Causes of IBS and How to Manage It

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestine. It can cause several symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. IBS is usually a chronic condition that requires long-term management. This article will discuss the potential causes of IBS and provide tips on how to manage symptoms.

Causes of IBS

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but several factors may play a role:

  • Abnormal gut microbiome – People with IBS tend to have a different mix of gut bacteria compared to healthy individuals. Having too many “bad” bacteria or not enough “good” bacteria is linked to IBS symptoms. 
  • Brain-gut dysfunction – There appears to be a problem with communication between the brain and the gut in people with IBS. This can affect gut motility, sensation and pain signalling.
  • Food intolerance – Some people with IBS have difficulty digesting certain foods like dairy products, beans, cabbage and wheat. This may trigger symptoms.
  • Stress and anxiety – Stress hormones may increase gut sensitivity and stimulate muscle contractions in the intestine, leading to abdominal pain and altered bowel habits.
  • Gut infections – Previous gut infections from bacteria, viruses or parasites could damage the digestive system and cause persistent symptoms.

Managing IBS

While there is no cure for IBS, several lifestyle changes and treatments can help manage symptoms:

  • Avoid trigger foods – Keeping a food diary can help identify problem foods that exacerbate symptoms. Limiting your intake of gas-producing foods, as well as foods containing FODMAPs (fermentable carbohydrates) may help.
  • Take regular exercise – Moderate physical activity helps relieve stress and improves gut motility. Aim for 30 minutes per day.
  • Manage stress – Stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga and cognitive behavioural therapy can help control IBS symptoms. 
  • Fibre supplements – Soluble fibre like psyllium husk can relieve constipation by adding bulk to stools.
  • Antispasmodics – These drugs help reduce painful intestinal spasms and cramping. Common options are hyoscine and mebeverine.
  • Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil capsules may relax intestinal muscles. However, they can worsen heartburn.
  • Probiotics – These healthy gut bacteria supplements may restore the balance of microflora in the intestines and improve IBS symptoms.
  • Avoid smoking and excess alcohol – These irritate the digestive system and make IBS worse.
  • Seek support – Joining an IBS support group can help people share experiences and coping strategies.

Work with a Functional Medicine Practitioner

Functional medicine practitioners take a holistic, root-cause approach to treating IBS. Unlike conventional doctors who focus on symptom management, a London nutritionist can identify and address the underlying dysfunctions that contribute to gut issues. This may involve testing for food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, microbial imbalances, and effects of stress. Functional medicine uses personalised diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations to restore optimal gut health. 

Working with a functional medicine London practitioner skilled in functional medicine approaches can help determine your unique IBS triggers and support your body’s natural ability to heal. This leads to long-term reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life.

For severe IBS cases, stronger medications are available to provide additional symptom relief. It’s also important to get tested for other possible gastrointestinal conditions. With the right lifestyle changes and medications, most people can control their IBS symptoms and enjoy an improved quality of life.

Jason Holder

My name is Jason Holder and I am the owner of Mini School. I am 26 years old. I live in USA. I am currently completing my studies at Texas University. On this website of mine, you will always find value-based content.

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