IBS - 5 Causes That Your Doctor May Overlook | Chris Kresser
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5 Causes of IBS Your Doctor May Not Be Looking For

by Chris Kresser

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This bread could cause digestive problems for someone with a gluten sensitivity, which is one of several causes of IBS.
Gluten sensitivity and other food intolerances are common causes of IBS.

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated in November 2018 to reflect the latest research.

Do you have gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and stool issues? Up to 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that adversely affects daily life. Instead of digging deeper to identify the underlying cause(s), conventional medicine typically offers medications to suppress gut symptoms. Read on to learn about five lesser-known causes of IBS that you may not be looking for.

Irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t have to be a lifelong sentence. Learn about five underlying causes of IBS you might not be looking for to help heal the gut from the inside out.

How Doctors Diagnose IBS

IBS is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder. Yet it’s poorly understood—not only by those who suffer from it but also by many clinicians who try to treat it. (1) Symptoms of IBS include gas, bloating, and abdominal pain, accompanied predominantly by constipation, diarrhea, or both. Those afflicted report lower quality of life and activity levels and call in sick twice as often as the general population. (2) Depression and anxiety often accompany IBS, most likely through the gut–brain axis connection between the enteric nervous system of the GI tract and the central nervous system.

Diagnosing IBS isn’t straightforward. If you’re experiencing the above symptoms but you don’t have a more definable GI issue like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or GERD, then IBS might fit the bill.

Over the years, diagnostic criteria have evolved, but IBS is now generally defined as recurrent abdominal pain at least three days per month in the previous three months, associated with two or more of the following: (3)

  • Improvement with defecation
  • Onset associated with change in stool frequency
  • Onset associated with change in stool consistency
Finding the root cause of IBS isn’t always an easy or quick road. But there is hope for those suffering. I believe one of the greatest allies someone hoping to heal from it or any other chronic condition can have in their corner is a health coach. Coaches work alongside Functional Medicine practitioners to help people finally heal. If you’re passionate about helping others find health and happiness, a career in health coaching may be the right fit for you. Find out how to become a health coach.

IBS Medications Aim to Tame, Not to Treat

Not that long ago, IBS was dismissed as a psychosomatic disorder that was “all in your head.” Fortunately, it is now recognized as a legitimate gastrointestinal disorder, although it’s often poorly managed. Current treatments focus on alleviating the symptoms of IBS instead of actually fixing the underlying problems—but that’s a common theme in conventional treatment of modern chronic diseases. Medications prescribed for IBS include:

  • Antidiarrheals
  • Anticholinergic or antispasmodic drugs
  • Laxatives
  • SSRIs
  • 5-HT3 antagonists
  • Mast cell stabilizers (also used to treat asthma)

But those who use these IBS medications report low satisfaction, with little relief from the condition, and many of these drugs induce side effects that are similar to IBS symptoms themselves! (4, 5)

Treating gastrointestinal symptoms without addressing the underlying gut issues is akin to repeatedly placing buckets underneath water dripping from the ceiling. The floor below may stay dry, but that won’t fix the hole in the roof. Over time, the leaky roof could lead to additional problems, like mold and structural instability.

5 Causes of IBS You May Not Have Considered

In order to properly treat IBS, you’ll need to do some investigating to determine the cause. This article will summarize five causes of IBS that you may not be looking for—but should be.

1. Gut Dysbiosis

Ever-growing research links the gut microbiome to bone health, heart health, autoimmune disease, thyroid health, and more. It should be no surprise, then, that IBS is directly related to gut dysbiosis, a change in the composition of the gut bacteria. Up to 83 percent of IBS patients have abnormal fecal biomarkers, and up to 73 percent have intestinal dysbiosis. (6) Specifically, those with IBS tend to have decreased levels of “good” bacteria, such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, and increased levels of harmful strains such as E. coli and Clostridia. (78) An increased ratio of Firmicutes-to-Bacteroidetes (two major classes of bacteria) is also common. (9)

Success in treating IBS with prebiotics and probiotics is further evidence that gut dysbiosis plays a role in IBS. A recent article reviewed 24 randomized placebo-controlled probiotic trials, the majority of which showed benefits of treatment. (10) Beneficial probiotic strains included B. animalis, L. rhamnosus GG, B. infantis, B. longum, and L. acidophilus. (11, 12, 13) Prebiotics, which act as food for the microbiota, can also help establish beneficial bacterial. (14, 15, 16)

Another strategy that can correct gut dysbiosis is a low-FODMAP diet, which eliminates foods containing certain carbohydrates that feed intestinal bacteria. (1718, 19) This method may help get the beneficial-to-harmful bacteria ratio back under control, but it works best as a short-term solution that is then followed by prebiotic/probiotic treatment. (20, 21, 22)


Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a special subset of gut dysbiosis in which the small intestines harbor an abnormal number of bacteria. Compared to the colon, the small intestine should have a bacterial concentration that is considerably lower. Bacterial overload in the small intestine can interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption.

SIBO may be present in up to 80 percent of IBS patients, although a recent meta-analysis reported a huge range of estimates (between 4 and 78 percent) across 50 studies. (23) Part of the reason for the discrepancies is non-uniform IBS diagnosis, and the other part may be variations in SIBO diagnosis. I prefer the methane breath test over jejunal aspirate and culture, the conventional testing approach.

Antibiotics that are used to treat SIBO, like rifaximin, can also be effective for treating IBS, further evidence that SIBO may be underlying some cases of IBS. (24, 25) Or, SIBO may follow IBS incidence, especially if a person with IBS begins taking PPIs (acid-blocking medications) for indigestion. One of the many dangers of PPIs is the development of SIBO. (26, 27)

3. Gut Permeability

The GI tract is lined with a single layer of tightly packed epithelial cells designed to keep pathogens and other unwanted species out of the bloodstream. If the barriers between cells become permeable, undigested protein molecules and bacterial toxins can pass through and trigger immune reactions and inflammation.

Leaky gut and associated low-grade immune activation affect between 12 and 50 percent of people suffering from IBS. (2829, 30) Low levels of E-cadherin, a protein involved in regulating gut permeability, have been reported in IBS sufferers who experience diarrhea and/or constipation. (31)

Supplements that can help reestablish the intestinal barrier include:

  • L-glutamine
  • MSM and quercetin
  • N-acetyl glucosamine
  • Mucin
  • DGL slippery elm
  • Marshmallow
  • Chamomile
  • Cat’s claw

GI-Revive contains several of these in an effective blend. Supplementing with probiotics can also help repair gut permeability. (33)

4. Gut Infection

Gut infections are another lesser-known cause of IBS. Many studies have confirmed a link between a single episode of bacterial gastroenteritis and future development of IBS. (34, 35, 36) Parasites such as B. hominis, Giardia spp., E. histolyticaDientamoeba fragilis, and Trichinella spp. have also been correlated with progression of IBS, although causation has not yet been confirmed. (37, 38, 39)

Modern lifestyle has compromised the gut’s ability to resist infections from pathogenic bacteria and parasites. (High levels of stress, for instance, combined with factors such as the Standard American Diet, can easily lower our immunity.) Gut permeability, gut dysbiosis, and high stomach pH from chronic PPI use create more opportunities for pathogens to overwhelm or bypass the gut’s immune defenses.

5. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Other Food Intolerances

The medical field once mocked non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), but the condition is slowly gaining acceptance even in conventional medicine. (40) Many of the symptoms—gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and changes in stool patterns—are indistinguishable from IBS, so NCGS can be difficult to identify. Brain fog and fatigue following gluten consumption are also very common.

In IBS patients, I see a number of other food intolerances, such as:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Seafood
  • Yeast
  • Soy

A large review of over 73 studies “confirmed that food allergy and intolerance should be considered as an underlying pathology for IBS.” (41) But bear in mind that food intolerances themselves are often symptoms of deeper causes like SIBO, gut infections, and/or gut permeability.

The cheapest tool to determine food intolerances is an elimination diet, which I outline in depth in my book The Paleo Cure.

What’s Your Experience with IBS?

IBS can be an unpredictable and even debilitating condition. Finding the root cause is not always an easy or quick road, but neither is a lifetime of symptom-suppressing medications with additional side effects.

In my practice, I have seen patients who have suffered from this condition for 20 years recover after we identify and address the underlying causes of IBS outlined above and fix their diets.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you discovered the cause of your IBS? Have you been able to stop your medications by implementing any of these strategies? Let me know in the comments!


Join the conversation

  1. I have IBS-D and C, but mostly D and I never know when it’s going to hit me after I eat. Traveling, dining out, even at work is horrible for me because it’s sometimes hard to make it to the bathroom in time. It’s embarrassing to say the least. I can actually feel it coming on with the sharp rolling stomach pains and it builds to where I have to go to the bathroom instantaneously. I think I’ve had IBS at least since I had my gallbladder removed. I don’t recall having IBS before then and could pretty much eat whatever I wanted. I’ve had the stool tests done for Crohn’s and Colitis and both came back negative. I’m only just now 47, but had three polyps removed on a colonoscopy of which one was pre-cancerous. I was recently diagnosed with sub clinical Hypothyroidism and take Levothyroxine (only 100 mcg so not that high of a dosage really). This doctor finally recommended me to try a Low FODMAP diet for my IBS and it worked. I also gave up Gluten and Soy for a bit and not only did I feel better, but I also started losing weight. But doing a Low FODMAP diet and giving up Gluten/Soy can be hard to do and I have a hard time sticking to it even though I feel better and don’t have flare ups. I don’t have the depression (only occasionally as most people do without IBS), but I do have anxiety, can be high strung by nature, and lately have been experiencing a lot of memory fog. I wish there was a miracle pill I could take for IBS. I’m more concerned with my IBS than I am with my Hypothyroidism and I wouldn’t wish IBS on my worst enemy. I’m back off of vacation and am getting ready to go back on a Gluten Free/Soy Free diet. Invest in an Instant Pot for the ones of you us who don’t like to cook. It’s been so instrumental for me.

    • Have you been checked for SIBO and SIFO by an Integrative Medicine GI MD or regular GI MD? Also, have your stools checked too by a lab for the above, parasites and candida. You may have improper balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines.
      Eat organic non GMO foods as the GMO foods have round up weed killer in them. This disrupts the gut micro biome…seriously.
      Get to a FM MD for a complete blood, stool and urine workup. OAT test is so important to have. Hope this helps.

  2. I have had IBS and Crohn’s diseases for most of my adult life. I grew up in a 250 year old house with hard wood floors and no insulation. My IBS and Crohn’s did not start until I moved to a newer house with wall to wall carpeting and an attic full of fiberglass. It took me 25 years to figure out that the cause of my IBS was toxins in the air. Two years ago I started removing all of the carpeting and fiberglass from my current house. I also replaced all of my cloth furniture. All of my symptoms went away several months after improving the air quality in my home. It has been over a year now without any signs of IBS or Crohn’s. I am convinced that Man Made Mineral Fibers in the air were the cause of my health problems. People always look at what they eat but rarely consider the air they breath.

  3. I’m convinced that preservatives in wheat products are major players in IBS flair ups for some people. I eat basic salted tortillas chips consisting of 3 ingredients and homemade bread without any flair ups. If however I eat processed bread or flour tortillas the IBS appears within 2 days.

  4. Hit ctrl+F and type in ‘anxiety’ and look in the comments section. I guess most answers for IBS can be found there. Even my own gf has IBS, but also, before it developed, she had a very bad depression + anxiety. She still has. But when she relaxes more, gets out of the burned-up state, her symptoms rapidly start getting better. Problem is she never keeps balance in her mental health. If she did, I’m sure she could recover completely…

    • IBS is caused also by a disruption of the gut flora…please have compassion for those who suffer with anxiety and depression due to the above. I have suffered since high school and earlier with constipation and severe allergies and now autoimmune disease, from a leaky gut and food allergies. Its a nightmare now having fungus lining the gut and stomach because my doctor’s never listened to my symptoms…now its everywhere. I was given numerous broad spectrum antibiotics and never told to take probiotics. Our foods have them in them also glyphosates. Stay away from GMO’s, pesticides, and wheat. The main food allergens and having a leaky gut also over time lead to autoimmune disease. Thank you for understanding.

  5. Paleo diet making IBS worse?! Could it have triggered a FODMAP intolerance? I recently went on a prescribed hypoglycemic diet when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This doctor believes hypoglycemia can contribute to symptoms of fibromyalgia. My diet was really pretty clean before. Almost paleo, but with addition of rice and properly prepared oats. As part of the new diet, I was told to cut out bananas and sweet potatoes (which seem to benefit my digestion). I am almost two months in to this new way of eating, and while I don’t feel deprived and have a little more energy, I have no relief of pain (which I wasn’t counting on anyway), and have had horrible bloating. Not just from the increased amount of gassy vegetables — but now it seems like everything I eat makes me bloated and very uncomfortable. I hear how all of these diets make most everyone feel so great and I am feeling horrible. I will add that I am eating sweet potatoes again, as they feel soothing to my stomach. Also, I got tested for SIBO recently and while I haven’t met with my naturopath yet, she sent the results which seem to indicate hydrogen-dominant SIBO. Do you have any info on hydrogen-dominant? I only see resources on here for methane-dominant.

  6. I was diagnosed with IBS in 2001. Since then I was diagnosed with celiac as well. When I first cut out gluten I went for almost two years without any problems. But in 2014 the bathroom issues started again. I have diareah most days. I never know when it will hit. I’m mainly home bound. I go out very little. When I do go out I never eat before I leave. Which means some days I don’t eat all day. My main outing is church. My anxiety gets so bad before I go I have to take Xanax before leaving to calm me down. Because I have had many embarrassing accidents. My IBS is literally ruining my life. I now am trying to fix myself after trying every medication you can think of. I’m on the low fodmap diet. I never cheat. I don’t eat ANYTHING with gluten. I never eat fast food or sodas. I never go to restaurants. I don’t eat dairy. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. I have 1,000-1200 calories a day. Crazy thing is. I’m not losing weight. I’m just so tired of it all.

    • Do you eat organic only? It is becoming more and more obvious that gluten containing products all have been grown with glyphosate aka roundup. If you don’t eat organic, there is no point to what you are doing. Also look for a good wide spectrum probiotics supplement or eat a lot of different fermented foods and maybe bone broth. It has to do with the wrong balance of bacteria in your gut but also can have an emotional component. Stress management should be at the top of your agenda.. There is no one size fits all unfortunately. You have to try different natural modalities. If possible, grow your own food and only use organic soil base. They say that the soil today has lost most of its nutrient content… so it’s up to us to figure a way to better get those natural antibiotics and anti inflammatory compounds. Diarrhea can also be caused by medications. Good luck with that!

      • No such thing as organic anymore.

        There’s 84,000 different untested chemicals in our environment.

        It’s projected that in 31 years, we’ll have fishless oceans.

        All the soil, air, and water is connected. The ecosystems are all connected.

    • Have you had a stool test to determine if you have a bacterial overgrowth? This is where I would start. Go to the Functional Medicine website to look for a doctor, so that they can order the stool test. A GI doctor can do a breath hydrogen test to also determine if you’re a methane or hydrogen gas producer.

    • Also perhaps you’re not making enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach due to nutritional deficiencies, especially b vitamins. When the gut flora is messed up your gut won’t make b vitamins then the stomach won’t produce HCL acid to break down proteins, and then bacteria enters the stomach and isn’t broken down either and contributes to diarrhea. You need to get a stool test to determine all of these things. And don’t forget the breath hydrogen test. You have to be referred to a GI doctor for this test.

    • Janet – you just described my life and symptoms. I have the same issues and feel exactly the same way you do. I couldn’t have said it better! It is downright depressing.

      • Please get checked for SIBO, (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). You need your stools checked for fat malabsorption and dysbiosis. Also, you will need to go onto a Biphasic diet. If you have SIBO, I am saving you many years of suffering, like I have been through. Find yourself a Functional Medicine MD through the institute for Functional Medicine in your area. I was misdiagnosed and its a very sad story. I also have SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth).
        The foods we have eaten have glyphosates (round up in them) and this breaks down the gut micro biome that keeps the bacteria in the digestive tract in balance. Eat on non GMO (genetically modified organisms) organic foods. Look for the USDA organic label on products.
        Hope this information has been helpful.

  7. Interesting article,have been dealing with ibs since 1993.Diet and exercise have helped me in controlling pain, nausea and anxiety.High fat,low carb,no sugar diet with,cannabis oil,mustard oil and coconut oil.I use olive oil for cannabis extraction

  8. Hyperthyroidism can also cause IBS….. I had many other symptoms like Graves disease. I am on medication at the moment but is still suffering with anxiety.

    • You more than likely have SIBO and need a GI doctor to do a breath hydrogen test on you. They will need to encourage the good bacteria and get rid of the bad bacteria.
      If you’ve ever taken any antibiotics then this would explain why…especially broad spectrum antibiotics.

    • Perhaps doing the Autoimmune Paleo Diet would help to calm your anxiety…making Bone Broths and eating fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut, buttermilk or probiotic yogurt would help to calm the anxiety.
      Look into Sarah Ballantyne’s cookbooks and her Autoimmune Paleo Approach Book it explains autoimmune disease and you have autoimmune disease. You can also got to Paleomom.com and ask for her help as well…she ‘s very well educated on autoimmune disease! Good luck to you! You can reverse autoimmune disease and get off of the toxic drugs. You can also look up Dr. Amy Myer’s…The Thyroid connection Autoimmune doctor, who’s written a book called the Thyroid connection…she’s brilliant! She can help you to turn things around and to get off of the drugs by eating a more healthy diet that doesn’t trigger the immune system.

      • Ann — most of those Paleo ideas would be disastrous for anyone with histamine intolerance, especially bone broth, yogurt, buttermilk and possibly sauerkraut.

  9. Hi Chris,
    I totally believe in your article! Unfortunately in the U.K. The doctors are not very good at dealing with IBS Even professors at hospitals just want you to try hypnotherapy and eat rice crispies and white pasta. I’ve struggled with chron bloating, constipation since i was 27 it really got worse after I had a bad case of food poisoning in South Africa. I never did anything when I got back like taking antibiotics and probiotics. I’ve still never really took many probiotics but have started now on Biokult. I have never had my stools tested would this be a good idea? I also have bad skin psoriasis and I itch when consuming medium to large amounts of sugar I am really struggling to keep a normal life depression certainly is there and I’ve had a tough 5 years since divorcing and a major illness to my ex before we split.


    • John you should get tested for SIBO with a breath test, that will let you know if you have bad bacteria. I’ve also read alkaline water actually cures IBS so i recommend giving that a read too. Good luck and never give up!

  10. Interesting article. Curious to hear what you think about the new wave of microbiome sequencing in relation to IBS, for example with companies like uBiome, as well as personalized probiotics with companies like Blaise?

  11. IBS-C used to make me depressed. Before I knew how to treat it, the nausea, lethargy and brain fog made everyday harder. However, I do three things that significantly reduce my symptoms and if my stress levels are average (very busy lifestyle right now) they are obsolete.
    1) I let myself sleep in whenever I feel a little icky and make an effort to get a good 7-8 hours a night.
    2) I grow homemade probiotics. These have changed my life! I ordered a labeless $5 packet of cube-like bacteria from Ebay and keep them in a jar in my kitchen. I feed them sugar water every three days like a pet and drink the water after the three days. They haven’t died (actually have grown) and the benefits are amazing. I finally felt really healthy for the first time since I was a child.
    I can give someone instructions if they need them.
    3) Avoiding certain foods. The fodmap isn’t what I’m following, I just simply learned what upsets my stomach. Any artificial sweeteners are the worst. I eat very low amounts of anything sweet. I also eat very small amounts of dairy, rice/potatoes and gluten products.

    If you’re feeling sick, what worked for me is probiotics, sleep and eating 80% plants. Now that I feel better, I eat some processed crap occasionally but if I feel under the weather, I stick to almost all plants in soups, juices and other simple recipes.

  12. can you help me? For 2.5 years, have pain in upper left stomach area, just under left rib. When I sleep, it wakes me up. I have to stand and eat something tomake it go away. Sometimes pain wakes me up every hour or so. Found that peaches and carbs work best. If I eat a big meal of rice before I go to sleep, pain goes away for several hours. But always starts around 3 to 5 in morning. Hurts also in left pubic area under stomach sometimes. Gave me so many pain medications and stuff like sim balta. Couple months ago, I decided to stop everything. Even marijuana. Started acupuncture. Pain seems to be reducing but is not gone. Why would eating help me sleep? Why carbs? My medicine now is to eat rice before I sleep. But why is it opposite of what I have been told? I am deaf blind and had cancer when I was 2. Had two fat grafting surgeries to fill right face. Doctors ran every test on GI and say nothing wrong. Why? I also now take advil pm to help me sleep. It used to happen always when I sit. Vut that has seemmed to die away. Only hen I sleep for the most part. What drives me crazy is sleep depravation. Standing makes it go away after ten to thirty minutes. Empty stomach makes it worse than if I eat something before I sleep. Has ruined so many things for me. Need help!

    • Please go onto the http://www.functionalmedicine.com website and look for an Functional Medicine practitioner that can run some tests on you. This is where you should start….perhaps you can make or purchase some nice bone broth, either chicken or beef. It is very calming to the digestive tract. Stay away from over the counter drugs and products…they will only antagonize things. You have to go back to the basics….like if you were an infant…you have to baby your digestive tract. Try to relax and have faith in knowing you will be ok…stress just causes more digestive issues….get a massage or start meditating on God’s word, the Bible. Hope this information can help you on your journey to recovering your health.

      • I have read all of your posts and learned a lot. I am a mom to a very sick 14 yo boy. His symptoms started very suddenly in November of 2015….vomiting and diarrhea. I thought it was a stomach virus. 2 weeks later he still had it so took him to Pediatrician. They did a stool test and he was found positive for H Pylori, put on antibiotics and Omeprazole and referred to Ped. Gastro. By mid December he had lost about 25 lbs!! Jan 2016, he was scoped by the Gastro and said negative for H. Pylori and there were no other concerns except she said he had Gastritis and that he appeared to have bruising inside his intestines she thought from all the vomiting. Told to stay on Omeprazole, but over the next few months symptoms crept back. By April or so of 2016 symptoms slowly started to creep back until they were full blown again by October of 2016. Daily nausea, diarrhea, vomitting, missing school, sports, everything! I called my Adult Gastro and begged him to see my son. Gastro scoped and had him do a timed digestion test. Negative for everything including H Pylori. Gastro Rx’d a round of Xifaxin and told us he likely had IBSD. He was SO MUCH BETTER after taking 14 days of this antibiotic! Really after 4 days it was a miracle. Here we are AGAIN, a few months later, Feb 2017 and slowly the symptoms are creeping back about twice a week. He never feels well and wants to nap a lot. Well today he vomited as he got to school and I had to go pick him up!! I am at a loss. I will share with you that I have 3 kids and he is my middle and has always been sick with something. Ive always said he has a poor immune system. He gets every cold, every strep that goes around. He had strep 6 times in 1 year!! My husband, my self and the other 2 kids are really never sick! I am in Arkansas, but will search the link to try to find a FM Doctor we can see. I also wanted to note that we eat healthy. No fast foods. What we cook though he NEVER wants to eat. He refuses vegetables so I give him fruits instead. He will eat baked potatoes and meat but it sounds like on these posts that white potatoes are really bad. Please help!! He has lost friends because he never feels like doing anything. Its concerning too that he hasnt gained back but 4 lbs of the 25 he lost in 2015, but has grown MUCH taller so he just looks so frail and sick.

        • Start reading up on wormwood and SIBO. Look for reliable sources and find hopefully direction. Look for the NIH study that says it rivals Xifaxin! It’s even been approved by FDA for Chron’s as well. It was very effective at getting rid of SIBO and Candida for me. It has incredible newly found actions. In 12/2016 & 1/2017 clinical publications revealed actions of helping type 1 diabetics to begin reproduction of insulin…THAT is a huge breakthrough. I’m following all the intense research coming out on this herb, Artemisin aka Wormwood. I wish you and your son very well!

  13. I have had IBS-C alternating with IBS-D since 2014- I started to have IBS symptoms with my second pregnancy. I went from being perfectly healthy before to horribly sick during my second trimester of pregnancy. All the docs thought the sypmtoms would go away after I had my baby but they were wrong! Within 2 weeks after having my baby i had my gallbladder out related to gallbladder attacks and after that the stomach symptoms worsened! I have recently been treated for SIBO but that seems to have made things worse instead of better! I can’t tolerate the prokinetic drugs, they cause massive diarrhea. I’ve been working with a nautropath for almost three years since this started and even she is getting stumped. I’ve been on the GAPS diet which helped me gain some of the 40lbs back that I lost when i was sick but even that wasn’t working so now I’ve started the AIP/SIBO low fodmap diet which is so difficult and hasn’t seemed to help much either. My guts are so inflammed and painful. i’m trying to work as well on top of having two small children but it’s very stressful and difficult. I haven’t found the AIP/SIBO diet too helpful. I do not eat any grains, dairy, eggs or starchy food including root vegetables. I’ve been off my probiotic since I started the SIBO diet but I’m looking forward to going back on it. I really want some relief from the stomach pain. My two small girls don’t even know what its like for mommy to be well- mommy is always sick which is so difficult for me! I’m not sure what other options to try!

    • I know how you feel. My intestinal issues started 25 years ago and I am still ill. Not to say that you will because back then they had no idea what they were doing. I was given antibiotics numerous times over the course of my life and even broad spectrum by a doctor who had no idea I had a parasite in my colon from Puerto Vallarta. I came down with Cytomegalovirus, EBV, CFS. Stress will suppress the immune system and HCL acid product. Make sure you work on meditation and relaxation techniques. I was never breast fed as an infant and my mother too…so our gut micro biomes are poor as a result of this and the prescribing of antibiotics and sugar/wheat/grain diet long ago. Children who are born from a mother with a poor biome and born caesarian birth will have gut micro biome issues. Its imperative that our children today eat organic, pesticide, herbicide, antibiotic free foods. Local pasture raised produce and meats can most definitely help.
      Find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and God knows what suffering we are all going through. We weren’t meant to live in a world like this….we are just doing the best we can to get by and through.

    • I forgot to mention that perhaps seeing a FM practitioner who has the IFM certificate/training would be able to help. Go onto the http://www.functionalmedicine.com website and look up a practitioner in your area. I found a really sharp young lady, Lacey, in Palo Alto who is working with me to heal my gut. Its worth the investment in the long run to prevent further complications. I wish you all the best.

    • Also, I hope that you have had a breath hydrogen test to check for the methane or hydrogen gas producing gas by a GI doctor.

    • Also, I want to remind the women here to consider endometriosis. Even if you have had an exploratory laparoscopy and told that no endometriosis was ‘seen’, it still can be missed by the average gynecologist whose main specialty is delivering babies. It needs to be done by one of the few excision (Not ablation!) experts who have advanced skills in finding and treating it. They should also take biopsies to send to a lab- something that was never done with any of my surgeries, including a hysterectomy which did not help. This condition is very underdiagnosed. You can find some good articles by endometriosis expert Dr Ken Sinervo at http://centerforendo.

  14. I’m 26 years old male and was always healthy when I turned 20 I got sick thought it was just a flu ended up lasting for over a week of non stop vomiting my boss was fine as this is was the first time I missed work in over 3 years for being sick. I went back to work only a month later the symptoms came back sick for over a week again lost over 20 pounds during this not being able to eat or drink I had to have several emergency visits to get fluid pumped back into me this has been happening since 2011 and now it’s 2017 I lost every career and job I ever had my car my life is ruined because of this I can’t keep a job being sick for over a week doesn’t work this day and age doctors all tell me im crazy or it is because some street drug I am taking which I do not even smoke cigarettes I been miss treated for celiac and all sorts of other stuff I lived gluten free for 3 years and I did feel better but still would get sick I now lost everything my house my car im at a lose I must be crazy it’s also hard to change your diet when you have no income

    • If you were better without gluten, I would highly recommend the paleo autoimmune diet, it strips out everything your body could have a reaction to. And it could be leaky gut? Or mast cells? I know it might seem daunting being on a low income, but whole fresh home made foods is the only way to recover or at least stabilise with this. Look for ideas in functional medicine online, there is a wealth of information and some doctors will offer a bit of free advice. Best of luck to you, I have leaky gut, l-glutamine being added really slowly on an empty stomach with good probiotics seems to have stabilised me along with a very strict diet.

    • It could be a parasite in the gallbladder. My son had a similar problem where he kept throwing up almost every time he ate and it turned out he had a parasite in his gallbladder. He is perfectly fine now after treatment for the parasite.
      Something else to evaluate: pesticides. A friend of mines son would throw up when he ate fruit with pesticides on it. Now that he eats organic fruit he is fine.
      Hope this helps.

    • My symptoms started when i was 25. I was diagnosed with ibs-d when i was 28 only because the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m 37 now. I’ve worked in construction all my life. It’s been really difficult to have my job and have to go use the port-a-potty every hour. For over 10 years i tried EVERYTHING, from changing my diet to probiotics to medications that didn’t do anything, except make it worse. I’ve had to TRY and schedule my life around the ibs. Last year my previous doctor heard of a medication just coming to the market and was supposedly very promising. It’s called Viberzi. It worked. And has ever since. It’s by no means a miracle drug, but i do have my life back. My bathroom schedule isn’t what it was before my symptoms started, which was once every two days or so (sometimes three days), but at least I’m down to once a day. The cramping, bloating, and urgency are kept in check now, more or less. Like i said, it’s not a miracle drug, but it is a lifesaver! I’m going to have more tests done soon to reevaluate the situation. I haven’t noticed any side effects with it either.

    • I had a problem where I was throwing up and it was acid re flux a simple acid re flux medicine from Walmart did the trick. Take it before you feel like you are going to throw up. You normally can tell because the pain in your stomach comes and you go into sweats.

  15. I am 51 now and finally learning what my body is telling me. Have had IBS since since a teenager. Missing sports games and teen age pressures left many bathroom visits and remember these hives allover. For the last couple years it’s been way out of wack with gluten/food allergies, anxiety, depression etc. I had this staph infection that caused it with the antibiotics. Recently had a colonoscopy and in my follow up told me I have IBS and to take Metamucil and proper greens diet. So I am improving. Want to try a fodmap diet to learn more. Thank you for this article and comments.

  16. Thank you so much for this article.
    My case started when I got pregnant with my first son in 2014. I went from normal life to being pregnant and constipation last weeks. They have me everything to try to ease it and nothing helped. Never figured out why or what to do about it. Then I gave birth to him in May of 2015 and that’s when all hell broke loose. I had a stage four tear that ripped through my sphincter so they patched it up and that’s when it started. I would be constipated for 3,4 days then have the diarrhea at first the doctors blamed it on the tear. Then that healed and two years later they were still at a loss. One appointment the doctor tested for celiac disease and I was negative so he told me it must be IBS. He gave me the medicine that controls spasms which help for a time but it always comes back with a vengeance. Two years now and I’m still no closer to figuring it out. Now 2017 and I am pregnant with our second and the constipation is back just like it was in the first pregnancy. So doctors stopped trying to figure it out because they say it healed itself. But I know it’s coming back when I give birth in May. Idk what the underlying problem is and it makes me so frustrated. I can go more than about 2 hours away from my house or it gets really bad and I spend my time in the bathroom. I’m only 26 and my kid is only 2 and I feel like I can’t be there for him most days cause mommy is in the bathroom. I’m tired of this feeling. It’s not me I used to be very active person and now if I walk too much I’m in the bathroom. After this pregnancy I’m taking this article to my doctor and say figure it out.

    • I feel your pain! I have had life long constipation, that got worse very suddenly. However, I also had 4th degree tears followed by a hematoma. Recovery was worse than the delivery because it lasted for so long and, hey, I need to use those parts! I have had ups and downs with treating the constipation, but the best things have been magnesium citrate (200mg 3 xs / day- morning noon and night), Chris Kresser’s soil based probiotic, and apple cider vinegar. I still use a half cap of miralax once / day, but that is down from the 2 caps I was taking that were no longer helping. I hope this gives you something to try. I’m so sorry for your suffering. Oh, and also, I went paleo which helped a lot of other problems I was having, but not the constipation.

  17. My non verbal daughter has had many tests – she eats a whole food, organic liquid diet through her GTube. GI docs wanted to give her PPI’s and other drugs – I filled the rxs but never administered.
    She now has a Calprotectin (fecal) of 87ug/g. Not enough for them to be concerned about but enough for me to want to try probiotics. Her discomfort is painful and she cries, alternates between diarrhea and constipation (she is wheel chair bound) and the former breaks her skin down enough that CDiff is always a reoccurring concern (has had it 2xs in the home setting) – don’t know what to do if probiotics don’t work.

    • I had C. Diff and my Functional Medicine practitioner recommended taking S. Boulardi and a soil based probiotic to get rid of it….I took quite a bit for a couple of months. There’s a set routine that the practitioner recommends for those with C. Difficile.

  18. Reading through the commentary has been very insightful. My daughter who is 17 has suffered greatly with ibs since seven years old. It has pretty much now taken over her life. As a parent I worry. doctors are just pretty much washing their hands to try to help her. She is an unable to stand up straight in pain or feeling uncomfortable and spends most of her day in bed asking up schoolwork. She has had 2 Colonoscopies and endoscopies that showed a milk protein allergy. She has been dairy free for years. She gave up gluten. That seem to help a bit at first then back where we were. She started fodmap diet last April and wow…. significant improvement until she was given antibiotics for ear infection and it all went downhill. She is back in pain and discomfort. she has followed strict fodmap diet for 8’months. Growing up she was constantly on antibiotics. She had several sets of ear tubes and more ear infections than I can count. she just wants to feel normal and I worry about this affecting the rest of her life. Constant visits to pediatrician and gastr do nothing. she was just put on Bentyl again. Didn’t help first time. I had to pull teeth to get doc to test for candida. I have an appt in march to see natural doc and I continue to be hopeful they will help us. Signed, Determined Mom.

    • Hi Jill Beckett. I have had ibs for 4 years, tummy cramps, bloating, just a constant feeling of being unwell. For the last 2 weeks i have been taking the probiotic Yakult and my ibs symtoms seem to have disappered. I’m replying to you because you mentioned tgat your daughter has been on lots of antibiotics which while they kill the bad bacteria in our bodies they also kill the good, maybe your daughter doesn’t have a good enough good bacteria count in her digestive system. You should give Yakult a go, or other probiotics as it is trial and error because different probiotics contain different forms of bacteria. Hope this helps. All the best to you and your daughter.

    • What a nightmare that these practitioners have created….ear infections are caused by gut flora imbalances.
      Your daughter needs a functional medicine gastroenterologist…I know of two…two Dr.Gerald Mullin at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, in gastroenterology…and Dr. Farshid Sam Rahbar in Beverly Hills, in CA. also in gastroenterology.
      Mainstream medicine doesn’t quite understand yet how the gut micro biome affects the health of the entire body because they only treat symptoms and don’t look at the cause.

      • Ann,
        I am seeing Dr. Farshid Sam Rahbar. He is amazing. It looks like you are living in the bay areas. My friend who has arthritis. She is looking for a functional doctor in the bay areas. Do you know of anyone that I can pass on the information to her.

        • Dear Rachel,
          I am so pleased to hear that you have been able to see Dr. Rahbar. I live in Northern California, near San Jose. I would have your friend go to http://www.functionalmedicine.com and go to where it says to find a doctor and then put in the information. I know Dr. Chris Kresser and Sundjya Schweig are in Berkeley, CA. which come highly recommended but there are other wonderful Functional Medicine MD’s that can help your friend in the bay area. Please keep me posted. Dr. Rahbar tried to help me but the candida overgrowth became pathogenic and no one knew this….everyday is a blessing is what I say…..take great care. Where do you live?

        • Rachel,
          Your friend should look for a FM MD that works with patient’s that have autoimmune disease. Arthritis, depending on the type is autoimmune related. Sounds like she has much inflammation in her system. She needs to destress, and give the adrenals a break, eat anti-inflammatory foods, drink bone broth, either fish, chicken or beef. Stop all anti-inflammatory over the counter meds, aspirin, advil, ibuprofen, and actually she can get Sarah Ballantyne’s The Autoimmune Paleo Approach Book and her cookbooks. These foods will help to heal the gut lining. Stay away from wheat, gluten, dairy, alcohol, sugar…all are inflammatory. Perhaps your friend has thyroid issues, food allergies and a leaky gut and candida overgrowth too. A FM MD/practitioner can help.

        • Dr. Amy Myers, Dr. Tom O’Bryan are both wonderful doctor’s who can help too. They have their own websites…too many resources to choose from. Keep me posted!

  19. I have had IBS my entire life. Every test done since I’ve been a small child came back negative. The doctors said maybe lactose intolerant, or allergic to chocolate… nothing medically wrong. Or maybe I was a nervous child. I am now 43, can’t leave the house because of severe diarrhea and cramping. I was on Lomitil for a year, worked at first but then it got worse. My dr. just said to take Imodium AD 4 x a day (have already been using that since I’ve been 16). I have a somewhat fiber rich diet naturally which seems to help at times. Doctor said to add fiber supplements, tried that made it worse (cramping and d.) Going to the bathroom 10-15 times before noon is not normal, but the doctors said there is nothing wrong with me. So I live in my shell. Next to my bathroom. It sucks!

    • Please find a Functional Medicine MD. Go to the Institute of Functional Medicine website and also you can go to http://www.thedr.com and they can help you as well.
      Western medicine can’t always help people because their knowledge is limited and outdated.
      You may have a parasite, leaky gut, non celiac gluten sensitivities, SIBO, the list goes on. Stay away from wheat, dairy, sugar and see if you feel better to start. You may also be sensitive to night shades. You also may have dysbiosis of the gut flora as well. Hope this help you. You may have to pay out of pocket for your care…it will be well worth it!

    • Try the low FODMAP diet. It will help you isolate what is bothering you. You might be very sensitive to something or combinations. It has helped me!

    • Hi Trish,
      Sorry to hear that your life is so limited. I have studied Integrative Nutrition, Psychology and all the sciences related to health. In your case, I would probably want to start anew and try to find out what it is that makes you so sick. Although I suspect a few emotional components – so typical of people suffereing from this sort of thing. Stress is often interfering with digeston.
      First I would do a short but gentle fast and a cleanse to clear my body and digestive track (slowly adding lemon water, broth, green juice) . I would start slow with mostly liquids but only organic produce. Make home broth with quality meats and/or fish. Then slowly introduce various foods and be sure to take notes. Some times it can take 2 days to have a reaction… This way, hopefully you can find out what works for you and what doesn’t.
      Generally, I would avoid the usual culprits (wheat, sugar, processed, GMOs) I also have a very sensitive digestive track so I mainly focus on vegetables, some cheese, eggs and non wheat pasta, some fruits, dark chocolate. lots of good healthy herbs and spices in my drinks and food. Try findng some fermented foods you like (I eat sourdough bread but also like kombucha, kefir and miso). I even add apple cider vinegar and cinnamon every chance I get. Those are just suggestions. If it makes it easy, cook your vegetables and mix them into a nice creamy soup.
      Try to use herbs (cilantro, basil, rosemary, sage, etc) and spices (Turmeric/pepper, ginger, garlic, cumin, sea salt, cinnamon, etc)
      Hopes this gives you some ideas if anything.

      • There’s a reason you’re a nervous child, etc. and a Functional Medicine MD can get to the heart of the problem. A PCP will only treat the symptoms, so you will forever have the problem if you don’t get to its source!
        http://www.thedr.com can help you too! Something is either irritating the gut lining and/or you have methylation (detox) issues genetically speaking. MTHFR…nutritional deficiencies can cause problems too with the immune system. Gluten and GMO’s are a big problem for most people..as most of us are from Northern European dissent. The HLA DQ2 or DQ8 genes. I have the HLA DQ2 gene. I have suffered with anxiety and depression most of my life and its due to missing the glutathione gene. So I ate a nutritionally devoid diet growing up…prepackaged foods, TV dinners…etc. etc. this affected my methylation pathways. Making sure that you take multivitamins with Methylcobalamin and Methyltetrahydrofolate has helped me tremendously as well as minerals. I wish that I had never been born in the late 50’s because it was back then that food manufacturers, started making things for people to eat in modern society, that were quick and easy for people. Also, Monsanto came on board. Developing short cuts to produce wheat in a much shorter time frame..GMO..genetically modifying it. We can’t digest this….plus glyphosates (round up) is found in our food. It messes with the gut micro biome!

        • Thanks for so much information. Not even my gastroenterologist could give me any solid answers. But we have now had to change medical providers ….Kaiser. So I have to start all over with testing and many visits. Today was a good day, even though I didn’t leave the house…. I must say a previous comment had said something about emotional components, which I do suffer from anxiety and panic disorder. I am ok.

          • Not sure if Kaiser will ever get to the source of your problems! My husband had Kaiser and they cut corners, especially when it comes to getting a colonoscopy…they just did the fecal blood test and sent him on his merry way.
            I would be cautious.
            You need to go to a FM MD, and will have to bill your medical insurance provider yourself or have to pay out of pocket for your visit. Look up http://www.thedr.com and contact Michelle for a free consult. Or go to the http://www.thefunctionalmedicineinstitute.com website.
            You can get checked by the regular western medicine doctors for celiac disease but if you have non celiac gluten sensitivities their testing won’t be sensitive enough. Also, if you go to 23andme.com and do their blood test, the results can be merged with the http://www.mthfr.net website to find out any genetic polymorphisms, like the inability to break down folic acid.
            Going to a FM doctor will be able to put all of the pieces together for you…it will potentially change the outcome of your health and life. I can assure you of this…I didn’t have the benefit of the information 24 years ago….if I had…I wouldn’t be fighting for my life right now. Due to being given a ton of antibiotics for various things …some things that were ridiculous like for acne when I was in high school in 1976.
            I am most serious when i say to get to a FM doctor. All the tests they do will be worth it!
            You’re so welcome…and so glad that I can help through my suffering…many blessings to you and your family!

          • I too used to suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. Hind sight is 20/20, but now I know that it was a combination of stress, poor diet, having a parasite in the colon (blastocystis hominis), poor gut micro biome (due to taking antibiotics and eating foods treated with glyphostates and antibiotics), plus I had poor detoxification pathways in my liver (gene snp’s and polymorphisms). I am missing one gene from my parent for the glutathione gene…plus many more that I have that are/were affected by a poor diet. Plus, I had non celiac gluten sensitivities as well. The regular western medicine doctor’s would never understand why the anxiety and panic attacks and would just suggest a SSRI but I couldn’t tolerate them due to the nutritional deficiencies that I had.
            Hope I have really helped you in some way….make or buy some nice chicken or beef bone broth.
            And make sure that you don’t have a bacterial or candida overgrowth too….this will tremendously affect the gut lining and your mind!

          • Your GI doctor won’t have the answer and will throw up their arms. Some of them know about Leaky gut…but not all of them. They know how to diagnose a bacterial overgrowth with a breath hydrogen test. But it comes to diagnosing Candida overgrowth, non celiac gluten sensitivities, methylation genetic issues and nutritional deficiencies, blastocystis hominis, and auto immune disease created by a leaky gut, you won’t find any answers.

      • Thank you, I have done all of that. I have eliminated breads for weeks, found it was better. I can’t eat apples, causes major episodes. Pears are ok. Anyway….thanks..

        • It is different when the food is fermented before you eat it. The fermented foods we are talking about usually contain fiber and are already predigested by yeast or certain kinds of beneficial bacteria. These are helpful for good digestion. What we don’t want is the bad bacteria to ferment in the gut and especially to linger there. I think but correct me if I’m wrong.

    • I am so sorry. I have had this for 17 years and it’s debilitating. I’ve done everything, including Refaximin for SIBO (expensive!!), but still afraid to live my life or have a relationship. It’s a terrible way to live. Hope we can find an answer!

    • I too have had IBS my entire life and it was only a few years ago that stress and poor diet almost put me in hospital. I was seriously ill and unable to kerp down simple foods, l had every test under the sun my doc was worried as was my family…. we all thought the worst. Then my doc told me to try the FODMAP diet and l did with great success. Its not an easy thing l had to write down everything that hurt me and stay away from it. The biggest thing was to become totally aware of my body and hpw it reacted to certain foods. I couldn’t afford to ignore the signs just because l wanted to eat something that wasn’t good for my body.
      It took 8 months to repair myself and feel well again. Could l eat normally?…. to a degree. I had to respect the fact that l am lactose intolerant and l will swell up when l eat glutin but l could have a tiny bit. Its really about understanding your bodies own personal limits. We all have our own unique flora and fauna going on and l do believe from test done that l have an over growth of a certain bacteria. But the doc wanted to put me on a course of very serious drugs and I’m super sensitive so l know it would put me in bed and make me very ill for probably a month or more, with no guarantee that the problem wont come back. I wont to do this so l can eat the foods l want, l would rather know what upsets me and avoid it. For me it’s mostly dairy such as milk, yogurt, soft cheeses, cream, onion, garlic, broccoli, mushrooms, alchol, and too much glutin or sugar. Learning to listen to my body and understand my limitations has saved me from a lot of grief. I would highly recommend the FODMAP diet and then slowly introduce certain foods back in to find out which ones have the worst affect and are best avoided and which ones you can tolerate small amounts of. All the very best!

  20. Hello. I have had severe throat infection from childhood and doctors had put me on heavy antibiotics for more than 20 years. 10 years back i developed IBS D. Initially i had repeated episodes of Diarrhea and after colonoscopy and other tests GI confirmed it was IBS. I have been living with it from past 10 years but my condition is getting worst and I have repeated stomach infections. It is getting quite difficult to even travel. Can you please suggest if Probiotics can help in my case.

    • Vicky, you mention throat problems, my gastro has told me that dairy and gluten intolerance caused all of my throat problems since I was a child. It’s definitely dairy! Milk, cheese, yoghurts. Gluten is just bad any way. You will most definitely feel better removing dairy and gluten from your diet, and over time will feel better in yourself with no throat or IBS symptoms. Onions, garlic and stuff are good prebiotics, in foods like green vegetable soups etc

      • Thanks Lousie for the kind response. I completely avoid dairy products, my stomach cannot tolerate them. My gastroenterologist says due to prolong use of antibiotics, there is huge imbalance in gut bacteria. I am on probiotics from past 5 years but the problem persists. I also have fatty liver and some doctors say IBS I have may be due to fatty liver.

        • I have had fatty liver, reactive blood sugars, insulin resistance, IBS, candida overgrowth, SIBO, the works. I removed gluten, dairy, sugar, fruits except blueberries and advocado, added good fats like coconut oil and good olive oils, removed root vegetables for a few months to as starchy vegetables are high on glycemic index, and although the diet was boring it worked. You need functional medicine!! General medicine aren’t going to help you recover with this, but insurance doesn’t cover for functional medicine usually.

          • Look up Sarah Ballantyne’s Autoimmune Paleo Book and Cookbooks. You sound like you have AI disease. Leaky gut leads to AI disease. You need to heal your gut first….
            Bone Broth’s and eating more of a Paleo Diet will help you to feel better plus do the FODMAP diet…the fodmap diet will help reduce the discomfort hopefully in the intestines. You don’t have the right types of bacteria in the small intestines to break down certain foods due to taking antibiotics. Like myself!
            You could find an FM md that can do your stool tests and prescribe herbal antibiotics to knock down the bad bacteria first from SIBO and then start back with the Probiotics. Hopefully, you’ve done the Breath hydrogen testing….

            • I am having a full colonoscopy in a couple of weeks with biopsies under general medicine gastro, I am following Dr Amy Myers autoimmune solution, I have ms and it’s in remission. I am gradually healing, it’s just a slow process but I am getting in the right direction and taking probiotics and L-glutamine, bone broth with FODMAP and have been for 9 months now. Diagnosed full dairy and gluten intolerant.

              • Wonderful news Louise! Dr. Amy Myer’s is wonderful too! I can’t remember if I mentioned Sarah Ballantyne’s book and cookbooks too! Costco carries them still I do believe.
                You’re on your way to healing your body…congratulations!
                No thanks to Western Medicine and their drugs that are toxic to humans, that they use for people with AI disease!
                Its time we all stand up and tell them there are healthier ways to heal ourselves.
                There will always be disease in the world but if we can spread the word to others throughout the world perhaps others can hear how to heal themselves.
                What we put into our bodies growing up is why we are where we are at…no thanks to Monsanto and other companies promoting toxic products and foods.

          • Most definitely you have to reduce your bad carbs, like pastas, and bread. Eating less than the recommended carbs for Diabetics type 2 is paramount. My husband loves beer and every time he drinks it his glucose is over 100. He abused his pancreas by overeating and drinking the wrong things throughout his life…fortunately he isn’t a full blown diabetic yet. He exercises regularly and weight trains to keep the sugar out of his blood stream and into the muscles.
            You need to heal the gut! You can purchase the book, GAPS diet and it explains how to start the process too..of eating bone broths to correct the problem.
            There are glyphosates, GMO’s and antibiotics in our food chain that also disrupt our gut micro biome in the gut…so always look for the healthier alternatives….arent you worth it…find other ways to save money…but try not to skimp on these things. Over time by buying foods that are organic, GMO, Glyphosate free…this will send a message to the manufacturers of the unhealthy food products that we don’t want these anymore…please think about this!

            • I also find gelatine bone broth from organic grass fed animals bones helps with zero sugars, no alcohol (not drank for 2 years) no carbs or and I take L-glutamine every morning with probiotics to heal my leaky gut and it also helps with histamine reactions on skin and blood sugars, I can’t live without my L-glutamine!! It definitely helps with healing. I have an organic farm near that gives me bones for free when I ask, makes bone broth much better and better easier for me to make.

              • Lucky you Louise, that you can get bones for free! I don’t know of any local beef farmers where I live. Whole Foods is where we get them. I can’t have vinegar in the bone broth as it feeds the fungus in my body.
                Wishing you all of the best. Sounds like you’re on your way to healing the damage done.

        • Your doctor’s don’t know what they are talking about as they never learned it in school. They didn’t learn anything about nutrition or the immune system!
          I have IBS and don’t have a fatty liver. The fatty liver comes from over consumption of eating carbs, unhealthy saturated fats and sugars.
          The current medical system needs to be revamped! Out with the old way of doing things and in with the new, Integrative/Functional Medicine.

  21. I was diagnosed with IBS-C/D in 2011. The doc did a colonoscopy and found nothing usual except for a tiny few spots which were inflamed which he claimed was colitis (not ulcerative). He basically sent me on my way after a biopsy. I was naive not knowing exactly how had he treated the IBS nor why hadn’t he looked further into the colitis other than having the biopsy come back neg for cancerous cells. I never suffered from C/D after which, which made me believe I no longer have IBS.

    Early 2016 I developed little red spots on my thighs (a few on my arm and stomach) and the GP referred me to a skin specialist who diagnosed it as pityriasis rosea but couldn’t explain the cause of it. It completely disappeared after a month and was discharged, but around that same time I developed blepharitis and dry eyes. I have been suffering with this condition for almost a year now and like the skin specialist, the eye specialist can’t explain the cause of it.

    I do not know if the underlying cause is a gut issue or an immune system dysfunction (as both specialists suspect). But I decided to take matters into my own hands and did a little experiement to see if it had anything to do with gut candida. I bought fluconazole 150mg and my eye issue dimished overnight! No grit, no discharge, no inflammation, no dryness, no tearing, no stinging, my eyes were back to normal! Sadly it returned after 4 days. I’m convinced fluconazole wasn’t a coincidence.

    I hope someone would provide me a list of possible tests appropriate for what I have been experiencing.

    • Sounds like you have gut dysbiosis, an imbalance of the gut flora. Perhaps, you also have SIBO.
      I would go see a FM doctor (functional medicine) to get to the root of the problem.
      Candida overgrowth, leaky gut and autoimmunity all are interrelated.
      You don’t want to end up like me with severe nutritional deficiencies from a candida overgrowth that took off. It all started because I was given antibiotics too many times for silly things. I now have liver disease as a results of allopathic doctors not understanding the complete picture and how the entire body works. I get to pay the price with my life.
      Go to http://www.instituteoffunctionalmedicine.com

  22. My husband has suffered for 6 years with stomach pain, spasms, bloating, gas, constipation, and now just a definite hate for food. Everything bloats him and he is always uncomfortable. They have done all the standard test and have only came up with IBS. He has been on several different meds which all have horrible side effects and keep him on the toliet and uncomfortable all day. Only time he feels better is when he is on antibiotics , say for lIke a sinus infection. Is there a link here?? Where should we turn next because the PCP and GI doc don’t help??

    • Go to the Institute of Functional Medicine and look for a functional medicine doctor in your area. One that specializes in the gastrointestinal disorders.
      Sounds like your partner has SIBO, but you need a breath hydrogen test from a GI doctor to confirm this.
      Over the years, eating foods treated with antibiotics will affect the gut micro biome, as well as eating foods that have glyphosates in them (round up). Its in our food chain. Very sad. We’re all being killed off by our fellow man….the bible talks about this in Jeremiah 10:23 Man can’t direct his own step…greed is involved many times. Sorry to share this…

  23. I have not been diagnosed with IBS, but 2 months ago I got sick with diarrhea and have had loose stools ever since. my stool was tested with no sign of food or water bacteria. the doc tells me my gut flora is messed up from the illness and to take a probiotic. I’ve lost 20 pounds without trying and i’m getting a little alarmed. any advice?

    • Sounds like you have SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth…get a breath hydrogen test from your GI doctor. What’s wrong with the medical community these days…are they afraid to order tests?
      Or you could have a parasite? Getting to a Functional Medicine doctor could help you as well. A PCP can’t help you.
      This problem is an epidemic…SIBO…its so prevalent.

      • Does insurance cover a functional medical doctor? This is the first I’ve heard of FMD. I began having problems with IBS back in August and still experience this everyday. The discomfort varies, but isn’t too bad. Most of the time the problem is worse early morning-4 am to 9:30 am., then I’m good for the better part of the day. My pop doesn’t do any kind of testing, just recommends Imodium AD, which didn’t do much. Currently, I just try to modify what I eat. Some days are better than others. It is pretty bad when decisions are made for us that include harmful side effects.

        • Some FM practices will accept all insurances except for Medicare, which I have, due to the stupidity of doctor’s about the IBS I came down with in 1992. Unbelievable…they know more now than back then…is what I get all the time now!
          You may have to bill your insurance…just ask for the super bill!
          We all have to push through and see FM doctor’s otherwise the other type of PCP/regular western medicine GI doctor’s will win out. I have been paying for my medical care out of my own pocket for years and am disabled because the stupid doctor’s I saw didn’t understand that I had a severe candida and bacterial overgrowth! The don’t believe Candida exists…because there heads are all stuck in a time warp about 30 years ago..dont they ever think about what antibiotics can do to the gut flora? No!!!!
          Mindless I do say…sorry I am venting. I have mold spores throughout my entire body as a result of not being treated long ago for SIBO and a candida overgrowth.
          Its very painful to have mold growth growing throughout your body. And there’s no toxic mold in my house!
          I am so done with western medicine…..they are worthless, mindless and heartless people. They send you to a psychiatrist when they don’t have the answers. I truly believe they know what’s going on…but because they are in bed with the powers that be.. like the FDA, drug companies, universities, etc. they don’t buy into anything that we share about the candida related issues. I had this foul sour smelling stuff pouring out my behind over 6 years ago…and the PCP had the nerve to tell me I had a vaginal yeast infection..never gave me any Nystatin or Diflucan!
          I occasionally take Diflucan, once per week, as it will hurt my already damaged liver and elevated liver enzymes. Talk about a nightmare….I am living in one each day. I truly know what it means to suffer. The organism living inside of me is feeding off of my vitamins and minerals…so now and its been going on for a while, my body isn’t performing its functions, like detoxing the liver. Its such a sad story that could have been prevented long ago if I had been born maybe 20 years later.

  24. Wonderful article!! My husbands mother has many bowel issues , she was diagnosed with IBS . Is it genetically possible he has inherited it? Many family members of his struggle with it. He seems to live in our restroom. Not even 30 minutes go by after a meal and he is in the bathroom. He refuses to tell his doctor , he is also Bipolar with OCD as well . Also he seems to be hungry ALL the time ! Is this a symptom of IBS as well ?? I know it’s not in his control but lord help me , I would think someone that lives in a bathroom would tell their physician! As the spouse it can be very difficult to deal with at times .

    • She has SIBO!
      You should purchase Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s Betrayal Series. He explains how the above issues you’ve mentioned come from the poor gut micro biome our parents pass onto us…plus if we were natural or cesarean birth or if we were breast fed or not. What we eat also has an impact on our gut micro biome. If we eat foods that have been treated with antibiotics, have glyphosates in them, these things disrupt our good gut flora. Because our country uses toxic chemicals in the environment these things get into the air and circulate landing even on the organically grown foods. We are basically disrupting our immune system, which 80% of our body’s are comprised of. We are basically killing ourselves off with man’s greediness, selfishness, etc. etc.

    • You have dysbiosis of your gut micro biome. This affects the mind as well as having genetic issues with MTHFR. Methylation could be an issue as well as poor nutrient diet. Eat 3/4 of your plate with vegetables and the other 1/4 should be high quality meats, like local farm raised, hopefully grass fed animals. Stay away from unhealthy carbs, grains…eat high quality grains sparingly, like quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, black rice. Perhaps, you are genetically not able to eat wheat or gluten, so stay off of wheat and gluten….it affects the mind. Seriously, I just watched Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s Betrayal series last week. Many people commit suicide because they can’t digest wheat and it destroys the gut. Eat organic, local produce. Try to clean up your diets and get to a Functional Medicine MD. Look at the Institute of Functional Medicine and look for an MD in your area. Hope this helps. Also, make bone broth, get a whole chicken and cook it in a La Creuset pot or whatever you have. The broth is calming and healing to the gut and immune system. My husband told me today that he felt like he was coming down with a cold and ate some of the chicken soup he made with the bone broth and vegetables…he said his symptoms went away.

  25. Jan 2014 I found out my husband was cheating on me for years of our 21 yr marriage. And my body got sick in that one day! I could not longer eat. I would take 3 or 4 bites of food and felt sick nauseous like I just had Thanksgiving dinner . I also felt very dizzy. The pain in my stomach was unbearable and went on for three hours This happened every day till I can no longer eat or drink a shake Shakes were the worst and I found out dairy was my enemy I was having severe constipation and bloating After year that I was having severe diarrhea and unbelievable pain It’s nov 2016 and I am still unable to eat food I’m dehydrator all the time I switch back-and-forth from being constipated the diarrhea all the time I can never leave my house and the few times I did I had to be rushed to the ER for a blockage IBS has taken over my life and I don’t know how to fix it My doctor said once my divorce is going through I should be fine I’m mad at him for saying that because I’ve been suffering I am hungry all the time but when I look at food I get turned off because I know if I eat it it’s going to hurt me and then my bowels are going to be a mess
    I have tried all the diets and everything that I was supposed to and I have the same result severe pain I need help I’m at the end of my rope

    • Mary you need to get to a Functional Medicine doctor who can help you to get through what you’re dealing with. Its time to move forward with your life. They can help. You’ve gone through something traumatic and you need to do things to relax. When you do this your endocrine, autonomic system will settle down. You need to start reframing your thinking…you need to think positively, even though its difficult. Divert your mind to something you like to do.
      Stay away from wheat, gluten, sugar, alcohol and dairy. Take a probiotic to help the gut micro biome to start heal your gut.
      You’d be amazed how much different you can feel when taking a probiotic.
      When you’re stressed and angry this suppresses the immune system and the Hydrochloric acid production in the stomach. I am most serious when I say to change the way you think. The mind and the gut are very closely related!
      I would see a GI doctor and get a breath hydrogen test to see if you are a methane gas producer or hydrogen gas producer.
      You more than likely have candida overgrowth that a regular GI doctor won’t understand.
      Eat healthy organic foods, and start taking probiotics after you have the Breath Hydrogen test. You may also have a leaky gut.
      Something to ponder.

  26. I have been diagnosed with IBS Jan 2014. And it rules my life. I have IBS- D, C, both. I am so hungry all the time but every time I try to eat I take 3 to 4 bites and then my stomach is full bloated and in pain I feel like I just ate Thanksgiving dinner and tight jeans I am terribly sick and nauseous and a lot of pain for 2 to 3 hours afterwards This happens each and every time I eat no matter what I eat Shakes are the worst !!!! Dairy is out !!! I am unable to eat or drink anything but about being sick I feel like a beaten dog every time I see food I get upset because I want it but I know it causes me pain I had a blockage January 2015 And the beginning of diverticulitis I know a lot of this is due to the stress and anxiety of my divorce . After 21 years my husband is the evil man and has taken everything from me including my health I’m sick of hearing the doctor say I will go back to normal when my divorce goes through because in the meantime I am in severe pain Two times I try to go out of state on vacation only to come right back in severe pain I’m at the end of my rope I don’t know what to do I am so sick with this IBS. And I’m so dehydrated it all the time I don’t know what to do please help

    • stop going to see regular doctors, first off. they are useless. You need to see a holistic practitioner or functional medicine. They would be more helpful with IBS.
      That being said, this all started from a massive stressful situation. People do not realize how much stress and anxiety affect your digestion. Your gut is your second brain.
      How are you with smoothies? Non dairy, fruit, veggies, and water. Can you have those? At least get nutrients in your body without requiring a lot of digestion.
      I would concentrate on lowering your stress. Try doing yoga and meditation to try and help you get through this difficult time.

  27. I was diagnosed with PI-IBS around 7 months ago and I was wondering if digestive enzymes might help. I’m currently taking L-Glutamine (5mg) and 20 billion probiotic (lactobacillus GG). I had lost about 15 lbs and I’m struggling to put it back on. I’ve gained some but no matter how much I eat I’m still unable to gain my last 5 lbs. My main symptom now is loose stools in the morning and it does seem to be worse when I consume fatty foods (healthy fat…like Salmon). Could my body be having a hard time digesting to point that I’m not getting my nutrients in order to gain my weight? Is there any natural supplements that you would recommend that I might be overlooking?

    • You may read about BAD (bile acid diarrhea). The symptoms are the same as IBS. It is caused by excess production of bile acids. I have had IBS-D for three years now and this is something I read about only a week ago. Going to ask my doctor about this.

      • I think you’re on to something. I was originally diagnosed with gastritis back in May and was told to take prilosec. That helped after awhile so I got off of it. The salmon I ate was pretty spicy. I think I set off my gastritis again and started taking pepcid. Woke up today after taking it for 3 days and feel 75 percent better with more formed stools.

  28. I was diagnosed with PI-IBS about 6 months. I used to alternate between IBS-C and IBS -D. Now I seem to have IBS-D only and mainly in the morning. I’m currently taking L-Glutamine (5mg), Cultrelle Advanced (20 billion) and Vitamin D. Do you think a digestive enzyme would help me? Last night I had salmon for dinner and woke up this morning with very loose stools. I had lost approximately 15 lbs and have gained about 7 back but I’m stuck. I eat well over my recommended daily intake and my weight won’t budge. I’m wondering if maybe my body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • if you are having loose stool or diarrhea everyday, then you are not getting proper nutrients.
      Salmon is very high in fats which is usually a huge issue for IBS sufferers.
      Digestive enzymes may help (cant hurt to try. But I’d suggest cutting down on fats a bit. Try to load up on protein.
      You need to take a better probiotic. Look for one thats 50 billion live cultures and more than 20 strains of good bacteria. The more strains of good bacteria, the better.

      • Thank you for the reply. Another quick question…I’m trying to figure out if I have sibo or just your typical ibs. If you have sibo do you typically have bowel movements multiple times a day? I’m normally good to go for the rest of the day after having one or two loose stools/diarrhea in the morning. All of these diets have me so confused that i dont know whats safe to eat. The ibs and sibo diet are similiar but different in alot of ways. I eat alot of white rice which is good for ibs-d but ive read its bad for sibo. I don’t know which one to focus on. Psyllium husk ok for ibs-d? Ive also noticed I have hair loss around my left temple. My thyroid checked out fine but I’m not sure if that could be related to low iron, lack of nutrients (lost 15 lbs when I came down with this) or a hormonal imbalance (45 year old female)? Im always tired but never seem to get a decent nights sleep.

        • I really wish I knew what to tell you. I’ve had similar issues for the last 10+ years. Tried different diets, different supplements, and nothing has really worked.
          sibo can be tested for with a simple breath test. so it would be easy to find out if that is your problem.
          It may also be a candida overgrowth. First thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything, spit into a clear glass of water. Wait 15 min and if your spit looks like its grown “legs” (kinda looks like a jelly fish) its likely you have an issue with candida. In which case you need to go on the low fodmap diet.
          IBS is super tricky. trying to figure out the cause is the problem. It could be that you have a food sensitivity to something you are eating all the time. Truth is, we (the world) know next to nothing about the digestive system. There are millions and millions of us who get diagnosed with IBS because doctors dont know what wrong so they give that blanket diagnosis.
          I suggest eliminating things like gluten, dairy, red meat, fatty foods, and soy. as these are stomach irritants and hard to digest.
          Maybe try a simple diet of chicken, white fish, and green veggies (spinach, kale, chard). A super clean diet for a few weeks would help clear up any candida issues.

        • You need a breath hydrogen test to determine SIBO. And you need to get a stool test done to determine if you have Candida overgrowth as well. Conventional Medicine doesn’t do the stool tests so you need to find a holistic, Integrative or Functional Medicine Md. Go to the Institute of Functional Medicine website. They can help you. I wouldn’t wait.

          • I have been seeing a functional medicine doctor and candida has been ruled out. Unfortunately this doctor doesn’t do the breath test but they said there’s a more comprehensive stool test that can check the bacteria levels?

            • Genova and I believe Doctor’s Data do the comprehensive stool tests.
              I have had both.
              Unfortunately, I had a candida overgrowth that went pathogenic with my SIBO which was not treated properly and misdiagnosed back in 2009.
              I am happy that you don’t have the candida…but still you need to keep the yeasts in check and not to overfeed them if you have a bacterial overgrowth.
              Every day is a blessing.
              I believe being a non celiac gluten sensitive individual started the whole thing for me from birth plus being given numerous antibiotics for various silly things like acne and not being breast fed. Just the perfect storm of events that have led to my poor health.
              I will never be able to balance my dysbiosis in the gut because of the hyphal and systemic tissue fungus in my body. Very sad.
              They know more now than back when I was growing up in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Had I been given probiotics in the 90’s I wouldn’t be where I am today.

  29. I’ve had many stool tests. Last one showed I’ve high level of candida dubliniensis. Normal levels of benefial bacteria. Problem is I’ve ended up on concoction of different meds over the years. Ibs meds, laxatives, benzos, sleeping meds, amitriptyline and ppis (after I was diagnosed with erosive esophagitis). It’s got to the point where I can’t even eat solid food because I’m in absolute agony for hours after. Exhausted so much time trying to get better but I’m so sensitive to everything that I can’t even tolerate the Antifungals (cause gerd flare up every time : which no amount of antacids do anything to stop).

    Don’t know if taking Probiotics would do much for the candida if I’ve already got a high level of beneficial bacteria.

    • Doesn’t make sense to me when you say you have high levels of Candida and you have normal levels of good bacteria.
      Perhaps a functional medicine md can help.
      Perhaps the candida is hyphal and you have biofilm issues.
      Have you taken Nystatin or taken something that would reduce the levels of the candida? Perhaps some herbal products could help. I would contact Chris and discuss.

      • That’s what the comprehensive parasitology from Genova showed. Don’t tolerate nystatin well. Generally I tolerate fluconazole and similar best but that particular type of candida can sometimes build a resistance to those drugs. Not often but has been known. My md wants me to take fluconazole for a month, then have a two week break and then do another month before retesting.

        Not totally convinced he’s looking at all the issues I’ve got and whether there’s an underlying cause but seems convinced herbal products would take a lot longer to produce a result and wouldn’t necessarily have less side effects

    • You may have SIBO due to taking PPI’s and OTC products that mess up the HCL acid in the stomach that kills parasites, bacteria, etc. You end up with a bacterial overgrowth then gerd.
      Dysbiocide or FC Cidal can help along with taking Berberine to keep the bacteria levels down. You can take a probiotic that’s soil based by Prescript Assist. My brother in law has Barrett’s due to taking chronic doses of PPI’s. and is getting relief with taking Dysbiocide.
      My FM doctor had me taking either one…I first took the Xifaxan and have noticed my ANA’s have gone up 4 times for autoimmune disease. Trying to stick to the natural herbs for SIBO. I also have systemic fungal tissue overgrowth from not being diagnosed early enough with candida overgrowth. And the candida wasn’t typified either…so the md’s can figure out that its hyphal and in my tissues and organs. Its been a nightmare…all due to taking antibiotics early on and eating an unhealthy diet and having much stress and not getting the right treatment at the right time and feeding the candida with wine, carbs and sugars. I had no idea what was going on…but I have a leaky gut and have had for a very long time…20 years.

        • I would get the breath hydrogen test from a GI doctor. You may be a methane producer like myself.
          We are all a mess aren’t we? And are being experimented on. Please try to eat organic, non gmo foods. Glyphosates are messing with our good gut flora.
          Probiotics can’t hurt, but if you’re taking something that kills good bacteria you need to take it away from the Probiotic.
          I take also Klaire Lactoprime Plus…SCD probiotics. They seem to help.
          I will forever be out of balance in the gut and daily keep playing the game of keeping in balance. The nystatin seems to keep the existing yeasts in balance while taking the probiotics.
          I also take charcoal capsules each night to help with keeping the toxic burden down to my liver. It cleans up the toxins and bad stuff in the gut. If you take it…take it well away from eating. I take mine when I go to bed. Its by Integrative therapeutics…I get most of my products from Pureformulas.com

        • Did it say that you had plenty of the Lactobacillus and Bifidum? Not all of the stools are that accurate.
          Have you ever used Doctor’s Data?

  30. How does functional medicine approach motility or neurological problems of the gut? If motility is dysfunctional is that corrected through diet and gut health or is it an entirely different component all in itself?

  31. Been suffering from IBS since 2000 (probably earlier). Diagnosed as celiac in 2001. Been gluten free ever since (extremely strict). Still sick 1-3 times a week. The usual break down is that I either dont have a bowel movement, or not a complete one for 1-4 days. Then once i have one, its massive, painful, and afterwards my lower abdomin is in pain, my body feels very weak, complete and utter fatigue. I should also mention that I feel fatigue basically every minute of every day for the past 10+ years. Can sleep 5, 6, 7, even 10 hours and it doesnt matter. I’m just as exhausted as I was when i went to sleep.
    I’ve been to doctors and nutritionists. Had every test done. Been on elimination diets. Nothing has really helped.
    I seem to do a little better when I start a new supplement. whether its a new/stronger probiotic, l-glutamin, bos-cur, etc. But this only lasts a couple weeks. As if my body gets used to the new “meds” and they no longer work.
    My real problem is that the people that could actually help me (functional medical experts) either dont accept insurance, or dont accept mine (obamacare). And as you can imagine, i dont have a full time job because I never know from day to day whether or not ill be sick or not. No way to hold down a stable job when this is the case. So all the money I do make pays for rent and the astronomical prices of organic/non-gmo food I eat to try and NOT get sick.
    So to see a functional medicine practitioner that charges hundreds per visit, isnt something I can afford to do.
    What id really love is for ppl in need of help to get it, without it putting you into more debt than youre already in. And on top of that, for eating healthy, not to cost more than eating the all the garbage that probably got you sick in the first place!
    So if anyone knows of someone who can help me without it forcing me to max out ANOTHER credit card. I’m all ears.

    • I have found digestive enzymes help

      Also…there is someone on facebook…exclusively holistic. She will talk to you via email …and although it is not as extensive as an in person consultation she has helped a few people either a little or a lot. She knows what she is talking about. I buy my probiotics from her…pharmaceutical grade.

      You sound like you have adrenal fatigue (exhausted all the time)….hope that helps. I am in no way related or profit from this suggestion. Just a FYI

      • ive been taking Digest Gold enzymes for years, no real change. Also, I looked into adrenal fatigue. My endocronologist tested me for it and she said I do not have it. But I take things told to me by MD with a grain of salt.
        Who is this person on facebook you mentioned?

        • She has a fb page…called exclusively holistic. She is a naturopath. She also has a web site. You can get to her web site from the fb page.
          I take Wobesym PS digestive enzymes. I used to have systemic pain, sciatica pain, etc….and now that is much better …almost 100%.
          In reference to your adrenal fatigue test…..I doubt a regular physician can appropriately screen for it. They just do not understand the details. This is my opinion. I also get pellets : bioidentical hormone replacement …for menopausal symptoms that make me feel great although did not help with that pain…no more hot flashes or mental fog. My mood is very steady. I have a lot of energy and sleep well. The hormones are an out of pocket expense.

          • Also, remember mainstream medicine doctor’s lab ranges are extreme. On the Thyroid summit, this past week, a TSH over 2.50 can mean active Thyroid dysfunction/disease…a low free T3 and T4 can mean you aren’t converting the hormones properly either. Perhaps, you’re not absorbing your nutrients well from the gut lining. This will affect the thyroid too! Have you had a nutritional panel done by a holistic md? Stool testing will also show dysbiosis of the gut micro biome. This will affect your ability to absorb fat soluble vitamins. Have you had a breath hydrogen test that will show if your a methane gas producer…if so you have a type of SIBO…small intestinal bacterial overgrowth…some food for thought.

      • You may also have the HPA axis dysfunction as well…..this affects the thyroid and adrenals….perhaps you have MTHFR issues as well.

    • Do you have a candida overgrowth? I would cut down on yeast feeding carbs and sugars for a couple of months and take a probiotic in the morning and evening. Perhaps the foods you’re eating are GMO foods and have glyphosates. You can look up Amy Myers…autoimmune and the thyroid connection. Do you have thyroid dysfunction? Do you have a parasite? Do you have Lyme? Do you have any other infections? Perhaps Amy Myers and her team can help you. I just watched the free talks this past week….pretty amazing stuff!

    • Have you ever had the Cyrex Labs leaky gut test….perhaps you have a leaky gut….toxins leaking into your blood stream from your permeable gut lining will burden your liver. Just a thought.

        • Have you ever thought of making bone broth? This will help to heal the gut lining. You also need to stay away from gut irritants, like dairy, sugar, wheat and gluten. Make you are taking a supplement before going off of wheat as you will be more nutritionally deficient. You need to purchase Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s ‘Betrayal’ Series which is now showing. You more than likely have non celiac gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. I wouldn’t drink any thing with sugar or even alcohol. You can also get the GAPS diet book, that will help to heal the gut, but you need a practitioner helping you. Its not cheap…and conventional medical doctor’s can’t help. Thanks to our poor food chain with antibiotics, glyphosates, and goo’s in them our gut flora has been forever changed. Just one round of prescribed antibiotics will forever change our gut micro biomes. Stress, and toxins will do this as well. You need probiotics but if you have a bacterial overgrowth int he gut you will have to correct that problem first…this is the beginning stage of healing your gut as well as reducing your stress. Take your multivitamins and minerals so that your body doesn’t stress…it needs to function. If you have SIBO you have malabsorption…hope this helps. Get Dr. O’Bryan’s book on the autoimmune system…if you don’t correct the leaky gut you will get autoimmune disease, if you don’t already have this issue.

    • Did they test your Vitamin D level? I have extremely low vitamin d and have been told its because of my IBS. My body can’t absorb vitamin D as well anymore because we absorb it in our gut. I am taking 50000 units of Vitamin D and have almost for a year now and am still trying to get my numbers up.
      Low Vitamin D levels can cause extreme fatigue, depression and all sorts of things.

    • I suffered from IBS about 10 years ago. About 6 years ago my doctor prescribed Lexapro for the menopausal anxiety and other symptoms I was experiencing. A number of months later I realized I wasn’t suffering from any IBS symptoms. Fast forward to these past months. It was not in my head as I never gave a thought that Lexapro might cure my IBS. This week is 1 year since I weaned myself off of Lexapro (which took a number of months) and I am, once again, having bouts with IBS. I thought I would share this.

      • Do you have SIBO or parasites? Get a stool test done and a breath hydrogen test as well. A functional medicine md can order the stool tests and the GI doctor can do the breath hydrogen test.

        • last stool test was done over 3 days. 1 day showed dead yeast, the other 2 days did not. showed a parasite. i was on 10 days of antibiotics, tested again and parasite gone.
          None of these jackass GI doctors will give me a hydrogen breath test for some reason. I’ve tried.
          And while I love to see a functional medicine practitioner, they all charge way too much and I cant afford them. like more than $300 a visit and they dont take my insurance.

          • What about naturopaths? Can they do breath hydrogen tests? I don’t know.
            I tried having my parents get the breath hydrogen test and their doctor said no way until you have diarrhea.
            They wait so long until so much damage has been made before ordering the test. In the meantime, my parents are aging more so from inflammation, leaky gut, arthritis, and malabsorption. The world we live in is so corrupt…medical system needs to be revamped …don’t you agree. It doesn’t benefit the patient and patient’s are so brainwashed into believing the PCP’s are all knowing. Its so frustrating…as my health has suffered from this system.
            I apologize for not getting back to you sooner…I just seemed to overlook the email.

            • Can you get berberine sulfate from “Get well Natural”, FC Cidal or Dysbiocide?
              If you have SIBO you need to wipe out all of the bad bacteria with either an drug, Rifaxamin or an herbal product. This is what my FM doctor told me. The genova diagnostic stool tests showed no good bacteria in my gut…gee why…becasue of doctor’s over prescribing antibiotics to me long ago for various silly things like acne. Are you able to get a stool test done by a FM doctor. Perhaps, Dr. Tom Bryan’s office can prescribe a stool test…but they are expensive to see. I would see if you could find an inexpensive functional Md in your area from the Institute of Functional Medicine website…I came across one that charges $200 for new patient visit. You may have to bill your insurance company for some reimbursement…but do the research and ask questions. There are so many people with SIBO its not funny! My brother in law has it and now their 25 year old son has it! Unbelievable….what’s happening to our world! My nephew was a cesarian birth but at least breast fed. I wasn’t.

        • That’s because they weren’t looking at the cause…its the gut and infections, leaky gut as well! You have to heal the gut and take productions to kill off the bad bacteria first and then eat a healthy clean diet free of the most common allergens that can lead to autoimmune disease. Eggs, dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, nightshades, nuts. Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s “Betrayal” series is amazing…you should purchase for yourself and learn how these gut issues end up causing autoimmune disease, as well as being a non celiac gluten sensitive or celiac disease person.

  32. I was diagnosed by a nurse practitioner one year ago; I’m female with three kids and age 34. After speaking to the NP, no tests were done, she just said to “learn not to stress out.”. I lost my Grandpa after the diagnosis and I wasn’t sick, almost lost my father two months later and wasn’t sick….doesn’t sound like stress is a factor for me.
    Nothing was offered in way of medication, advice or anything. She just said come back if it gets worse.

    I’m going to get a second opinion in the near future as I’ve been moving my life around IBS-D. And I’m not wanting medication, but good solid advice on what to do to make it better.

    I don’t eat (or only eat veggies/fruit for the most part) when I know I’m going to be out of the house. I can not eat fast food or ice-cream unless I willing to take the punishment. I have to eat small meals or I’m nauseous/sick. I’ve been a small person all my life (5’2″, 105lbs)
    My symptoms: nausea, bloated, diarrhea 1-3X day, sometimes constipated, headaches, stomach pain mostly upper middle/right, not gaining weight but not losing much either, some days are worse than others.
    Any advice? Right now a second opinion is probably my best option.

    • Try the low FODMAP diet. You might be lactose intolerant and most of the problem foods are with the vegetables. It took me years to get to this point. I am finally able to manage IBS-D. Stress does play a role, but it isn’t THE answer to the question. Diet does play an extremely important role. Good luck!

  33. My doctors have all ignored my chronic constipation symptom. In 2013 I experienced rapid weight gain of ten pounds in one month with severe bloating and stomach issues. I paid for several high cost tests, ct scan, ultrasound, endoscopy, and all I received was medication to help with mild gastroenteritis. I was Ali given a sample of linzess which made me very ill after one dose. My lips and hands were numb, loss of bowl control, dizziness, faintness, fatigue, severe cramps, more bloating, and nausea. My weight has continued to increase no matter what I try and I am 30 pounds over what I have been the rest of my life with chronic constipation That none of my doctors will address with anything other than a drug to relieve symptoms. I have hashimoto’s thyroiditis, allergies and asthma, endometriosis, neurological migraine disorder, and interstitial cystitis.

    • First of all eat more fiber in the form of veggie and fruits. You must avoid all standard allergens (esp.gluten, dairy, etc). I suspect you are in a very difficult place emotionally – that is when I get constipated the most. Is someone in your close environment being difficult to live with? Or even some family member being a disappointment? If there is something that you know you should let go of but can’t, find a way. Find some support and/or at least talk about it to someone you trust. Forget about those pills they are giving you, just eat clean food (no junk, not processed, organic if possible). Go out and enjoy nature as often as possible. Meditate, do yoga, whatever you like. Cooking is a good activity too!

      • Good advice…you can add flax seeds (ground), chia seeds in yogurt or smoothies, magnesium sulfate before bed (2), prunes and prune juice.

    • You have autoimmune disease. Have you had an ANA blood test? Also, check out Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s website, book and his new video series, “Betrayal” Perhaps you are a non celiac gluten sensitive person with the HLA DQ2 or 8 gene. You have lots to learn about how the gut and immune system interact. I have learned the hard way…by the same suffering. I have had gut issues since a child and I am 58 years old. Western Medicine’s lab result standards will show you when you have lupus or RA but the chronically elevated ANA levels Ihave had were a symptom for 24 years. I was told nothing was wrong and that women have this problem…just last month I had it retested…it was 4 times the number from last year. So, the digestive dybiosis/imbalances in the gut flora have caused leaky gut and now autoimmune disease. Hope this info helps you through my struggles in life.

  34. Back in May 29 of 1985, I had joined the United States Navy. I was one of those shipmates that slept less due to the work condition of sending all and covering aircrafts. I work for almost a full day; However, i’ve always had plenty to eat. When stationed on the USS Nimitz, I start having these underlining pain, but ignored it. However, my bowels were OK. They began, mostly, When I and other shipmates we’re screened a urinalysis drug testing. Because of possible test tampering, the navy test selectees must watch me urinate. I’m a very shy person and felt very uncomfortable urinating while another man watched my penis???,LOL. My pain worsened, so painful that I had to ask the drug enforcer if I could sit on a toilet just to urinate. It was very embarrassing time I had to experience in my life. Many years later, I went to the military Bethesda hospital to pursue a more understanding of pains in my stomach. my symptoms were my whole body will weaken, I’ll get dizzy, heavy breathing, and at times, pass out or followed by a seizure. This mainly happens when I’m on the toilet and strain. . I stop having them at the age of 29. Moreover, my stomach guts blew out and no attacks since I have had the gut. I am now diagnosed with seizure, PTSD, traumatic vertigo aggravated by my military experience.

    • Shame/humiliation can lead to trauma as in PTSD. i am curious as to why this was such a big issue to pee in front of some other guy since the army is such a close living quarter kind of place to begin with. You seem to have had major emotional issues, aggravated by all those experiences later in life. Maybe you could address that with therapy and get better? Do you come from a family of alcoholics? If not your parents, maybe your grand -parents?

  35. Hi. After the bad things were ruled out, I was diagnosed 2 years ago with IBS. The only significant symptom is the inability to pass gas to varying degrees, and the associated pressure and discomfort. Certain stresses did make symptoms worse. I went on a low FODMAP diet, which initially made things worse, but by also cutting out peppers and chilli, things did improve. When re-introducing FODMAPs, I seemed to have reactions to wheat bread and garlic. Now comes the twist! On two occasions I have visited the US on vacation from the UK, and within 24 hours I am totally symptom free! What’s more, I can eat ANYTHING including the wheat, peppers etc and remain symptom free! What’s more, some of the specific stresses that tend to increase symptoms at home (such as a major argument with the partner!) also have no effect when I am away. In fact, my average stress level on my most recent level was many times greater than that at home (getting lost, delays, jet lag, arguments, even an emergency root canal procedure!) so I do not accept the view that “you relax more on vacation so the IBS goes down”. Within 12-24 hours of returning to the UK, my symptom returns. What on earth is going on here? In my mind there must be some underlying environmental factor which acts as a catalyst with some foods, but what on earth could it be (water?!)?

    • I agree, I live in Ireland, and symptoms vanished when on holiday in France. Now, I’m a Herbalist and Naturopath and am on a gluten free diet, not really ketogenic, but nearly..my symptoms of loose stool are mainly controlled by diet and herbs etc but do need controlling. In France, instant reprieve, however, not in Belgium. The water is fluoridated here, but I use a gravity filter..

    • Exactly the same thing happened to me. I have had problems at home in Norway for many years. When I visited Southern Europe on two occations this year and last year, I was completely symptome (gas) free. I could eat sugar, ice-cream, overeat (it was holidays) and nothing made me bloated!

      Water where I live has no added chlorine and is very soft (low dH).

      I have some theories but I don’t know if there is any logic in them:
      * The chlorine water in Southern Europe is treated with kills the excess small intenstine bacteria
      * The calsium and magnesium present in hard water is good for my intenstine or my bowel

  36. Hi everyone, check out the low fodmaps diet developed by the GI scientists and medical doctors at Monash University. Google monash and fodmaps and you’ll find them. The information is free. I was sceptical, but it has done wonders for me. No catch, just science. Spread the word.

  37. Sir i have lose stool with colour changing stool sometimes yellow sometime brown semisolid not stick to pan and when i touch my stool and wash with only water and when i rub my finger it is more acidic like bubbing……i have low appetite from contious 2 months……wat is the problem sir my stool loooks over all ok but it is semisolid and even after taking medicine the condition remain the same

  38. Hello I am writing for my sister who suffers terribly from IBS. Yes you are right all the doctors do is throw medication at her problem for the symptoms and nothing to cure the problem. She has been on a lot of stuff but nothing has helped. I. Feel so badly for her and continue to look for the answer. Perhaps you have that answer. I hope and pray this is the case.

  39. I have had Severe IBS-D for all my life (over 40 yrs) and to say that my life has suffered is an understatement. I have done everything under the stars and have had numerous Barium Enemas and Colonoscopy’s and going for another one next week. The results are always the same and I am thankful that I am getting checked however I really do not want to go for this next one as it is a lot of prep work to go through and then the day itself is stressful and harmful in some ways. I found the Fodmap diet has somewhat helped but nothing significant and immodium is my ‘go to’ med. I have been prescribed anti depressants but refused as it is definitely not the answer. I do not have any other health issues and my weight and height are in sink (meaning not overweight or underweight). I do know my trigger foods and stay away from them but it doesn’t always work either. I am at a loss anymore and so sad. I can’t tell you how much I do not want to go for another colonoscopy and as far as rifaxiam (sorry-spelling) the drug you mentioned) they may be considering that for me. However I had an antibiotic for a root canal 5 yrs ago and was prescribed ‘clyndomicin’ and it gave me C Diff (health practitioner said I was her 3rd one that particular week prescribed with that antibiotic that ended up with C Diff from that drug). Great just what I needed. I have recovered from that within 4 months of diagnosis at the time but boy I would not wish that on anyone. I wish there was an educated medical practitioner that could help….as your article mentioned but I don’t believe one exists. Good luck to anyone with IBS as it takes your quality of life away and we only have one so try to find something positive in your life.

      • The problem is that everyone is different. The cause is different for everyone, and so are results from diets and treatments. What cures one person can severely incapacitate another. (unfortunately I know that one all too well) There are too many things going around the internet, and even in the medical profession that say one thing or another is the ultimate cause, or that one treatment or diet is the ultimate cure. It doesn’t work that way. All we can do is try different things and keep as accurate records on our own symptoms and treatments as possible so that we can come to conclusions about our own personal issues. And hopefully find something that works for us individually.
        I’m certainly still searching.

    • I think you may find Rifaxamin helpful. I’ve had to take it on two occasions. Once after 3 weeks strait of diarrhea along with fatigue, gas/ bloating, brain fog, and bouts of insomnia. After the first dose, (on an empty stomach!) the diarrhea stopped and I quickly fell asleep that night. It was wonderful and the first glimpse that started to show me my life again. I used that and a FODMAP diet to gain control. I think the Rifaxamin dose is usually a 10 days. It shouldn’t “hurt” you by taking it like when you had C-dif. Also keep up with a probiotic while taking the Rifaxamin. I’ve had pretty good success with it. When all else is failing, I say don’t worry about and take it. It is being prescribed by a doctor. It may be the thing that gives you your life back. Best wishes!

      • Thank you Eric.
        Yes my GI Dr did say he thought about Rifaxamin however it was a bit skeptical since having C Diff over 5 yrs ago. He said that I should wait a few more yrs before trying something like this. I am still feeling upset over the C Diff (which I shouldn’t be bitter) but I warned Dr and Pharmacist that I should not take a strong antibiotic especially from my root canal. But I guess these things happen. I appreciate your kind response and wishes. So very thoughtful of you but will definitely keep that in my back pocket. Take care

        • I had C Diff and was put on S. Boulardi and Prescriptassist for a couple of months. Heavy doses. Got rid of it.
          Just an FYI!

      • Thank you and yes because when I had C-Diff they were actually going to do it for me then. However when I seen my GI Dr this Aug he said I wasn’t a candidate because my colonoscopy was really good other than some scaring and aggregates which he assumes is from years of wear and tear and the antibiotic Clyndomicin. No polyps are cancers which is fantastic and no micro colitis or chrons. I may bring it up to him again though as gross as it seems to be it may be a good choice. I stay fit and trim and follow the low fod map diet as much as I can so maybe this is the only alternative. Thanks for bringing that to my attention! Cheers!

  40. Abdomen pain with normal stool – is this IBS? I has gastic flu the end of March, and since then had more good than bad days, however in the last 4 weeks Ive had abdominal pain, not localised or continuous more often than not but daily. Its not constant and not severe, generally feels like trapped gas, bloating slightly. I eat a normal range of foods as I have done, dont drink much alcohol or fizzy drinks and generally stay away from junk food. I have no acid reflux, normal stools.

    I went to the docs and did a stool test this came back normal, he did prescribe 1 week of 20mg Omeprazole twice a day. This made no real difference what I did notice was whilst taking this I felt extreme hunger pains about 2 hrs after eating a large meal. Since stopping the tablets this has reduced this hunger pain after eating quite a bit.

    Im clueless if I have IBS?, tapeworm? gastritis or something else – tempted to try DGL liquorice as Ive heard this works for gastric problems – anyone else had similar symptoms and found out what it is or a solution?

  41. While never officially being diagnosed with IBS (due to embarrassment of ever telling my doctor), I’m certain I had it. I work from home, which made it easier, and with some Imodium, I was usually okay.

    I recently decided to become a vegetarian, mainly for the negative impact of animal livestock on the environment. Within the first week I noticed a huge improvement in my symptoms. It’s now been a month, and I haven’t had any “tummy rumbles”, as my husband puts it politely. I feel 1000% better than before.

    I saw a nutritionist to make sure I was getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals. I mentioned that my previous IBS symptoms had disappeared and she was really impressed. She said that I should eat some greek yogurt to make sure my probiotics were okay, but since I wasn’t having any trouble anymore, I might be okay without it.

    Becoming a vegetarian and cutting out all meats and fish has really made the biggest difference for me. It might not work for everyone, but I cannot tell you how happy I am to have finally discovered what works for me, and it was just as easy as eliminating meat and fish – which was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I was just going to try being a vegetarian for a month or so for the environment, but now I’m sticking with it since I feel so much better. I hope my experience can help someone else.

  42. I have been diagnosed with IBS, and it has become extremely debilitating. But having researched everything I could get my hands on…mine is different.
    Mine started overnight a few years ago. I am currently 57 and never ever had any gastro-intestinal problems previously. I had put my back out and was in very bad pain. Massage didn’t help, and I could not get into see a chiropractor. So I decided to try acupuncture. I know it has helped others. I went to one of the highest rated ones in town. The next day, I started getting nausea and diarrhea. It quickly became severe. After a few days it was not getting better. I spoke to the acupuncturist and he had said that since I seemed to be tolerating the treatment well, he gave me “extras”. So he said my body was cleansing itself of toxins and I would be fine in a few days. That was almost three years ago, and I have never gotten better.
    I had an endoscopy and then a colonoscopy, then a cat scan with dye. Nothing found anything. A zillion blood tests, stool samples…diabetes, celiac…and everything comes back normal. But my life is gone. I can’t travel, I have to be within running distance of a bathroom at all times. I am in constant pain. There are no flare-ups, or periods of remission. It is constant pain and fighing diarrhea. I take medications for the paid and imodium or lomotil for the diarrhea. That lasts for a day or two. I have tried different pro-biotics. You can tell they do something, but they do not help. Work gave up asking why I have to go to the bathroom so many times in a day. I still do my job, but it is very hard.

    I kept a food and symptom diary since almost day one. I have clearly identified the trigger foods, and they will cause instant distress…but no food is safe. The FODMAP diet does not help me at all. I avoid high fibre, leafy greens, and any cooked tomato products. One thing that made sense to me after all my research was the fact that this started the day after the acupuncture. Starting suddenly after age 50…blood being common, yet nothing found in the colonoscopy…overnight alarming weight loss, even without diarrhea…these were some red flags.

    When I researched acupuncture, one of the areas they treat controls the vagus nerve. That nerve is important, but one of the things it does it control digestion. It is just too much of a coincidence that this happened immediately after the acupuncture. I am convinced that the acupuncture damaged the nerve somehow, or at least the way it reacts. How I would prove this, I have no idea. And I have never found anything that would reverse the damage. Avoiding trigger foods helps, but only to a point. The pain medication helps, but again…only to a point. Life still sucks, and probably always will.

    I’d be curious to know if anyone else had this start after acupuncture or nerve damage?

    • I have had IBS for a number of years…. However, receiving acupuncture for IBS specifically, after several sessions, DID MAKE IT WORSE – and also caused other vagus nerve problems, such as heart palpitations… Never had such problems in my life! Finally figured out there must be a correlation and I quit the acupuncture. I have found that peppermint oil is helping me – it is the only medication that has ever helped. My gut is better, after only a few days of the peppermint oil ( IBGard ) and the palpitations are nearly nonexistent. I thought I was crazy, which is what most doctors seem to think of us IBS sufferers anyway – I am very happy you’ve made this correlation as well.
      I hope you may try peppermint oil and see if it is helpful for tour condition, if so then we may be on to something.


      • Thanks Katie. I’m glad that you feel better. Yes, I have tried peppermint oil ( and almost anything else I have heard that might help). It does help with nausea, but doesn’t help the IBS symptoms any unfortunately. My Doctor doesn’t think I’m crazy as he can see the effect this has had on me. But he is at a loss to as there is no reason found so far as something he can actually treat end this. All he can do is treat the symptoms. I did talk to him about my thoughts about the acupuncture causing this. He did find it very interesting, but impossible to prove as the reason. He didn’t discount it though and agreed it might be plausible it had at least some effect because I never had any gut issues before.

        • Sounds like crohn disease… See another doctor , dont like the answers go to another ans another til someone finds cause, u could also be impacted and have looose stool going around impacted mass, adhesions could be another cause… Get a second opinion

          • I do agree that the symptoms sound more like Chrons to me than IBS, but I have seen many Doctors, including two different gastro-enterologists. I had a colonoscopy (although it was a few years ago). They didn’t find anything, so I don’t get another one for 10 years after the first one ( gotta love OHIP). I also had a Cat Scan with dye, and they didn’t see anything either. Obviously things can change, and a chronic condition such as this can cause damage. But seeing another Doctor is something someone in my position has probably already done if at all possible. With the Doctor shortage here, it isn’t always possible for some, but I have at least been able to see others. I’m pretty persistent.

    • Have you tried going back to Accupuncture? I go twice a month and have never had any issues with it. Go to someone new though. One time I went to a bona fide Chinese medicine acupuncturist and it was the worst experience of my life! But I am so sorry nothing is helping you! I know you said you found triggers but have you been able to embrace any healing foods? Sweet potatoes really helped me with my ibs along with taking collagen in tea everyday. Hope you find something that helps

      • Thanks for your comments. Other people have mentioned going back to another acupuncturist as well. To be honest…to me that is kind of like being in a firing squad, having them just wound you, and then telling them to reload and try again. You could say I’m a bit leery to go back 🙂

    • Have you tried a low oxalate diet? a diet high in oxalates has been linked to ibs. I hope you find relief somewhere, for me just cutting out grains and sugar reduced my symptoms greatly.

      • Hello KD. I have tried every diet known to man I think 🙂

        Grains are definitely a problem. I cannot eat whole grains of any kind. Even seeds on a bun will cause trouble. I can only digest plain white bread. I hate plain white bread, but that’s all I can handle. And I do need it. If I stop bread completely, I lose too much weight and can tell I am missing something.

        I have never had a sweet tooth, but some sugar is a necessity. Besides the energy, it gives me much needed calories. I can only eat certain things though. Chocolate Ice Cream has been a Godsend. It helps maintain my weight, is instantly digested, and gives me some energy.

        So I do need both, but have to be very specific in how I get it.

    • Validating acupuncture as a possible onset for IBS-D. I was having acupuncture for neck pain, I’m also late 40’s in age. During this treatment over a few months, I had to discontinue due to severe onset of digestive issues (Had perfect digestive health). Over the next 2.5 years tried everything for SIBO, infection, candida etc. etc. Nothing worked. Recently diagnosed with IBS, took loperamide and it was 100% better. Confirms an overactivity in digestive tract, I believe it is vagus nerve related. Now I wonder if there was damage due to acupuncture – very plausable and interesting! Now how to fix? Any ideas anyone?

      • I don’t think you can fix nerve damage. I have tried every possible remedy no matter how outlandish it sounds. Nothing has ever done anything but ease the symptoms. Some things will kind of reset things, but it just goes back to full onslaught of all the symptoms within a few days. I swear if someone ever does find a cure for this I’ll give them an American Strat and a Marshall!

        • Iodine and magnesium help with nerve damage (see a naturopathic practitioner). There is a medication called gabapentin or neurotin that helps with pain from nerve damage

          • B12 is THE go-to for any sort of nerve damage, not iodine or magnesium. And gabapentin or neurontin (or “neu-rotin” as you more appropriately called it), are worthless as all they do is temporarily suppress symptoms, until the freakin’ pill wears off and you have to take another one.

            B12. You’re welcome.

    • Hi Lynn! This is absolutely terrible. Your story touched me. I cannot imagine living like that. I truly hope you find an answer, never stop searching.

    • I used to have terrible diarrea ( for 10 years) due to a parasitic infection, but finally got relief going gluten free etc and taking appropriate herbs. Do a food Intolerance test ( infections cause disruption of gut functionality IMHO) , are not the initial cause so to speak in many cases…but still needs to be dealt with. It’s hard work to restore bowel function, but it can be done, even though it may remain a slightly weaker area. Best go to see a Naturopath who studied nutrition, Herbal Medicine and Chinese Medicine. Start drinking raspberry leaf tea for instance ( minor aid)…

  43. I have had IBS all of my life – mother had it – IBS-D and two of the three of my siblings have IBS-C – I tend to take after my mother – Over the years, all of my docs have mostly shrugged their shoulders when I listed my symptoms and poo-pooed (sorry about the pun) my requests for a referral to a gastro doc – my latest doc won’t refer me until I practice meditation as I told her that stress really exacerbates my IBS – as for food diaries – well – been there done that and what would not cause my IBS one day will trigger it the next. I have found that relying on anti-diarrheal pills at the onset mostly nips my diarrhea in the butt (sorry again for the pun) – have even toyed with the idea of taken anti-diarrheals prophylactively. (I can hear your screams.) So there’s that. Thanks for even asking for feedback on this – most people don’t want to talk about this.

  44. You can’t rely on a regular fecal sample, you need a functional medicine practitioner to order a comprehensive stool sample from a lab like Genova Labs. I prefer the CDSA plus parasitology Purge/ Random test. This will show good bacteria levels and possible pathogenic “bad” bacteria levels. Some of the bad bacteria are actually fine if they’re at a small level but if your good bacteria collapses and the bad bacteria have an overgrowth, that can be a pathogenic level. Western medicine doesn’t consider many of the bacteria pathogenic, but they will still cause symptoms. This lab will show all of that and it will have different substances sensitivity towards a bad bacteria overgrowth. They explain the results and explain everything and offer suggested solutions for the practitioner to discuss with they explain the results and explain everything and offer suggestive solutions for the practitioner to discuss with you. They also offer a delayed reaction and immediate reaction food sensitivity test with a 6 month rotation diet to desensitize you from certain of your food sensitivities. Find a good functional medicine practitioner to help.

    • Do they give u a food rotation diet as well.. i react to most of the thing on the igg test .. dont know what to eat to keep up my weight, keep symptoms at bay

  45. I’ve had IBS-D and Acid Reflux since I was a teen. I’m now 33. For some unknown reason two years ago I became extremely sick. I was up all night vomiting and extreme diarrhea. I did this almost nightly for 8 months. During these episodes I would “pass out”. I thought so anyways. Long story short my husband, whom works nights, happened to be home and see. It’s seizures. I went to the hospital for fluids and potassium 4 times and to a GI Doctor several times. He told me it was stress due to having a disabled child. It is not! Once my husband witnessed the seizures, I was put on Dilantin and Thank God, have not done that again! But, I still have a lot of symptoms. I lost 45 lbs during that time. My symptoms now are still diarrhea (which will not stop! even when nothing is left, I will still cramp and have a small about of bright yellow stuff), nausea, and vomiting every single time my bowel cramps get bad. I also have extreme fatigue, Brian fog, intention tremors, itchy/crawling feeing all over my body, pain in my head, neck, and shoulders, tingling in my hands and sometimes toes. Sometimes I get a tight feeling on my stomach that feels like o have on a gurgle. I’ve had every test possible. MRI of my head was clean, EEG was clean, CT of my stomach was clean, many blood test have been ok. Fecal sample, colonoscopy, endoscopy. All ok.. gallbladder function test was 98%. I’ve been on Xifaxin, Librax, Bental, Zoloft.. None helped. The only help I’ve found is to take Imodium 1 to 3 times a day to keep my stool solid so I don’t get going so bad, Zantac before every meal because PPI’s cause severe cramps. I also take verapamil and Dilantin. The verapamil is for MVP. When I start getting sick my heart rate goes extremely high, this medicine has really helped me not have so many tachycardia episodes. No doctor cares to figure out why I’m suddenly so sick. They do a few test and then are done. One even says, well this is just above my pay grade and wants to send me on. The Neuro I went to didn’t even touch me. He said if my scans were clean (which he didn’t look at, just took the GP word for it), then take depakote because he didn’t like Dilantin. I did that and it made me shake even worse. So they put me back on Dilantin. The only way I can be somewhat normal now is the meds and I have a very limited diet. No raw veg or fruit, no popcorn, nuts, fiber foods, dairy other than lactose free, onions, garlic.. Any of these things and I’m up all night extremely sick and in pain. The only thing my doc said was that I had a little inflammation in the ileum? May not say that right and some somewhere else. A lot of bile also. He said all was normal and that’s it. I do not feel very normal. I am so sick of being sick! I have a 12 year old with non verbal autism and a 10 year old typical son. I also have a fantastic husband. This isn’t stress. My life isn’t perfect but, it’s pretty darn good! ☺️ I just suddenly “went down”. And I can not get back. I literally have to nap every single day. Between 1pm and 5pm I can’t hardly think and I feel like I weigh a ton. I can’t go on, (even with coffee) with out sleeping for at least 30 min. I was not someone who naps before this.. It annoys me so much. I just wish I could get answers. Right now I live day to day on meds. I wear sea bands for nausea every day..
    Sorry so long.. Just so fed up!

    • I should add, Doctor also placed a Merina IUD. Just by chance that it was hormone related. Since I do seem most symptomatic with my cycle. It’s been 6 months and this hasn’t changed anything.

      • Sounds like a severe food allergy. Have you had food allergy testing? Also, don’t eat wheat or gluten as they irritate the gut lining. Get a stool test to see what the flora in your intestines is like. Sounds like you have trouble digesting polysaccharides. You need to see an excellent Integrative Medicine GI doctor. Gerald Mullin at Johns Hopkins or Dr. Farshid Sam Rahbar in Beverly Hills, CA could help you. You may have genetic issues related to your Intestines. Also, Stanford University Hospital has a new department called the Center for Human Microbiome Studies…you should call them to see if you can become a part of their study. I have volunteered myself. I have not been able to balance my gut flora for 7 years and have systemic tissue fungal overgrowth and hyphal fungus lining my stomach and intestines. Perhaps you have issues with Oxalates. I would get to a Functional/Integrative Medicine MD because the regular GI doctors don’t always have the answers because of what they didn’t learn in school. They aren’t taught to figure out why the person is having problems, they only are symptom based medicine where they treat with drugs…and some are very bad for humans. You genetically may have a problem in the gut.

        • Thank you for the information. I’ve had a fecal sample and they said it was fine.. The blood test for gluten was ok also. I haven’t thought about going to an allergist. Maybe that should be my next route. I appreciate you mentioning that. I have almost completely lost my sense of smell and taste and at times I loose it completely for a month or more. I went to an ear nose and throat doctor and he scoped my sinuses and said it was all fine. I don’t want anything big deal but, I have to say I’m quite tired of Nos.. Something has to be going on. They just don’t seem concerned. It’s crazy to me! I’m in Tennessee. I may just need to branch out father. Like Vanderbuilt. That’s 4 hours from me. I may try the allergist next though. Being rural is something I’ve always loved, until now..

          • The only test I’ve had that had any kind of results, and I’ve had a ton of different blood testing done, was blood sugar. But, just twice in the two years I’ve been sick. When this all first started I called my mother in law to help me. I had passed out. Which I now know was a seizure. But, we didn’t know then. She checked my sugar with her monitor and it was 230ish. I went the next day and they did an A1C. It was normal. I started checking it after that and never saw anything or of a normal range again. Then later on a doctor took my blood to test my thyroid and a few other things. They called me and said all was fine except my blood sugar was 32! They were telling me to watch that and seemed very worried. Again, I’ve been testing it and I have had nothing but, normal results! It’s usually 80 in the mornings and around 100-120 after meals. I have checked two hours after meals for reactive issues and it’s still normal.. It’s very strange. Maybe they both were just flukes but, it’s the only thing that’s shown up on any testing..

            • You could have an autoimmune disease too! Have you ever heard of Diabetes 1.5? It happens later in life where the immune system attacks the pancreas. You would have to find a Dr. who knows the special blood tests to check for it….this maybe what you might have. I forgot what the test is called…Antigen something. Most PCP’s, like mine had never heard about it…maybe the specialists have like an Endocrinologist. Try eating more Paleo meals, with less grains because the gut lining gets irritated by grains and inflammatory foods. Bone broth is great for healing the gut. Just trying to help. Something is irritating your immune system, possibly.

          • You could be a non celiac gluten sensitive person like myself. I have the HLA DQ2 gene. An Integrative medicine MD will know how to check for gluten sensitive individuals. Regular western Medicine MD’s do a celiac test but have to have been eating wheat, gluten foods for the test to show anything.
            The stool tests that were done…who did them? Western or Integrative Medicine? Do you have a parasite? Integrative Medicine is who you should go for for those tests. Also, have you ever had any lyme disease testing? Do you have Candida? Lots to look into as well.

          • Zinc deficiency will cause a loss of smell and taste. I don’t know about the rest, if you’re having trouble with food you might not be absorbing enough zinc. Zinc orotate is the best absorbed

      • I because sick after a Mirena coil was fitted. I became absolutely suicidal just before my period. Doctor insisted it couldn’t be Mirena because hormone dose was so low but she removed it and immediately all symptoms disappeared. Small things can have a huge impact on some people. I have IBS-D since antibiotics in my 20s .. nothing seems to fix it permanently. One thing that did help which took me years of trying every diet under the sun, was cutting out anything raw.. especially salad. It makes sense – vegetables are high in roughage and clearly my gut couldn’t tolerate it.

    • Please research histamine intolerance / mast cell activation / mastocytosis. You may find answers. Good luck.

      • I looked in to some of those foods with high histamine and every single one of those foods make me sick! I can not handle processed meats like lunch meat or hotdogs at all! Hmm.. I don’t drink fermented drinks and have not been able to eat anything fermented my whole life. Any think like wine gives me bowel issues and really bad neck pain.. I’ll read more in to that! The symptoms are very similar! I stay stuffy and cough and can smell and taste very little. I’ll have to see if I’m eating anything like that still. I don’t feel like I do, but I’m going to be reading more now.. Thanks so much for this.. Y’all don’t know how much I appreciate any and all possible help! My doctor leans towards MS and I was too. I don’t want it to be that but, at this point.. ?? So, I hope these things y’all have listed can give me answers..

        • Also look up Yasmina Ykelenstam, The Low Histamine Chef. Her blog has helped me beyond belief. She suffers from histamine intolerance and has learned through her journey to heal herself with food containing high antihistamine and anti inflammatory properties, along with herbs containing same properties. The information I’ve learned from her blog has helped me tremendously. It was overwhelming initially. Take it one day at a time. Best wishes.

        • Britt, you can reverse autoimmune diseases and put them into remission by changing the way you eat. Get Sarah Ballantyne’s Book and Cookbook. Costco carries them…”The Paleo Approach” and her two new cookbooks. Please get the diet a try. I notice for myself i am sensitive to polysaccharide foods (bloat and gas), oxalates (spinach, nuts, etc.) and histamine foods (like wine, yogurt) It has to do with not being breast fed and not eating a healthy nutrient dense diet long ago, grains, sugars etc. and not eating any probiotic foods. It takes 18 years from birth to develop a complete immune system in the gut and mothers milk starts the process of all the good bacteria forming in our intestines. Over time with being given antibiotics as a child and teen and adulthood, the good bacteria was destroyed. I had Mitral valve prolapse and was told to take the antibiotics before and after dental appointments, I also, had a misdiagnosed tick infection back around the same time in 1990-92. I was put on Cipro and clindamycin antibiotics that wiped out everything and was never told to take probiotics after wards. The candida infection I got in 1989 must have come from a combination of things, antibiotics, not being breast fed, getting a parasite (blastocystis hominis in the colon) and being bit by a tick from hiking and jogging at the nearby county parks (and not even knowing this until 24 years later). Its been a nightmare for me too! Medicine is so far behind on things its sad for some of us who have lived a poor quality of life, because of Medicine’s greed. The FDA, and pharmaceutical company’s have been not much help with this…but I think now there are so many miserable and sick people with gut dysbiosis due to over prescribing antibiotic usage in the past, they now have to find a cure.

    • Sounds like you don’t have the right good bacteria in your gut and possibly have SIBO. Can you have a breath hydrogen test to check for this? Also, Dr. Pimental at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles can help you with this, hopefully.
      Chronic stress early on in ones life suppresses HCL acid…taking PPI’s and OTC drugs for heartburn will suppress HCL production…this will set you up for not digesting your food properly and thus a bacterial overgrowth.

    • Have them check you for MS. These are my same symptoms. I finally had a spinal tap done and they found oblicolonal band “o bands” and it was MS. This was after years of searching, hurting, 10 colonoscopies, numerous doctors endocrinologist and ALL the signs were there.

    • So sorry to read about your condition. I have IBS-D and have been researching and trying various things. One thing that has helped me tremendously is Metagenics Candibactrin AR and BR. These supplements, when taken several times daily help a great deal for me. I found a study that was done with these herbal products against Riflaxamin and the herbs had better results. Also many parasite tests will come back negative even when a person is infected. I am currently doing a diatomaceous earth cleanse just in case I have parasites. It’s all natural and high in silica. I know you have probably tried everything under the sun but maybe one of these things would help you.

  46. I have been diagnosed with Blastocystis hominis. I’m wondering how Dr Kresser would treat this. I’m not wanting to go on antibiotics as I think I have leaky gut and fear that would make it worse. I am hoping there may be a more natural way of treating it with western or chinese herbs. Thanks.

  47. I can’t believe the amount of people suffering with this disease. Many years ago people including myself did not have this problem, when water was pure and the air and food were clean. What happened? Well I don’t think it is any one thing that is a cure but perhaps a few things can help believe me I know after having suffered with IBS-C for many years now turning into IBS-D. Hypersensitivies are an issue but finding the right probiotics, herbs, supplements can be the biggest hurdle. Not all supplements and products are created equal. Some are just plain bad and a few should win an award. Here are some things I have found that have really helped.
    (American Biologics Micro Plex Probiotic Powder), Juicing Greens daily, Aloe Vera Georges Juice & Cape Aloe Powder from Africa, Yoghurt (White Mountain or Mountain High) mix micro plex powder in and eat daily, American Ginsing, Ginger, Peppermint, Pau d’ Arco, Magnesium Malate (still looking for a good one since mine was discontinued of many years), and if all else fails Chinese Herbs and combinations for stomach disorders. Eat small means and live food daily, lots of fresh water and stay active. Good luck beautiful people!

  48. I mentioned ARD (adhesion related disorders) earlier. Adhesions can be caused by many things. One of which is endometriosis, which is very underdiagnosed.

    I used to think that it had been ruled out in my case since I had my uterus removed, and also had had an exploratory laparoscopy a couple of decades ago. And a myomectomy with a large incision that I know really made my adhesions worse.

    There is a lot of information on Endometriosis Awareness out lately. There are also a lot of long held myths about it- what causes it, how it should be treated, or that menopause or pregnancy will eliminate it. The more that I learn about it, and the more that I read about the many symptoms that so many women have, I am seriously thinking that I actually do have it. And maybe PCOS- I developed severe cystic acne after what I believe was a burst ovarian endometrioma or dermoid cyst which can cause pain that can be even more severe than a burst appendix. But I was immediately thrown under the IBS bus at my very first Dr appointment after it happened- no tests or anything was done. PCOS and endo often occur together.

    It sounds like the average gynecologist is not very good at diagnosing and treating these things. Like in my older sister’s case, where all of the emphasis was on fibroids. She wasn’t diagnosed with endometriosis until she had an ectopic pregnancy. Since I never had the chance to even try and get pregnant (I was too miserable to even consider it) I don’t think that any gynecologist really put much effort into finding it. Now that I am in menopause and don’t have a uterus, gynecologists have no interest in seeing me.

    From what I have read, there are very few surgeons who have the proper skills to diagnose and treat it. Endo can have many different appearances, it can hide throughout various organs outside of the reproductive tract where most gynecologists are not comfortable dealing with, and the only effective treatment is excision surgery- but most gynecologists don’t excise it and the endo comes right back. They just remove the surface. Endometriosis causes adhesions which also need to be addressed but many surgeons only deal with the endo lesions.

    I have read that endometriosis is very often misdiagnosed as IBS, which would explain why a larger percentage of women get the IBS diagnosis than men.

    • Endometriosis is classified as an autoimmune disease. You can purchase, Sarah Ballantyne’s “Paleo Approach” book at Costco, Amazon, etc. also her cookbooks to put autoimmune disease in remission. Autoimmune disease is related to leaky gut. You need to heal the gut to put autoimmune disease in remission.

    • I hear you 11 years of Endo, adeno, IBS. Last year, worsening skin/food reactions and 5 episodes of overnight vomiting marathons that needed up with finding masses at the bottom of my small intestine. Bowel reaction was advised and I asked for a GYN to be there as I was pretty sure Endo was also back enough, as 10 years since last lap. Yep, Endo back in force AND it turned out the masses were Endo through and in the bowel lining in 2 areas. No on picked up on it prior to surgery although I pointed out to every specialist that at least 3/5 vomiting episodes were on day 2. Now? I haven’t felt this good in 11 years, my digestion is better than I can ever remember it good luck with your journey

  49. Does anyone have experience with Rifiximin, and whether it kills good bacteria causing GI issues? I have Ulcerative Colitis, which is in remission, but I also have strep and staph bacteria in my guts and my integrative doc wants me to try Rifiximin. I’m scared, because two years ago a round of amoxicillin for strep throat threw me into the worse colitis scare ever. It was awful, can’t go back there. …

    • Please try Metagenics Candibactrin AR and BR before trying Riflaxamin. It’s herbal and has been studied in a controlled test to outperform Riflaxamin…no drugs is better! My chiropractor keeps me in good Supply of the stuff. I feel so much better when I’m taking it. It kills bacteria overgrowth just like Riflaxamin but better. Do some research on Riflaxamin versus Candibactrin. 🙂

  50. I have been diagnosed with IBS-C, and exactly like you said, it was a diagnosis that came from ruling everything else out. My doctor suggested it was an imbalance between a fast digestion, and a slow bowel. Which equals an insane amount of bloating. A year of visits to a naturopathic Doctor pointed to dysbiosis and leaky gut, (based on my insanely low iron and B12 levels), which we treated. Then we thought it was low acid production (I took Zantac for 20+ years and only stopped after adopting a paleo diet). Then it was gluten intolerance (which I still have but control with my paleo diet). Then it was FODMAP intolerances, which persist to this day, but are reduced. Ultimately, the best way I have found to control, and hopefully eventually cure, is through a ketogenic paleo diet. The low amount of ‘fibre’ foods has not been a problem, in fact, after a 2 week adjustment period, bathroom trips have completely normalized without the use of magnesium–something that never happened on a typical paleo diet (I think I was severely overdoing it on the veggies before). The diet naturally keeps my injestion of FODMAP foods at a low and tolerable level. A ketogenic-paleo diet is naturally free of most irritants to the gut. And perhaps, if continued long term, it may even slowly starve off the SIBO which may also be present. For the first time in many, many years there is no 2pm bloat. I am so, so happy with the success!

    • I get very bad pains in my stomach I can’t Handel the. Pain it sometimes wakes me up out of my sleep . Always happens in late hours at nite really scary. I have been dignosed. With ibs

      • Try not to eat late at night and try to figure out which foods agree with you and those that don’t. It’s a long process but you might want to also look into a few things like probiotics, HCl and digestive enzymes. Read about the microbiome and how to balance the good guys. But most importantly, avoid processed anything. Good luck!

  51. I have lived with IBS for 3 years. Was told by my DR. more fiber and less stress. Funny thing is I am under no stress, More fiber really gets the IBS acting up big time. I stay constipated. He gave me Linzess 290mg for that plus I am on a probiotic and 40mg Prilosec twice a day. Had H.pylori and a none functioning Gallbladder at the same time. the removed the gallbladder and that’s when everything went crazy. he did endoscope and colonoscopy and said ge junction and lining of stomach was inflamed that’s when I was given the Prilosec. then I kept sick and was none stop going to the bathroom and sick on my stomach and in pain. he then said you have IBS that was without running anymore test. this all happen over a span of 3 years. now he says “I THINK YOU ARE LACTOSE INTOLERANT” but has never run any test. he does not ever run the blood test he is suppose to run while you are taking the Prilosec to make sure my magnesium or potassium is not low. was having pain and spasm in my arms and my joints hurt and my legs it was my pharmaces who told me I was probably had low magnesium so he showed me the ones to try and within a couple of days the pain stops. My gastrologist does not seem to want to do anything he just says “I THINK” and tells you do this or do that and leaves the room you have to run after him to ask him questions. so I hope they come up with something. Anyone have any advice for me I could so use it.

    • Western Medicine doctors don’t look at the body as a whole. They don’t really know nutrition either. You would need a team to help you like an Integrative Medicine Gastroenterologist and perhaps a registered Holistic nutritionist to help you to feel better.
      You may have a bacterial overgrowth that needs to be diagnosed through a breath hydrogen test and then taking the necessary items to improve your digestion would be paramount. You’re not digesting your food well so you get an overgrowth of bacteria and this irritates the gut lining.
      You may need digestive enzymes, ox bile and probiotics. Getting a stool test done can help to figure out the mystery too! Western Medicine GI doctor’s don’t test the stools for an imbalance in gut flora only Functional/Integrative Medicine MD’s do.
      Hope this helps!

      • Also the Prilosec which i believe is an acid suppressor, a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) is going to mess up your digestion as you need Hydrochloric acid to digest your food. You will have a real problem if you take any acid suppressing over the counter products. God created us to have HCL acid to break down our food in the stomach first if we don’t have this function, parasites won’t be killed either when they enter the stomach from our food.

    • Your pain/problem sounds just like mine. I can’t eat out. I can’t travel any more cause there aren’t bathrooms close enough and I get very sick and my back hurts and my brain works very slow. I lose my temper which I never do. It isn’t stress. The last 7 years I’v been in so much pain. My stomach is huge and I have lost weight. I have tried and done everything and I can’t get it figured out. Doctors don’t help. I’ve been through every test. They don’t even put a name to it. I just call it IBS. I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  52. I am still trying to figure out how I got Candida. 25+ years ago I went to Puerto Vallarta on vacation, ate some Ceviche in a restaurant, had intestinal cramping and pain. I saw my PCP who referred me to a GI doctor and that Dr. tried to perform a sigmoidoscopy on me back around 1992. I was literally screaming and in pain from him inserting the scope up my rectum. I vaguely remember seeing two Holistic doctors and taking Pao D’arco tea. I came across an invoice from one of them that mentioned something about probiotics….which I don’t think I took. Its hard to remember. But I do remember being diagnosed with Candida. I went on the Candida diet and I thought I was cured…..20 years later I saw a Functional Medicine doctor that did a thorough inspection of me with stool tests and blood work. She found Blastocystis Hominis in my stools. I am wondering why western medicine doesn’t think this is a threat?
    So what happened over that time, thinking I was cured, I drank wine excessively to reduce my anxiety. I know today that the chronic candida, drinking the alcohol, eating gluten, taking NSAID’s, advil (for menstrual cramps) all contributed to a severe leaky gut and my anxieties. Adrenal exhaustion, etc.
    I now barely hanging on for me life….as mainstream mediacine doesn’t acknowledge that a person can have Candida overgrowth…and it has spread into my tissues and I am severely nutritionally deficient…which has been affecting my liver function. I can’t take anything that feeds fungus, like B vitamins, which helps me to methylate things through the liver.
    I don’t know what to do anymore…and am so sad that the technology and explanation for something so simple as getting a parasitic infection would cause me my life. Back around the time when I was diagnosed with Candida, I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, EBV, and Cytomegalovirus (all diagnosed) I also had both of the Herpes viruses too. I was never breast fed, given antibiotics for various infections, acne, and MVP (mitral valve prolapse). Growing up in the 60’s, and 70’s I wasn’t fed a nutrient dense diet. If have one of the HLA genes (DQ-2) for gluten sensitivity. I ate a lot of Karo syrup on my waffles and pancakes.
    I am so so sad how things turned out for me. I guess I was just born at the wrong time…that’s my only explanation.
    I wish someone out there could help me but I think at this point there may not be any help.
    Thank you for being here to help others through your struggles….I am doing the same for others too!
    Blessings to you all.
    Chris, do you know to break through Candida Biofilm? I have hyphal fungus lining my stomach and intestines….I can’t seem to destroy it. Any suggestions? Please help. Perhaps Dr. Schweig might offer a suggestion too!

  53. I was told I had IBS 3 years ago. I have tried various anti-depressants, Bently, Accuputure, Hyponosis, Cognitive therapy, Fod-map diets, surgery to remove lesions with know relief.

  54. I have had IBS symptoms for more than 10 years, but have not been officially diagnosed because my doctor believes it’s purely “in the mind”.
    I’ve just had my water tested (because of these symptoms) and It apparently has very high levels of coliform bacteria and needs to be treated. This was also the case when it was last tested two years ago. I’m now wondering if it’s possible for coliform bacteria (and low levels of E.Coli) to cause chronic IBS/SIBO? I’m not finding much on that online, but it would be wonderful if fixing the water contamination could help.

    Thanks for all the helpful articles! It’s very heartening to find such a wealth of information on SIBO, IBS and general health.

  55. I thought I had celiac, but recently had the breath test for SIBO and it was positive. After doing some research, I decided to forego the antibiotics and go the diet, supplement, and functional neurologist route. Am better, but still have problems with too many bowel movements and some gut discomfort. I am doing the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) with modifications for the foods I’ve tested positive for through allergy testing. Has anyone used the FODMAP diet for SIBO? I’m wondering how they compare.

  56. Hi,
    I suffered from IBS for more than ten years. Tried virtually everything mentioned in the article. Nothing worked. I have a BMI of 20 and excersise everyday.
    Stopped consuming refined sugar – that is absolutely everything and anything that has refined sugar – IBS stopped almost immediately and I am still completely free after three months. I do not remember ever feeling this well. My diet is very omnivore BT leaning to eating plenty of saturated fats, cheese, butter, cream etc. weight stays the same whatever I eat now that there is no refined sugar in my diet.

  57. Hi

    I am 43 and have had digestion issues for more than 20 years – getting steadily worse. I cut out gluten about 15 years ago, which I could never go back to now as the effects are so severe, but there is still quite a bad reaction to almost any food. Some foods consistently cause problems (like nuts, seeds, dairy, more recently even avocado, etc) so I avoid them. Other foods cause problems in combination with the rest of my condition (e.g. if I am tired or stressed). The only foods that seem to be safe for me at any time are vegetables, salads, and mung sprouts, so these do form a large proportion of my diet. Tofu is usually fine as well, so is quinoa, and white basmati rice if I don’t have it too often. Good diet for nutrients, but not so balanced and not great for weight – I am underweight anyway, which is not really improved when I eat a lot (I just feel more ill), but I do lose more when I eat too lightly.

    What I get is a sense of bloating (which feels much worse than it looks) either in my upper gut, or around and below the navel – sometimes one leading to the other. It is accompanied by a feeling of weakness, sometimes breathlessness, and often a tight ache round the back of my skull.

    I have tried several probiotics, which have not helped, and enzymes & bitters, which sometimes help a little bit but not much.

    Any thoughts on how to address this further?

    • My symptoms are remarkably similar to yours (except anxiety as well sometimes), and I am 48, and its been going on for 20-25 years, I had some CSDAP (or whatever its called) done, which found some dysbiosis, and I have been taking so many anti-microbials, and large doses of probiotics for months, now and still no improvement per se.

      It seems there are many underlying causes, and lot of current treatment protocols are either based on conjecture or theory rather than science, but sadly there is no other recourse than try whatever can be tried in the hope that something may work…

      • Thanks for sharing this TK. Since writing it, I have taken a new approach and it seems to be really helping.
        For years, I have been worried about all the foods I can’t eat and how my diet has been getting more and more limited. I did a lot of research about what could help (nothing did) and about what sorts of foods are the health-promoting – but some of them gave me bad symptoms.
        So I tried a different approach, really trying to listen to my body. I went on a very simple diet for a while, and found that in my case, it was raw fruits and vegetables and sprouts and sea vegetables that were really good for me and when I stuck to the diet, my problems were significantly reduced. Now I eat this diet – supplemented by a nutritional shake every day (and actually I think this is the only thing that is a problem for me in what I am eating now – I think because it is full of protein and fibre – I am using Living Fuel, but might switch soon to something like Green Vibrance without all the extra stuff).
        And what I found was good for my digestion is not what I would have thought. For example, nuts and seeds are supposed to be such a good natural source of protein and fat and nutrients – especially when sprouted, but my body just can’t deal with them. It is sad to be losing their nutritional value, but I guess I wouldn’t be benefiting from that anyway if my body was rejecting them.
        Hope this is useful.

  58. I struggled with IBS symptoms for seven years and it was progressively getting worse. Medications did not seem to help and even with a food diary, I was unable to pinpoint particular food sensitivities. Finally, a year ago, I tried the FODMAP diet. Bingo! As long as I avoid the foods on the list, I am symptom free! No meds! Wheat and corn are the biggest triggers, but several of the fruits and veggies on the list are problematic as well. The diet is restrictive but definitely worth it!

  59. Some people I know with IBS tend to eat very quickly and they don’t chew their food much either. While this isn’t an underlying condition, it certainly doesn’t help.

  60. I have Type 1 diabetes and suffered from IBS for years until I realised which foods were causing it for me. In my case it was chick peas and palm oil. I believe that many people who think they cannot tolerate wheat are actually unable to tolerate palm oil. As son as they give up commercially produced wheat products (cakes, biscuits, etc) and dairy (commercially produced ice cream), they also give up palm oil because most manufacturers use palm oil these days. Palm oil is a relatively new element in the Western diet, and its introduction coincides with the epidemic of “gluten/wheat intolerance”.

    • I have been diagnosed with MS in 2005. I have IBS, as well as colitis and kidney problems. I think some how they all just tiee together. But I have found that since I have given up dairy, it has made a big difference. Also I can’t eat fast foods. I try to eat healthy!

  61. Hi, lve got Crohns and lve started on a gluten free diet been on it for 7 weeks and different supplements that my Holistic Doctor said to take as lve got leaky gut, Crohns and early parkinsons. lve been on Gluten free for 7 weeks and had loose stools all that time. lve had to reduce my Crohns medication which now im off, My doctor said with all the herbs and gluten free diet lm on my inflammation should heel and bowel and leaky gut be under control. lm just not sure about all this as lve had a few pains and am running to the toilet more since lve stopped taking sulfasalazine. Dont know if l should go back on my medication or wait and see what happens. How long does it take for loose stools to go back to normal. Regards Gaye

  62. The doctors talked to me 5 minutes and decided it was IBS, telling me there is nothing to do, just continue to avoid the food that gives you the symptoms… My Naturopath thinks it’s Candidadis infection and / or SIBO, and I’ve been doing both diet simultaneously (for 3 years now) and it really helped but the moment I try to reintegrate some of the foods (ie fruits, even the ones the SIBO accepts) it all comes back. My feeling is leeky gut, because I don’t digest food properly (undigested food in my stools) and even after a really good meal, well balance, no intolerance food in it, lots of lean protein, I feel weak and starving and loose muscle mass… The only thing that as helped so far is taking the Intestinal Pack form Metagenic that helps restore gut permeability. I want it to be done with. I want to be healed! Any ideas?

    • I have the same problem and I am pretty sure it’s leaky gut and SIBO. I also suspect low stomach acid and dysfunctional enzymes from pancreas and gall bladder (that has been confirmed by stool analysis). The only thing that seems to help is avoiding most fats and anything processed. I sometimes take probiotics and digestive enzymes but I should do it more regularly I think. There are definitely some foods that aggravates this condition, even some fruits and vegetables (ripe bananas, some night shade veggies). Green apples help with my acid reflux.

  63. My gastroenterologist is Head of the Dept in our only hospital in Grass Valley CA.
    He refused to even try to treat my very severely painful gut, not once but twice.
    I am so disgusted by American doctors, I can barely contain it. I think they want us to die, seriously.

  64. I have been diagnosed with IBS. My doctor has suggested no wheat or gluten…which I have been following for months now. He also has suggested certain fruits and vegetables I should not eat…..like apples, watermelon, peaches, cherries, cauliflower, beans and lentils , to name a few. He also has me taking a papyaya enzyme. I’m on cholestyramine . Once a day. I get a lot of pain in my right side only and recenlty had a CT f abdomen, with no findings. I’m now scheduled for colonoscopy. I’m not really sure what’s going on. I really don’t like meds and squally get the prescription filled and never open the bottles…..

  65. I have found (by trial and error) that when my IBS flares up, probiotics help to diminish or eradicate my symptoms…at least for a while. I have also learned to avoid my triggers: stress, coffee, high-fat foods, and overeating. I was on SSRIs for a while, but that didn’t seem to help.

  66. Suffering from ibs for almost 10 years. Sugar definitely is not good for me. Taking a lots of supplements , oregano oil helps. Read a book of jini pathel and her protocol of ibs she recommends going for two weeks on a liquid diet to heal the intestines. If anyone knows about that please let me know, also looking for a good naturopath in the Miami fl area.

  67. Two years ago my family went on a trip out of the country to work in an impoverished area. I got severely ill there and thought we cured it with antibiotics. After coming back, I continued with fever, chills, and gut pain and was misdiagnosed with IBS from a GI doctor who wouldn’t take the time to listen. After getting severely sick again after 7 months of little help, an infectious disease doctor determined that I had e-coli from the water. We fixed this with Xifaxan, but I continued to have unexplained gut pain. A new GI doctor diagnosed me with SIBO and leaky gut. We have done multiple treatments with Xifaxan but the SIBO returns a month later. I have started working with a functional medicine doctor who found that I also have dysbiosis, candida, and was having malabsorption issues. He has had me on heavy duty probiotics, HCL and digestive enzymes, glutamine, fish oil, magnesium, and vitamin D and B. We have done anti-microbial and homemade elemental diet treatment for the SIBO, but I have relapsed. We are now seeking a more specialized functional medicine doctor that can do more extensive diagnostics to determine a more extensive protocol that prevents relapse. We will persist until I beat this!

    • Tiffany,

      I also get better with herbals but then a month later I seem to relapse as well. Can you keep us updated with your treatment? Love to hear what they find.

  68. I have IBS-C (suspect SIBO based on symptoms) and have for more than 20 years. The only thing that relieves the pain and bloating and helps me to go is magnesium citrate. Until I can figure out how to get rid of IBS, I couldn’t live without magnesium. I noticed recently after taking a round of antibiotics for an ear infection that my IBS symptoms stopped. I can’t get my doc to prescribe a round or Rifaximin, so I’m going to try the herbal route. Thanks for all the information you provide Chris and commenters!

  69. Not to be heretic on purpose, but thought I’d add my experience with IBS due to SIBO as a reminder to think outside of the box, too, no matter how logical the box may seem.

    I’ve had symptoms of IBS-C for about 10 years. The worst part was the constant bloating in reaction to food, the second worst the constipation, but fluid retention and a low-grade mood change that was proportionate to the other symptoms sucked, too.

    Over the years I’ve been repeatedly tested for anything and everything to do with the gut, I’ve consulted with so many practitioners, including functional health docs and some of the well-known authors of books you may have read. I’ve been gluten free all along, SCD for many months, strict and dogmatic paleo for years, then PHD (perfect health diet/Chris Kresser-ish paleo. VLC all along by apparent necessity, as carbs seemed to be the worst culprit. I’ve used synthetic and herbal antimicrobials, antifungals etc. All to no avail. The only test that was really positive for anything tangible was a test for fungal overgrowth and SIBO (methane-positive).

    The only result from the above was low adrenal function, very poor conversion of thyroid hormones, fatigue, weight gain and allergies, and with many of the proposed dietary changes, increased symptoms (and no,

    Then I read Norm Robillard’s book and familiarized myself with his concept of fermentation potential. As per his charts I realized that as he states, Jasmine rice and – wait for it- white bread (as in a baguette) had the lowest fermentation potentials.

    During a recent a trip to Europe I also saw healthy, happy, slender people eating bread, pizza etc and decided once and for all to stop eating with my head and follow my gut (pun intended) instead. The result: I haven’t felt better in years! Bloating gone, energy up. I eat several slices of white bread every day, Jasmine rice and wheat pasta with no symptoms. My energy is so much better from finally consuming carbohydrates (per Promethease snp testing I’m not very good at gluconeogenesis).

    I still can’t eat fiber, so I’m basically on what you might call a low-residue diet, and yes, I do worry about my colonic gut bugs because of it. However, I am decidedly more healthy this way than I was while dogmatically following health experts, and I couldn’t be happier to finally have found a way not to be bloated and feel bad every day. I have lost over 10 lbs in less than 2 months and am finally at my pre-symptom set weight.

    Just a reminder to remain open- minded. I’m glad I finally took a step back from my long-held assumptions about what should work and allowed myself to discover what actually does work for me.

    • I love what you wrote. My gut symptoms actually started when I went off gluten years ago, even though my aunt has celiac disease, so that runs in my family. I’m going to be brave and try some plain ol’ bread! I do crave it.

      • Good luck with your self-experimentation, Christina! I believe that while it can be helpful to find an overall framework that makes sense, it’s important to remember that what seems logical may be wrong. Vegans, paleo dieters, low-carbers, low-fat dieters, macrobiotic dieters etc etc all have a logical framework for their diet, yet they arrive at very different conclusions.

        It makes total scientific sense that someone not gluten intolerant but highly intolerant of fiber would do well eating white bread. Some might argue that the long-term effects ay be negative, but as there are centenarians eating bread we can state that that is not always the case, only that there may be risks involved for those who are susceptible.

        To Chris’ often well-articulated point, other factors such as relaxation, enjoyment (and I would like to add the absence of fear, anxiety and stressed dogmatism around food) are at least equally important as what we put into our mouths. Probably much more so.

    • Thanks for sharing that. It’s. Interesting isn’t it how we are all so different biochemically. It’s always said that we don’t treat protocols but people.

      Interesting how your metabolism wasn’t suited to vlc and that you failed to adapt to this despite the length of time you were on it.

      I do often wonder how much of an influence our subconscious plays. You said yourself that things improved when you stopped following your head. Maybe this was a f*** it moment?

      Last year I was having a terrible time with my IBS. I went on holiday to Barbados and it took me three days to stop thinkimg about work. On the fourth day I woke up with zero digestive symptoms and my abs started to reveal themselves again. This, despite drinking beer and rum every day, ice cream (despite being lactose intolerant) and even having a buffet breakfast one mornimg with all the bread, pancakes and syrup I could manage. If I ate that way at home I’d be in agony. But then I don’t get to go kayaking everyday in the sea or sit on a beach and watch the sunset when I’m at home.

    • This is interesting. I’ve had ‘IBS-D’ for 15 years, tried everything. I just read Pimentel’s book The IBS Solution, which is similar to Robillard’s concept. He advocates a breath test for SIBO, rifaximin (which I got from Canada for $147 instead of $1200 US), and a diet that’s low carb (except for white bread and pasta), and low residue fruits & veggies. I have been on rifaximin for just 4 days, and haven’t seen any improvement at all. In fact, the past 2 days I had to miss appointments. I have a mandatory trial in California next month, and I’m panicked. Don’t know how I’ll be able to get through the day, flights, etc. I am trying the diet, and so far it’s good for a while, but then it all comes back. I’m really tired of living like this. I have no life.

      • It sounds like you have a lot more than SIBO and or IBS going on here. 4 days on any drugs will not likely show much results. You need to be patient and cut the bad guys sugar, simple carbs and processed. Also make sure you have a good supplement of omegas. Perhaps yo might consider a product called true hope EMP. It seems to works for many ailments related to anxiety. I don’t work for these guys, so you know. Google it.

  70. One thing about IBS is that it could actually be part of what some have called ‘Adhesion Related Disorders’. You very rarely hear about the subject of adhesions, and I have noticed that Drs never wanted to talk about them when I would bring it up. I have occasionally seen adhesions mentioned as a possible factor for SIBO.

    I experienced a tear or something in my lower right quadrant back in 1984 due to repetitive lifting. I developed severe pelvic pain and diarrhea. I could not find any Dr who would believe that my issues could be due to an injury, and I was constantly told that I had IBS and should take fiber and probiotics which only gave me more diarrhea. I had constant spasms that never went away. I also felt like my abdomen and pelvis were very tight- like I was full of crazy glue. It felt like my circulation was cut off- especially in the pelvis. Another patient suggested that I might have had a burst ovarian cyst which in some cases can cause inflammation and adhesions, similar to peritonitis.

    I went to a few physical therapists and a visceral massage therapist. The visceral massage helped a little, but not enough. They all agreed that I had a lot of tough adhesions which were likely caused by the injury and some subsequent surgeries (fibroid removal done with a large incision, a hysterectomy, and adrenalectomy due to pheochromocytoma.) The fibroid removal surgery definitely made the adhesions worse and I am sure that the others didn’t help. I also developed what I am pretty sure is a colon/bladder fistula from the hysterectomy but no Dr wants to consider that possibility either.

    I think that the subject of adhesions needs to be brought out of the closet. There currently doesn’t seem to be a good way of getting rid of them. But I think that they could be a missing link in some cases of the so-called ‘IBS’ which IMO is an overused diagnosis given out just to get rid of patients with complicated cases.

    • This is very interesting that you brought up adhesions. I would like to hear more about this. I am in the same situation as you. Less than ideal results and I did have adhesions. I had a hysterectomy and wonder about the status of those adhesions currently.

      • Vivian,

        Yes- I wish that I could find someone who would even consider that I might have pain and problems due to adhesions. My hysterectomy was done back in 1998 but I am still having issues. In fact, I developed additional problems from it. I had vulvodynia for many years afterwards, which I had never had before. And then there is what I am pretty sure is a colon bladder fistula with symptoms that vary in intensity. Basically it means that I pass gas through my bladder- and when it is more active, it happens every time after I urinate. They can be hard to diagnose because sometimes the fistula may open and close depending on adhesions and/or edema so you can get a false negative result during testing, which is done by a gastrograffin enema. I tried to get a gynecologist to do this test on me a few years ago but he refused.

        There are a few good books about adhesions. One is by Karen Steward, Drs: Bound By Secrecy, Victims: Bound By Pain. Her daughter had problems due to adhesions and finally found help from a Dr in Germany, although other patients who went to the same Dr did not have any improvement and felt like they had been scammed.

        There are also two good books that address both adhesions in general as well as endometriosis. Dr David Redwine’s ‘100 Questions and Answers About Endometriosis’, and Dr Andrew Cook has one about endometriosis and pelvic pain. They explain how adhesions, with or without endometriosis, are underdiagnosed and that most Drs, including gynecologists, do not have the training and experience that is necessary to diagnose and treat them. I know that whenever I tried to talk about adhesions to Drs that they would say that if I had any, then they would have been seen during my surgeries, but I have since learned that that is not always the case. The gynecologist who did my hysterectomy refused to sit down with me after the surgery and didn’t want to hear about any problems I might be having. The hysterectomy itself was done under horrible conditions. I was supposed to have it done in the late morning but the gynecologist was called away to deliver a baby and it was almost evening by the time he arrived and he came running in. I should have said right then and there that I didn’t want to have a major surgery like a hysterectomy done in a rushed manner, but I felt like I was obligated to go through with it since it was scheduled.

        The hysterectomy was a laparoscopic vaginal one. Looking back, with my history, this likely wasn’t the best choice because it probably didn’t provide the best view for things like adhesions. Also, I noticed that I had an incision in my lower right abdomen that wasn’t supposed to be there. But since the gynecologist refused to speak to me afterwards, I don’t know why it was done.

    • Avocado1,
      I totally agree with you. the abdominal cavity is susceptible to adhesion, most strongly so after gynecological surgeries, as well as other factors and events causing adhesions. If these “trap” part of the GI tract altered motility could definitely happen.

      You may not be able to eliminate adhesions completely, but you can work on them and decrease their effect, and at the very least prevent them for getting worse. One approach is to use a ball, approximately 4″ in diameter, and apply sustained pressure into the area of adhesion by laying on the ball.
      Good luck!

    • Wow, I never thought about this. I’ve had appendectomy, hysterectomy (fibroids) and cholecystectomy. I get pains down the fronts of my legs that started when I was pregnant. If I hurt my back, they come back. I have a lot of tingling and numbness, don’t know what from. Thanks for this thought.

    • Google: Clear Passage
      Dr. Ruscio had a podcast with their founders.

      I’ve been there for 26 hours of therapy. I’m doing much better (IBS-C, SIBO) and now slowly trying to open my diet back up.

  71. I’m surprised you didn’t talk more about FODMAPS as a problem with many people with IBS. I have suffered with this for almost 50 years. Going off gluten helped but never really got rid of all of my symptoms. When I discovered the FODMAP diet it all started to click. By trial and error I have found that lactose is my friend whereas fructans and polyols are not. I also try to Just Eat Real Food. I haven’t had any symptoms since I started this a few months back. I missed onions at first but having a happy gut is much more important.

    • I mentioned the low FODMAP diet as an intervention that could be helpful in the article. However, I didn’t mention it as a cause because it’s not. People don’t get IBS because they eat too many FODMAPs. We have to be careful not to confuses treatments with causes. SIBO and other gut dysfunctions are what cause both IBS and FODMAP intolerance.

      By the same token, statins lower cholesterol but high cholesterol isn’t caused by statin deficiency. And low-carb diets can help with blood sugar and weight gain, but weight gain / blood sugar problems aren’t caused by eating too many carbs (unless those carbs are highly processed and refined).

      • Thank you Chris for clearing that up for me. I came down with IBS at age 18 (46 years ago). It makes sense that I wouldn’t suddenly have an intolerance to certain foods unless there was suddenly a change in my gut. So since A FODMAP diet seems to keep my system happy if I want to start eating FODMAPS again, I need to find out what is the underlying cause.

  72. It is a debilitating problem and hard to treat for a lot of people. Stomach issues have definitely lead me on a journey of 1000 diets. These 5 issues seem like the big ones. If I could add anything, it would be heavy metal toxicity (or even malnutrition), as it can rob us of essential micro-nutrients needed to make tons of enzymatic processes happen.

  73. IBS-C sufferer for 31 years. Paleo/Primal diet has helped – no grains, few legumes. Any sugar and carbs are problematic, even fruit and sweet potatoes. No dairy, not even grass fed kefir, yogurt or butter. Tried fodmaps, not much help. Little help from probiotics. Lots of help from home ferments like sauerkraut and kimchi., which contain far more probiotics than can be crammed into a bottle of pills. Significant help from resistant starch – especially raw potato starch from Bob’s Red mill. 6 tablespoons daily in my green smoothie helps a lot. Vitamin D3 helps. Liquid trace minerals helps a lot. Help from high sulfur foods like brassicas and alliums. Working outside on the farm helps a lot – movement. Detoxing and low stress lifestyle (farming) helps. The next step – fecal transplant. Seeking donors. Must be male, young, healthy and never have taken antibiotics.

  74. These are good suggestions..

    However one that’s not mentioned ever, even by the most prestigious health experts is dealing with stress and low blood sugar.

    When my clients are dealing with adrenal fatigue and usually hypoglycemia as well, they can deal with IBS.

    As the blood sugar drops too low and causes the adrenals to fire and release cortisol and adrenaline, it can cause increased intestinal motility speed.

    Until cortisol rhythms are balanced, I don’t see some IBS sufferers get better.

    This is how I started my health journey and fixed it.

  75. Diagnosed in the early ’80’s with IBS-C, “its all in your head”. In those days, protocol was fiber in the form of wheat wafers, go figure, and drugs to ease anxiety because people with digestive issues are “needy”- ugh!! Then developed horrible endometriosis, joint/muscle pain, took tons of Advil. Tried all the usual probiotics, enzymes, gut repair supps which were NO help. Recently saw a doc (non functional) who did an IgG, “you’re intolerant to just about every food known to man!”. Eliminated everything, felt better but starving, no improvement in constipation. Started PrescriptAssist, fennel, some improvement in bloating, no help with constipation- feels like concrete in there! Recently diagnosed with Spina Bifida Occulta- surely that affects motility! Did the “Amazing Liver Flush” according to Moritz, who says Liver is key to digestion, food allergies/intolerances…no longer crashing after accidental ingestion. Still hungry, lots of nutritional deficiencies. Looking for a functional med person. It’s exhausting. Advil surely a major contributor to multi-organ issues. So is IBS also related to faulty liver??

  76. Thanks for writing this. For the past few months I have been dealing with IBS, hoping it would go away on its own but it didn’t. Just recently I looked into the low FODMAP diet & anti-candida diet (as I believe yeast overgrowth has caused my IBS). Within a matter of days on the diet (I did also cut out caffeine & alcohol) I noticed so many of my symptoms had gone away! Constant itchiness all over my body was gone, bloating gone, gas reduced, etc. Pretty amazing how much diet can change. I have also been taking glutamine supplements & probiotics

  77. I suffered with IBS-D for many years and the GI doc told me nothing could be done, except the keep anti-diarrhea meds close.

    I then became interested in Dr. Hyman’s functional medicine books and articles and discussed Rifaximin with my doctor. It was a miracle drug. Unfortunately it is not a forever treatment, and needs to be repeated eventually, in my case about two years later. The drug is exorbitantly expensive and not approved (yet) for IBS use. The 42 pill treatment is well above $1000 in my area, thus out of reach for me.

    As a repeat course of treatment was not affordable, the FODMAP “diet” came to be, and it has been very, very helpful, and the few occasions that come up are much milder and shorter lived. I also try to follow Paleo, which fits in nicely with the FODMAP.
    When I referred Rifaximin to my daughter-in-law, she obtained relief from serious SIBO and thanks me often for that info.

  78. Another issue that doesn’t get the attention it deserves are adhesions. I developed severe pelvic pain and diarrhea after an improper lifting incident. I felt something tear or snap in my lower right quadrant.

    When I went to Drs, they immediately told me that I had IBS. They totally discounted my explanation about the lifting incident. I don’t know what could have happened, but I do feel that I have a degree of prolapse. I also felt like things were/are very tight and that I have poor circulation as a result. Another patient told me that it could have caused a burst ovarian cyst, which can cause inflammation and adhesions in some cases.

    I have since had some surgeries, a hysterectomy and a fibroid removal (the fibroid removal was done with a large incision), and a right adrenalectomy due to a pheochromocytoma. These surgeries made things feel even tighter.

    I have been to physical therapists and a visceral massage therapist. The visceral massage helped a little, but not enough. Every therapist said that I had a lot of tough adhesions. When I would mention this to Drs they were dismissive and didn’t want to talk about them.

    I used to visit a website that coined the term “ARD” which stands for Adhesion Related Disorders. I think that adhesions could be a ‘missing link’ for some patients with unexplained pains and problems that don’t respond well to the usual recommended treatments. I know that they are difficult to treat, but I think that it is a problem that needs much more attention and consideration.

  79. My entire life, my mother says, I have had bowel issues. In my mid twenties I was diagnosed with IBS. The doctors gave me no direction at all. Over the last ten years I have found relief in creating a ‘no-no’ foods list. The biggest triggers are citrus fruits and, sadly, cucumbers. When I removed gluten for my thyroid, I found it helped the most. {Thanks goes to you for your article in 2011} I changed our household to use pro/prebiotics, Greek yogurt, low sugar, non-GMO, make food from scratch daily, fermented foods,picky on our meat and no grain fed/hormone added, etc… Our poor children are riddled with multiple Autoimmune Diseases and one with Autism. Finding a functional doctor has been on our agenda for two years. Unfortunately the distance and cost of the closest one hinders us from going. Changing diet, lifestyle, and recently adding the Nrf2 activator Protandim has made them manageable. My eleven year old has three Autoimmune diseases. Going gluten free (Celiac) helped alleviate her hive flares(Hoshimotos) fairly well. Using Protandim has made the biggest impact and is continuing to get rid of her Ulcerative Colitis (3mo continuous) flare when all the adult prescriptions failed.

  80. IBS – 35 years and counting. Had a great dr that ran every test plus scoping, barium, etc 30 yrs ago and they couldn’t do much else then. Finally ran across Fodmap and that gave me a much better understanding on addressing the issue. Even with low Fodmap diet and GF I cycle between good days and bad many times with no apparent reasoning. I did like the fermented comment – kefir. I do ocassionally use kombucha and will see if more regular use leads to improvement. Many thanks for the article and reader comments.

    • Seriously, kefir has changed my life. I drink between one and two cups a day. I make it myself so it is only the cost of the milk. It is worth trying, everyone. There’s nothing to lose and I have got my life back.

      I mix in a tablespoon of chia seeds too, for the many benefits and for the fibre.

      • Interesting. So if you can’t consume any form of dairy because of protein intolerance, Kefir is OK?? For some of us, chia seeds are the kiss of death: major constipation. How is Kefir tolerated?

      • I realize I’m late with adding this comment, but thought I should mention it. Unfortunately, kefir has changed my life…but not for the good. It’s unfortunate, because I LOVE it! I could seriously drink a few cups of it daily. However, since starting it (for almost 3 weeks now) it’s given me indigestion, severe and painful bloating (mostly upper abdominal), and painful gas. When I stop drinking it, the symptoms go away. I did some research and for some of us dealing with IBS, chronic inflammation and immunosuppression, kefir is not recommended, as there is an increased risk for fungemia or bacteriemia for some of us. It can cause flares for some as well. The same goes for probiotic supplements. What helps some, does not help all. Listen to your body!

  81. Mine started when I retook my childhood vaccines to get into nursing school, because I didn’t have my records. I would have liked to take titers but that was $120 per disease. I was making $100 a month.

    So I have lived with IBS diarrhea since 2003. I have taken over 50 herbs that helped little- some not at all. I have had to increase my vitamins and minerals because of them going through so fast and causing health problems from that.- losing teeth, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroid, duodenal ulcer, anemia, etc.
    16 species of gut bacteria have been a part of my regimen for years with no help. Yogurt too, and making yogurt with the 16 species.
    I have managed to improve it so it looks like poo instead of chewed up banana or watermelon or lettuce for example. But finally, started carrying an orgonite with me given to me as a gift. and it has changed my whole health. I think it is helping my gut absorb my nutrients better and am seeing profound changes in my strength and attitutde, and health- gut changing too. For the good.
    Look up Wilhelm Reich, there are some Youtube videos , look up the cloud buster, and look up Don and Carol Croft’s interview on It’s Rainmaking time.

  82. There is a test and cure for IBS as of five months ago. But of course those listed by you also need to be considered as more full and lasting treatments.

  83. Question regarding order of treatment I’ve been diagnosed with SIBO and probable leaky gut, probable parasites, mold and Lyme toxins. What would you treat first?
    Is abx treatment for SiBO effective of you have leaky gut? Need help 🙂

  84. I have had a bottle of Rifaximin for a month, hestitant to take an antibiotic. But I am ready to give it a chance. My question to Chris or anyone who knows is do I /should I, take a probiotic with it or will it negate the med treatment?

    • If you listen to the interview of Dr. Pimentel by Chris Kresser


      you will hear him say that they leave patients on their unhealthful diets while treating with antibiotics (rifaximin) so that the targeted bacteria will be actively ingesting substances from its environment thereby poisoning them in the desired way. Because when those bacteria are being starved they go dormant and seal themselves off from their surroundings including the antibiotic and manage to hang around until they get their next batch of desirable food.
      I haven’t tried rifaximin for my troubles, preferring to stay away from non-natural substances if I can, but it has proven to work well (as have “natural” antibiotics) and—importantly—does not have the effect of breading super bugs or otherwise creating resistance to its effects. That’s perhaps the biggest reason why alternative and functional medical practitioners are willing to use it. Many of those same practitioners are also aware that in many cases the herbal antibiotics are equally effective.

  85. I was diagnosed with IBS 20 or so years ago and was told to “eat more fiber”. Basically, I lived with it until 18 months ago when a friend went on the low carb diet. Investigating that, she found a lot of evidence to indicate all the foods that might cause digestive distress and info on autoimmune disease and diet (I also have an autoimmune disease, diagnosed 10 years ago). Lo and behold, after changing my diet in hopes of helping the autoimmune disease, I realized one day that my stomach actually didn’t hurt. I sat there a good 15 minutes getting used to it because my stomach was pretty much in constant distress most of my adult life. I still struggle not eating things because frankly, it is still difficult to eat out at a lot of places my family wants to go (like anywhere Mexican since I can’t have nightshades). So, yes, diet definitely helps IBS and can basically cure it since when I’m only eating things on the autoimmune protocol list, I am fine.

  86. I had intestinal issues since I was a child. No one could figure it out. I was diagnosed with IBS and Ulcerative Colitis which landed me in the ER because I was bleeding internally and was having signs of a heart attack. The pills prescribed did nothing for it. My husband was listening to Dr. Joel Wallach/Dead Doctors Don’t Lie and told me I should give up all gluten. Mind you in colon was riddled with open bleeding sores. So I did give up all gluten and found relief almost right away. A year later all sores were gone per my colonoscopy and not having any pain anymore. Check out, “Wheat Belly” by Dr. Davis on YouTube. It’s an hour long but makes sense.

    • Glad you found a fix for yourself. Sounds like you didn’t have IBS though, but gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Have you tried to eat wheat lately? I was GF for two years and then found I could tolerate wheat very well again.

    • p.s. Dr. Davis just pushes another version of paleo or low-carb dieting. I never lost an ounce though, when I was gluten-free for two years.

  87. I’ve had two bouts of amoebic dysentery during my world travels, but my real troubles started when I had my gall bladder removed in 1991. No control over my bowel, diarrhea, cramping. It got so bad I never left the house without taking Immodium and I still never eat out or eat before leaving the house.
    Last night after eating a bratwurst (no additives, made locally) some red potatoes and green beans, ice cream for dessert, I spent over two hours with excruciating intestinal cramps, which emptied my bowel until liquid diarrhea. Today I am whacked.
    This has been going on for years, and I am really fed up. Anti-depressants help some and paleo diet helps some.
    Any suggestions on pro or pre biotics that I could take would be great.

    • It sounds like you need to get testing for SIBO and look into the Low Fodmap or SIBO diet on siboinfo.com. I got SIBO after fighting off e-coli from a trip to a 3rd world country. Infections like dysentery can lead to SIBO. The treatments for SIBO worked for me, but I have struggled with relapse due to other things with which I am dealing.

  88. I was diagnosed with IBS about 2 years ago. I was experiencing multiple (4-5) bowel movements a day- but not diarrhea and I had lower abdominal pain which sometimes radiated to the testicular area. The pain always worsens when I bend over (like putting on socks) and especially bending a lot while playing racquetball. Once I lie on my back (in a horizontal position) the abdominal pain immediately goes away. Even though I have multiple bowel movements/day it often felt like I was constipated. My stools consistency varied from flat/ribbonlike to small pebbles to more normal large stools. I have also routinely experienced the inability to expel gas which seems to cause more abdominal pain. After getting colonoscopies, contrast enterography, capsule endoscopy, the doctor put me on Rifaximin in case I had SIBO. The Rifaximin didn’t do anything.
    Now I am taking IBGard which has seemed to allow me to pass gas more frequently and has also eliminated the feeling of constipation. I still have multiple bowel movements/day but never diarrhea.
    The fact that lying down on my back immediately relieves my abdominal pain makes me think that either trapped gas in my abdomen is causing the pain or there is a nerve that is being impinged upon- especially when I bend over. No one can figure out why bending over exacerbates the abdominal pain.

  89. I’ve had chronic diarrhea since the end of April. Within the last month or so I began taking a tbls. or so of psyllium seed/day and the diarrhea subsided. Thank heavens there were only a few days that I had problems all day long. It was usually first thing in the morning or once in the evening, if I had a glass of wine, etc. I had an erratic schedule a few days ago and didn’t take the psyllium seed and it came back with a vengeance. With the psyllium seed, the diarrhea is under control, but my stools look very strange and vary from day to day. I have been on a Weston Price type diet for the last 3 years or so. The day before I got ill, I ate a lot of raw cabbage at a restaurant. Other than that, I can’t see that this is related to anything I’m eating. I’ve wondered if I have a parasite and have tried taking diatomaceous earth to rid myself of parasites. I haven’t been to the doctor mainly because unlike many others, I’m not in pain, I don’t feel that my health is suffering and the majority of the time it’s only a problem first thing in the morning. Still, it’s become a chronic issue which is not normal. If anyone knows of a good doc in Georgia or has any advice, I’d love to hear it.

  90. From a newsletter” Researchers looked at a group of 80 postmenopausal women. All of the women had a confirmed IBS diagnosis. For those who don’t know about IBS, it is an uncomfortable and distressing condition in which patients’ bowel functions alternate between constipation and diarrhea. But did you know that IBS comes in two flavors? One type of IBS is the constipation predominant type or IBS-C. The other type is the diarrhea predominant type or IBS-D. Here’s what the researchers did.

    Before the experiment started and during the study, they checked the patients’ 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-HMS) concentration in their urine. The 6-HMS is a marker of melatonin. The higher it is in the urine, the more melatonin the body is making. They gave all of the women either melatonin supplements of 5 mg at bedtime along with 3 mg on an empty stomach during the day or placebo pills. Then for the next six months, they measured the amount of symptoms the patients were having. These included pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc. Here’s what they found.The women who had IBS-C responded very well to the melatonin supplements compared to the placebo. Their levels of abdominal pain and bloating decreased a remarkable 70%. And their constipation improved 50%. And the researchers discovered that the higher their levels of 6-HMS, the better they responded to the melatonin. This is strong evidence that the effects of the melatonin worked better in women who were already deficient, had nothing to do with placebo action, and were dose dependent.

    What about the IBS-D group? Surprisingly, they showed no benefit at all. So it seems that IBS-C is caused to a large extent by a melatonin deficiency, whereas the IBS-D has other causes. In the words of the researchers, “Melatonin can be used as part of the treatment of IBS, particularly in patients with constipation-predominant IBS.” But why did the melatonin work at all?

    Melatonin is thought by many to be a brain hormone. But the fact is that more melatonin is produced in the intestines than in the brain. And one of the primary actions of melatonin in the intestines is to relax the smooth muscles that surround them. This, of course, is important when it comes to symptoms such as intestinal pain and bloating. Don’t forget that melatonin starts becoming deficient in most people in their 20s. By the time we hit our 50s, the amount of melatonin our bodies make can be extremely low. This is why so many people have bowel issues and constipation as they get older. A little melatonin in many cases will take care of these problems. And one more thing.

    Why didn’t the people taking the melatonin during the day get sleepy from it? It’s because melatonin is not the same as a sleeping aid. Of course, it’s important for sleep. But our bodies make it all day long for many other functions. So if you have IBS, especially if it’s the IBS-C version, the odds are good that your body is crying out for some melatonin. And remember that the symptom relief was dose dependent. So if a little doesn’t work, try some more. Melatonin is extremely safe, and unlike other hormones, taking high doses of melatonin does not cause the body to make less. I routinely give 20-60 mg of melatonin to my patients. And I take 20 mg every day.”

  91. I have been wanting to try kefir for my IBS but because I am very intolerant to casein in milk, I have not been able to. Is there something else that would provide a benefit similar to that of kefir that is not made from milk?

  92. For me, my IBS (c) was caused by too much fat and not enough soluble and non soluble fibre. It took years of suffering before figuring it out but once I did the results were overnight relief. Helpforibs.com is a good site.

  93. Does Chriskresser know that they can also be caused by trigger points in the stomach? Pretty weird that he claims to be an expert about chronic pain and yet he never even mentioned trigger points once on this website..

  94. I had IBS (self-diagnosed) from 1980 to 2000. It started suddenly one night during midnight mass in a very crowded church. We had wine & cheese before leaving for church, haha, bad idea! I had to keep getting up and waiting in line for the single toilet and my family was ticked off at me. Had really bad diarrhea and gas like jet-propulsion off the toilet. I can laugh about it now but it was the beginning of 20 years of agony. I grew out of it or something….

  95. I was mis-diagnosed with IBS for two years – a month ago a tummy scan revealed i have a 10cm tumour on my ovary! Ladies ask for tummy scans please!

  96. Each person is different. Each med, each food item, will cause different reactions in different people. I have treated migraines and IBS through the process of trial and error over the last 10 years. Results for me: white rice does not work for my gut. White potatoes do work. Red meat causes migraine, whereas chicken & fish don’t. Like that, I am now down to what works pretty well. No one practitioner has helped me exclusively. Many have contributed to my finding my way. No one can do it for you.

  97. I was diagnosed with IBS 2 years ago, given Buscopan to take as I needed and told to learn how to deal with it. The med did give me some relief at times but I also started breaking out in hives which then progressed to angiodema. An immunologist diagnosed me with Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria and offered to prescribe me with super strong anti-histamine meds which I declined as I felt that all this was doing was dealing with the symptoms. I have gradually removed milk, eggs, grains, nuts, refined sugar and soy from my diet and added Prescript- Assist and fermented foods. With recommendation from my functional medicine Dr I take 1Tbs flax, 1Tbs hemp seeds + 1Tbs Chia seeds every morning soaked in hot water/coconut milk and 60billion Bifidobacterium lactis every day (to help restore the bacteria levels in my colon) The IBS symptoms are waaaay better, I am no longer constipated, just get occasional gas and bloating. The CIU symptoms are getting better….just not where I want them to be….yet 🙂

  98. Chris, no one likes to talk about this, but ovarian cancer presents with these symptoms and is often dismissed as a possibility. Consequently ovarian cancer is dxed late. This os ovarian cancer awareness month, so how about spme awareness here. BTW I was treated for a diarrhea style of ibs in early 2000s. breath test, 2 courses xifaxin –cured. Ovarian cancer for me presented as constipation different from anything i had ever experienced. GI doc referred to earlier IBS dx and decided on pelvic floor syndrome. Was he wrong! So be sure to exclude the unpleasant to think about..It is much better when caught early.

  99. I have had IBS-C for most of my 62 years of life and have found that my situation responds best to regular strenuous exercise, fiber, plenty of fruits and veggies, and stress reduction.

  100. My 9yo daughter suffers from IBS-C which started when I stopped breastfeeding but got intermittently worse throughout the years and exploded into severe pain about a year ago. We are on permanent Miralax and milk of magnesia, now we are trying these drops in water… we’ve tried low fodmap diets and a ton of other things. Poor girl. We are still trying to find a solution.

    • Be advised that the FDA is studying whether or not ethylene glycol has negative health risks associated with its use. Also, it is NOT intended for use for more than 7 days. I had severe nervous system effects which caused extreme panic and anxiety for over an hour after taking a product with ethylene glycol in it. Therefore, IMHO, I feel as if this ingredient can cause severe nervous system damage just like an article I read some time ago alluded to. Have you tried some natural fiber products? Anything but this controversial Miralax would be better. Good luck. P.S. If the FDA is concerned, I am too… as they rarely act in the public’s best interest in spite of what one might think.

    • Make sure she is on a probiotic. Some work better for constipation than others.
      Try Megadophilous, which you can find in a vitamin store.
      Also, perhaps artichoke capsules and/or milk thistle to get the bile going.
      Good luck, I hope she feels better

    • I also experienced nervous system damage using Miralax. My doctor told me it is harmless as it is supposed to stay in your gut but I think if you have any gut damage/inflammation/leaky gut then it will get into your blood stream and cause problems. When I realized it was the Miralax causing my worse health issues I googled it and found there are a number of lawsuits against the company as many people have found it to be toxic and in a few cases there have been deaths. I don’t mean to scare you but just want you to know that this may not be good for your daughter and there are alternatives. Things I found helpful for constipation are Renew Life CleanseMore capsules, this is the most gentle herbal laxitive I have found and I have tried many. I recently stopped using this and instead now use a high dose of magnesium bisglycinate by Naka PRO MG12. To find the correct dose for my body (and as advised by a dietician) I took the magnesium through the day until I reached bowel tolerance at 1800mg then cut back and maintained a dose of 1400mg. Slowly I was able to cut down my dose to 600-800mg per night. I also take lots of vitamin C. My bowel movements are now normal, regular, pain free and healthy after 20 years of IBS.
      Another aspect of gut inflammation that is not so well know is histamine intolerance, for more information google the ‘low histamine chef symptoms’ to see if your daughter may have this. If she does this website will be helpful but also look up the histamine food lists as avoiding or cutting back on the huge array of high histamine foods can really help with symptoms. Good luck, I hope your daughter gets better.

    • I recommend using vitamin c flush for getting her symptom free, then find root cause and address it. Research vitamin c and you will find it to be a god send, you will find some saying it lacks effects and or have side effects. The real experts on vitamin c will tell different, it’s one of the cheapest, safest and most effective substance known.

      Good luck!

  101. Can you please recommend a reputable online resource for finding a well-trained and experienced functional medicine practitioner in my local area?

  102. After abdominal surgery, how do I buil up the right gut flora? I am eating for the first time after 6 days of having an asleep system?
    I want to eat healthy and take pro-biotics… But how?

  103. I was diagnosed with IBS by my primary care last March. I had been experiencing chronic constipation for two years, thinking at first that it was all in my head, that I was just experiencing anxiety over food again (relevance: 7 years ago I was hospitalized for anorexia). But FINALLY I went to the doctor who agreed that the constipation and extreme bloating I was experiencing was not normal. She suggested following and anti-inflammatory diet and recommended the book by Jennifer Black “The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book”. I’m a very healthy eater so all I had to do was cut out wheat/gluten and dairy. My symptoms were completely resolved in about a month and my BMs started to regulate. When I added wheat/gluten and dairy back in, each for a week at a time, I felt horrible!!! I have noticed an improvement in my energy levels, concentration, hemorrhoids and obviously my GI functioning. When I went back in to my doctor after the first month, she said that I even LOOKED less bloated!! For the most part I strictly adhere to the anti-inflam diet. Every once in a while I’ll allow one meal or treat out with friends/on special occasions where I indulged in an irritating dessert or something. But not without discomfort!! I swear by the anti-inflam, and after my master’s in nutrition want to learn more about functional and nutritional medicine!!

  104. I was diagnosed with IBS over 20 years ago and it waxed and waned. Over the past two years, I started having all kinds of issues that my acupuncturist recognized as problems with the stomach, liver, and spleen meridians. I would get some relief from acupuncture and then would go back to presenting problems (as evidenced by the changes in tongue color). I picked up Chris’ book from the bargain table at the bookstore and thumbed through it, thinking it was worth a try. Then I looked into specific IBS diets, and found the low FODMAP approach. I employed a 30 day elimination diet and ALL of my symptoms disappeared.

    Now my diet is PALEO-based with modest amounts of cane sugar, honey, and dairy. I can also have small amounts of wheat and wheat like-grains (einkorn, spelt), but I CANNOT eat anything with corn and not really any rice. I consume very little onion and garlic as those definitely causes issues as does broccoli and other non-fermented cruciferous vegetables. Same for fruits–berries and citrus are fine; apples in reasonable amounts, but very little in the way of stone fruits.

    It means limited meals outside the house and can make vacations a bit challenging, but my symptoms have disappeared, my skin cleared up, and I have lost weight without trying.

  105. Chris, thank you for addressing this and shedding some light on the murky diagnosis of IBS. I read most of your articles and appreciate your insight and expertise. I follow a fairly strict paleo-esque diet and I am also an exercise physiologist and health and wellness coach. I was diagnosed with IBS after a recent colonoscopy and suffer with a multitude of symptoms from bloating, gas, abdominal pain, abdominal pressure, and bouts of constipation followed by bouts of diarrhea. When you put all of those symptoms together and I’m sure others will agree, it’s a pretty miserable time, coupled with a lot of embarrassing situations. Furthermore, there’s a lot of anxiety and stress about going to certain places, wondering if there will be a bathroom nearby, or if some food will trigger and exacerbate symptoms. As we also know stress can be a contributing factor, so we now have a triple threat against us. Since no one person struggling with IBS is alike, you really have to tune into what foods are your triggers. Identifying them specifically is half the battle. I have also started taking some of your supplements the AdaptaGest Flex & Core as well as your Prescript-Assist Probiotic. My husband laughs at me when I pull out this wad of pills before every meal. My question to you is – how long on average do these supplements take to have an effect on your symptoms? I’m sure there are a whole host of contributing factors, but I’m curious what you have seen in your practice. Thank you again for your efforts!

  106. Hi Chris,
    I want to thank you for all of the great work you are doing regarding digestive problems, autoimmunity and leaky gut. I have cfs, and after many years am finally finding the source of the problem (multiple mycoplasma infections, blasocystis hominus , candida, and an underactive thyroid). All of your information has been so very helpful. Finding the root causes is just so crucial !!!

    Thank you 🙂

  107. I have all 5 of the causes of IBS. I’ve been to 9 gastroenterologists over the last 5 years and have been told everything from suspected inflammatory bowel to IBS. My symptoms are far too severe to be IBS as I have debilitating flares 2-3 times a year. All my labs and EGD/colonoscopies have come back clean except that I had a ton of bile in my stomach last time. The only help I’ve found is through a functional doctor. Folks I cannot recommend these angels highly enough! Her cure wasn’t fast or cheap but it has made a ton of difference in my life! Still haven’t found a gastro willing to work with her and I though, I’m still searching for one of those!

  108. I had no issues with digestion/gut until my endocrinologist put me on Victoza for diabetes. It not only didn’t help my sugar control (it actually increased glucose more than when I was not taking anything for diabetes – went from an A1C of 7.2 to 8.9 in three months). I was previously using fast acting Humalog insulin with meals.

    Within three days after starting Victoza, I started getting acid reflux, and my digestive system went on a frenzy. Bouts of constipation, then diarrhea. But the worse part is SEVERE gas. I was told to give it three months and the symptoms would subside. Well, I am off the Victoza and now my system is completely screwed up. I have tried Betaine HCL, several kinds of probiotics, digestive enzymes, etc. I already eat organic foods. It seems that veggies cause the most issues, especially salads. I am going to see my integrative doctor next week. Dr. Kresser, do you have any suggestions/recommendations?

  109. Why don’t you ever mention the possible side effects of using antibiotics to treat SIBO? There are several comments on your previous article from people who are seeking for help due to Rifaximin wiping out even more gut bacteria. Do you think it makes sense for people to use antibiotics to treat gut problem when most people with IBS have IBS from using antibiotics in the past? Is your logic to kill all bacteria in the gut? I do not understand why you keep promoting Rifaximin or any other antimicrobial treatments as godsend. Experimenting unproven protocols on patients need to be stopped.

    • There is a TON of research to show the effectiveness of Rifaximin! What many people don’t understand is that Rifaximin is non-systemic; unlike the antibiotics that can cause SIBO. What that means is, while other antibiotics will be absorbed into the rest of your body by your intestines, Rifaximin stays in your intestines only. And it works kind of like a “reset.”

      My husband had “cyclic vomiting syndrome” (a fancy term for, “We don’t know why you’re puking ‘randomly’, but you are, so here is your label.” The vomiting started every few months, for several years, then every few weeks, and kept getting worse and worse, and eventually came to the point where it was almost every day.

      He took Rifaximin (550mg 3x a day for 14 days), and BLAM… no more puking. And that was in January. 🙂

      You can tell his gut flora was changing because he said his stool started becoming a kaleidoscope of colours, and then eventually normalized.

      Rifaximin is a LIFESAVER. He almost lost his job and took it in the nick of time!

      • Sarah, Was your husband put on Rifaximin because of his CVS? My 19 yr. old daughter has had CVS for the last 6 years with episodes monthly and I wonder if this is something that would help her?

    • I think the idea is to re-inoculate with the correct balance of good bacteria. So you might kill everything but you can start over with better ones. Make sense?

    • I’ve written and spoken at length about the danger of antibiotic overuse. Do a quick Google search for “Chris Kresser antibiotics” and you’ll find numerous articles and social media posts.

      Not all antibiotics are created equal. Rifaximin is a non-absorbable antibiotic that studies suggest does not adversely affect the gut microbiota. In fact, some studies have shown that it increases bifidobacteria and f. prausnitzii, both considered to be beneficial species. Studies have also shown that taking rifaximin for up to 12 weeks at high doses does not cause resistance.

      So, while no drug is risk free, rifaximin appears to be remarkably safe and well-tolerated, and quite effective in many cases.

      My philosophy has always been to choose the most effective treatment that causes the least harm. 9 times out of 10 that won’t be a drug, but sometimes it is.

      Having said all of this, in our clinic we use a botanical protocol as our first-line SIBO treatment with good results.

      • I understand that you always weigh benefit vs risk ratio as a medical practitioner before giving a treatment to the patient. However, as you probably know, everybody’s body chemistry is different innately, just like the physical appearance. Rifaximin may be proven to have non-systematic effect in most cases, but that certainly is not true for some people, depending on what condition and genetics the patients have. Since you think that Rifaximin is relatively safe, I feel that it is necessary to address why this might be happening with Rifaximin and what people can do if they have severe side effects. These are part of comments from your article, Interview with Dr. Mark Pimentel. All these people’s health declined dramatically after using Rifaximin.

        “We actually already review Dr. Perlmutter’s book, and tried to make an appt. with him last year but couldn’t get in before he sold his practice. My wife started doing the probiotic enemas (PEs) as suggests in his book, which seemed to be working this past May and June until she had an iron IV upon advice from one of her doctors. This reinitiated the worst parts of her symptoms after making so much progress with the PEs. We believe the iron may have feed the infections onboard which caused increased inflammation in the brain thereby increasing her symptoms. From then on she was unable to use the PEs in the same manner. They started to cause her symptoms to get even worse. As for the inflammation in the brain, she has some sort of genetic issue that prevents her from taking quercetin. When she has tried it, out of desperation in the past, it set off her symptoms. She is a very sensitive person, and reacts very differently to treatments than most people. As for the fecal matter transplant (FMT), we have already researched that long and hard. We even received info regarding Tamount in the UK from Dr. Perlmutter’s office. We brought it up to one of her functional doctors who said it was an option but that it could cause some issues (increased inflammation), especially with her sensitivities and unusual reactions to treatments. He also mentioned antivirals, antibiotics. The real issue is having someone to work with that knows other alternative (non-allopathic) ways to approach this without antiviral and antibiotics, and who knows in what order to attack this (order definitely matters). Would we need to heal and seal the gut before addressing the infections, would we need to address the infections before trying the FMT, etc? We have been working on healing her gut for the past year with the paleo diet, and trying to implement AIP, but really need knowledgable guidance from someone who can bring all these areas together. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.”

        “My wife has been suffering for 15 months straight with severe neurological and psychiatric symptoms that started on day two of a 10 day course of rifaximin, which was prescribed for suspected SIBO. I’m a former Navy SEAL and have never seen anyone suffer as much or as long as she has. I am desperately looking for relief for her. We have seen many doctors (functional medicine, neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc.) but they do not seem to have the skill set to handle this in a holistic way. Have you ever heard of anything like this, or know of anything that can be done? Any “Chris Kresser” type information would be greatly appreciated.”

        • I have had every test known to mankind and wrote about this is an earlier blog herein in June 2015.

          Since my IBS is so idiopathic I am now treated by a pain specialist and he suggested taking Gabapentin 300mg and have more celiac plexus nerve blocks

          The Gabapentin has been very effective while one procedure of a nerve block was not. Nevertheless, I am going to continue to have two more nerve blocks this time back to back. The Gabapentin takes some scheduling experimenting for the most optimal analgesic effects. You may seek further info on Google.

    • The two things that make rifaximin better than at least other antibiotics is 1) It does not breed drug resistant bacteria (“super bugs”) and 2) It does not succeed in traveling down the digestive tract to reach the good gut bacteria. SIBO is a problem where bacteria that belong in a healthy colon have migrated to the upper small intestine, live and thrive there in a place that should have virtually no intestinal bacteria.

      • rifaximin In some rare cases it can cause C Diff. Found this out after talking to my Doctor. So that is something to be aware of.

  110. I was diagnosed with IBS many years ago. Pregnancy made the IBS worse and meant I gave birth to a low birth weight baby. Breastfeeding also made the IBS worse.
    I have a degree in chemistry and an interest in food nutrition and have always believed my symptoms were due to additives etc in food. So I started food eliminations. My breakthrough came when I discovered red Leicester cheese has a colorant called annatto in it. Switching to cheddar made me well. So when I started to google annatto, I found websites that gave lists of additives that have ‘hidden’ MSG in them. Eliminating any of these food additives gives me perfect health – absolutely no IBS – even through mild stress! It means I have to cook all my meals from scratch, no processed meals but I feel much better. I would definitely like to see some research into this as the amount of MSG that we are all consuming is much higher than what we can account for if we rely on the ingredients list of food packaging.

    • Hi Angela, that’s interesting! is there any chance you could please share a list of these additives with hidden MSG in them.

      Thank you!

    • Most functional medical doctors can deal with patients via phone, email, and/or Skype. You might want to check around the west coast of the USA as there are many over there I understand.

  111. Diagnosed with IBS after colonoscopy ruled out other causes. Suffer with constipation continually but I really suspect my job (longhaul pilot) is the root cause as my diet is clean, gluten free, grain free and low carb sugar free. Trying to get more fibre in and resistant starch with some progress but fighting a losing battle with constant circadian rhythm disturbance. Wish I had an exit strategy from my work but sadly don’t have one. Who knows what cosmic radiation is causing for me long term, too..

      • Along the lines of what Aaron has suggested, I’ll share that my IBS constipation symptoms improved once I re-introduced small amounts of white potato on a daily basis (I realize this is not purely paleo, but this approach has worked for me). Rice did not help me.

    • I have functional chronic constipation too. It started suddenly when I changed time zones and was overseas for 2 months. It’s been a year now and has never improved. Since you’re crossing time zones all the time I would imagine that is the cause for you. But as for me the change in circadian rythm seems to have permanently altered the function of my bowels. I’d be interested to know more about how this works. Dietary changes do nothing for my constipation that includes paleo, gluten free, fibre or FODMAPs diet.

  112. I have been dealing with IBS and multiple food and drugs intolerances for 20, years, after a trip to Mexico, from which I came back with Giardia, Blastocystis hominis and Dientamoeba Fragilis. I was treated by antibiotics but I never regained normal intestinal function. I can’t be treated by drugs, due to these chemical intolerances, and there have been periods when, since these food intolerances got so bad, I could only eat meat and white rice for weks. I cannot count the times when clueless doctors told me “it’s all in your head”–which is obviously moronic, since I told them over and over that it all started after this trip to Mexico. The only thing that made a difference is that after a stool analysis, it was discovered that I had big intestinal colonies of Candida glabrata. Then my doctor prescribed caprylic acid and probiotics, and that reduced my food intolerances quite significantly. I tried different probiotics and the one that helped most is Bifidobacterium Infantis.

  113. Got IBS after being diagnosed with arthritis about 16 years ago. The doctors did a gastroscopy and coloscopy. After nothing bad was found I was sent home. The symptoms got worse and I did a gastroscopy and coloscopy again. Found out myself that I was lactose intolerant and suddenly I could live almost normally again. Unfortunately, I then developed fructose and histamine intolerance. Each took quite a while to diagnose. Prebiotics and probiotics are necessary to reduce the pain.

    I still think that the underlying root cause for my problems is SIBO coming from cortisone and PPIs. But every time I try to change something with the PPIs my symptoms get way worse.

    So far doctors have been worse than useless in this regard.


  115. Diagnosed with IBS some years ago after suffering for 30 years. It completely spoiled my social life — no picnics in the country, hiking, trips to the beach. I ptefered doing everything on my own, as any activity involved having to find a toilet.
    This January I started making kefir. Within 2 weeks my symptoms subsided and now I can say I am IBS free. It was like being given another life.

    • Can you give more details about your kefir? Is it cow or goat or coconut water or what? And if dairy, is it raw or not? And what type of grains did you use?

        • Actually I own a herd share at a local organic family ranch for 2 qts weekly of raw all-Jersey cow’s milk and I also buy local raw goat milk weekly — both are amazing. I’d love to learn how to make kefir and yogurt and other ferments with them.

      • I have had great success with kefir as well. I found too many additives in store brands so I bought kefir grains on Amazon. I use mason jars to brew both milk kefir for my smoothies and water kefir using coconut water for my water bottle. Very easy, and endless recipes.

      • I also had a somewhat “magical” kefir experience. After 15 years of IBS-C and D, treatment with daily doses of dicyclomine, fiber therapy, etc., I was given some kefir grains by a friend to try while I was on a course of powerful antibiotics for a severe dental infection. Ordinarily, a dose of antibiotics destroys my gut within 3-5 days. I made kefir daily, adding it to my yogurt or my morning green smoothie. The antibiotics did NOT upset my stomach at all. Not only that, but I’m now withdrawing from the dicyclomine, finding that for the first time in 17 years, I’m totally regular. Had the flu a week ago, which caused a brief relaspse, so I upped the kefir and all is well again within 5 days. I make my own kefir, mostly with store-bought goat milk. I do throw in a day each week using cashew or almond milk (carageenan-free!), but making sure the “grains” are always well-fed and constantly growing. Interestingly, I learned that probiotics, prebiotics and even yogurt are “transitional” solutions that help only as long as they are transitting through the gut. Kefir, however, actually repopulates the intestine flora and makes it difficult for the bad guys to take over. That certainly is the case for my system. Wish I’d known this one 17 years (and many $$ worth of tests and medications) ago!! Highly recommend giving it a try, though I know EVERYONE is different! As for where to get grains, there are many websites you can join to find someone who will simply share theirs. You can buy online as well, Cultures for Health is a good website/source for a lot of probiotic cultures. I’m fortunate to have a friend in my same boat who makes all her own fermented foods and shared her live, active grains. Talk about a lifesaver!

  116. My husband has IBS which is well managed now after many years of ill health. He eliminated wheat and dairy from his diet, and Is sparing with the sugar. He also takes a pancreatic enzyme supplement at mealtimes. Relapses are managed with a probiotic powder – 3 lac – and if severe he takes a single dose of a systemic anti fungal followed by a few days of oral nystatin. We eat paleo and he drinks straight scotch! Almond and orange cake is a favourite.

    • Would you share the name of the systemic anti-fungal? I got ringworm at the local gym and have been having problems getting rid of it. My guess is that food sensitivities, IBS, etc. are making it difficult. I need to be careful about taking products with too many components. Simple is usually better for me.


  117. Great article!Thank you,Chris!
    I have suffered from IBS for almost 5 years,from IBS-D to iBS-C.And of course,conventional medicine saw little success in me.Several months ago I got a food intolerance test,and it turned out that I am intolerant to many foods,such as wheat,rice,eggs,tomatoes,etc.Although I can manage my symptoms on my modified paleo diet,it seems that I just can’t eat out.Because of this,I applied for a one-year absence from my college.
    I am always hoping for a cure. I live in China,and I don’t know if there is any functional medicine practitioner I can work with here.I would really appreciate it if anyone could provide me with some information.Thank you.

  118. Dont rule out parasites with any gut problems. I bought fenbendazole for goats and took tsp a day for 3-4 weeks and finally got rid of chronic low grade diarrhea that i had had for over a year. I tried paleo diet and that seemed to help somewhat but only if i was nearly perfect and no cheating. I had lost 50 lbs of weight over 3 years and was beginning to get scared. Now my weight has stabilized. Still not digesting like i used to but great improvement. Doctors were no help, they just look at you like you’re crazy.

    • Yes I had a similar experience being diagnosed with IBS initially and then all symptoms clearing up after visiting an integrative ND who put me on a parasite cleanse. The 4 MDs I went to would not even entertain the idea it could be parasites or another gut infection.

  119. Thank you so much for your 5 causes of IBS.
    I’m an otherwise really fit 69 year old. My main symptoms are:
    a low grade gnawing pain/tenderness in the top of my gut; loose bowel causing 5-8 explosive motions during day
    and 3-5 during the night; and
    the consequent bouts of dehydration fatigue and unsteadiness;
    weightloss – 5 kilos in 6 months
    The bowel motions are virtually liquid.
    During the day I have time to get to a toilet.
    However, I have to wear thick tissues inside my underwear while I sleep in case it comes out before I wake up.
    Extremely disruptive of sleep as unconscious is always ‘listening’ for sign to wake up quickly and run to bathroom.
    I’ve had this loose bowel most of the time for the past 4 years,
    but it’s getting worse.
    I’ve been on such a healthy diet, so I’m at my wits end.
    All traditional GP wants me to do is have another colonoscopy.
    I don’t want that!
    Hoping if I can find a good functional GP here in Newcastle, Australia, I can start to heal following your guidelines.
    Is there a website listing functional practitioners in Australia?
    Your work is lifesaving Chris, never doubt it. I am mentally very resilient, but these symptoms with chronic sleep deprivation cause a dangerous despair at times.
    Best wishes,
    Luk Carlsen

    • You have an amazing physician in Australia, Dr. Thomas Borody, who is at the forefront of fecal transplant research. His is based in Five Dock – 61 2 9713 4011.

      I wish I could see him, but he is not taking patients outside of Australia. I believe he could potentially cure your gastrointestinal problem as the is regarded as one of the best.


    • I thought Australia was in the forefront of diagnosing and treating IBS. Definitely get the test for SIBO, lactose intolerance and fructose intolerance. Try the low FODMAP diet. It has definitely helped me eliminate explosive and unpredictable bowel movements. Also, Jarrows 299V probiotic has been a big help. You have to search for the right one for you. Align is supposed to be for IBS and I have taken many others, but the Jarrows formula is the only one with a noticeable difference.

    • Have you tried a parasite cleanse? There are several out there that are made from plants and tinctures. I got a parasite on an Alaskan cruise from eating raw oysters. Took a little over a year to figure out and cure. Lost nearly 30 pounds of mostly muscle mass. Hard to bring back muscle mass when you are nearing 60.

    • Sounds to me like a gall bladder issue.
      I suggest trying milk thistle and King Bio Homeopathic gallbladder homeopathic formula.
      Also, take a pancreatic enzyme with meals to help fat digestion

      • For my IBS pain, this worked like magic for me: get whole tapioca pearls (with no additives). Use one part apple juice and three parts water. Boil and add pearls. Simmer and stir constantly until pearls dissolve and become clear. Let cool and refrigerate. Amazing. I keep it around always.

    • Luk,
      I’ve been suffering similar symptoms with weight loss, and I’m a very slender female already.
      I believe I have found the answer to my IBS.
      I believe I have a histamine intolerance, or HIT. After doing extensive research and eliminating foods high in histamine from my diet and incorporating anti inflammatory and antihistamine herbs and foods, I’m noticing a dramatic difference. I’m not cured, but I believe I am finally on my way to healing. Look up ” the low histamine chef “, she has great insight.

      • The reason for the histamine intolerance is that you don’t have the right type of good bacteria in the intestines to break it down. I think Chris has talked about this.

    • Luk, with great concern and sympathy, I have been thru similar for 4 years. My cure was a colonoscopy. Probably the cleanse for it. After procedure heavy on fiber. No more problem. Try just the prep then fiber rich afterward. Hope for you!

    • Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Luk, with great concern and sympathy, I have been thru similar for 4 years. My cure was a colonoscopy. Probably the cleanse for it. After procedure heavy on fiber. No more problem. Try just the prep then fiber rich afterward. Hope for you!

  120. I’ve been suffering with what I’ve been told is IBS for several years now but it has gotten increasingly worse in this past year. In Feb. I went to a new PCP who said I had BAM (bile acid malabsorption and gave me WelChol tablets – helped for a couple of months, now issues are as bad if not worse than before. New gastro gave me IBGard (peppermint oil) capsules which should help. Sorry, I’m STILL experiencing problems. Don’t believe there is a Functiional Medicine dr. in my area:((

    • Lisa
      Gluten is found in other items, that are not wheat. Such as couscous, Rye, Barley etc.
      Buckwheat contains NO gluten, so your idea to call it a wheat sensitivity would not be helpful.

    • Hi – have been diagnosed as ‘likely celiac’ after all the tests and
      changing diet from ‘totally Mediterranean’ to ‘totally confused’
      as I am eating oats for breakfast with no re-actions, am too scared to eat most things with gluten/wheat, but eat absolutely everything when I’m in USA and feel healthy with no re-actions.
      When I get back to Australia and get back into my ‘normal foods’ again – off I go with the bloating, urgent toilet visits, big burps and acid reflux!! Am fed up with doctors and diets. Any
      ideas anyone??
      Millie – from Melbourne (Australia)

      • Sounds like a Small Intestinal Bacterial overgrowth, SIBO too. Make you stay away from food that has been genetically modified …GMO’s.
        Maybe parasitic reaction…..
        Food allergies/sensitivities….
        Start making bone broths to calm the digestive tract…GAPS diet may help….but get to a Functional Medicine MD
        Don’t mess around with this too long.

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