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

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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.
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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)

2. SIBO

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!

393 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.
        Thanks
        Rachel

        • 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!

  7. 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..

      • Fermentation really ?was reading about a person who suggested finding foods as in meat fish cheese milk yogurt /don’t u want to avoid foods that ferment in ur intestinal tract?

        • 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!

  8. 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.
    Thanks.

    • 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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…

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

      • Stool test identified no harmful bacteria, although I don’t know if lactulose breath test is more accurate for sibo.

        • 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?

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

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