neurofeedback Help My IBS?

Research in neuroscience has revealed that the intestinal tract and the brain are intimately related in terms of hormonal activity and autonomic nervous system connections. This is referred to as the "Gut-Brain Connection." Individuals with IBS frequently present with evidence of abnormal high frequency brain wave activity in the frontal lobes where emotional regulation occurs. These unbalanced brain waves can be altered with Neurofeedback training to correct the abnormal activity and either partially or completely relieve the symptoms of IBS.

IBS and Chiropractic :

Spinal manipulation can help patients with IBS, since chiropractic care is able to restore body balance and decrease stress. The nerves that affect the intestinal tract can be “balanced” by chiropractic adjustments.   Chiropractors may also recommend dietary changes. Some of these dietary modifications might include avoiding certain foods ,especially allergens and gas-producing foods, increasing fiber intake, and consuming probiotics and digestive enzymes.

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