What’s causing my IBS?

It is a rarity in my clinic to have someone who doesn’t complain about bloating in one form or another. I would say 70% of people I see have gut problems, ranging from IBS to more serious conditions like crohns disease but the overall complaint is nearly always bloating. Bloating is one of the main symptoms of IBS consisting of alternating constipation/diarrhoea, pain and gas. Apart from the physical symptoms, it also can leave people extremely incapacitated and in extreme cases can ruin the quality of people’s lives. The confusion over IBS leads people to self diagnose and eliminate gluten and dairy from their diet – this is not the full story and the problem may be the gut itself rather than the food you are eating. However, even more confusingly it can be both the food you are eating and your gut.

If you have seen your GP/consultant and they have found no obvious cause of your symptoms and you have been diagnosed with IBS then read on…

Causes of IBS

The most common causes of IBS are

Prolonged levels of stress decreasing the immunity and making the gut more vulnerable to opportunistic bacteria, yeast and parasites

Low levels of gut flora leading to gut dysbiosis. This happens after stress, a bad diet, or after a course of antibiotics

A higher than normal level of candida or yeasts in the bowel usually after antibiotics, bad diet or high levels of stress

Parasite infections – with the amount of people travelling now, nearly 30% of people I see have undiagnosed parasites in the bowel

Too much food creating gas i.e. indigestible carbohydrates like onions, garlic, leeks, and vegetables in general

Too much sugar in the diet leading to severe bloating and trapped wind. If the bowel has an overgrowth of yeast, the sugar will feed it. The patient will often describe this as feeling nine months pregnant!

Food intolerances or allergies i.e. wheat, gluten, cows milk etc

Undiagnosed lactose intolerance, coeliac disease, ulceratative colitis or crohns disease – if you are in any doubt, see your GP and ask for a test.

How do you find out if you have any of the above?

A simple stool test and allergy test will sort out the cause of your symptoms.
Click on IBS clinic for more information.

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