Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition in which the bowel does not function properly.
It is primarily a disorder of bowel motility that manifests as varying degrees of diarrhoea and/or constipation that are chronic and intermittent in nature as well as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and loss of appetite. Thus the symptoms can be similar to other bowel diseases but in IBS there are usually no visible changes to the bowel wall. It is sometimes described as “nervous indigestion” because there is often a link with stress or anxiety.
In addition to the likely presence of stress and/or emotional factors, other contributing factors may include a lingering infection, a low-fibre diet, food intolerance, “leaky gut”, bowel flora imbalances or liver problems.
It is helpful, when treating an individual patient with IBS, to identify whether the case is one of predominantly constipation or predominantly diarrhoea and to tailor the treatment accordingly.
Typically the natural treatment of IBS will be designed to achieve pain relief, stress reduction and improved stress adaptation, support for digestive and liver function, identification and management of food intolerances, dietary changes, avoidance of stimulants such as coffee and correction of any bowel flora imbalances.