Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the large intestine. IBS causes stomach pain and irregular bowel movements.
Many experts consider IBS to be “incurable”. But here at PrimeHealth, we personally walk with and help patients reverse their IBS permanently.
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:
- Abdominal pain/cramping
- Excessive gas
- Irregular bowel habits
- Stomach growling
There are 4 types of IBS:
- IBS-D is IBS with increased instances of diarrhea.
- IBS-C is IBS with increased constipation.
- IBS-M (mixed) is when you have frequent diarrhea and constipation as a consequence of IBS.
- IBS-U (unclassified) is when your symptoms don’t fit into another category.
Is IBS a lifelong condition? Many gastroenterologists claim that IBS is a lifelong condition. Other doctors do not agree, though. Cutting-edge research is revealing that IBS can be cured for many patients.
Keep reading to learn about:
- How your gut microbiome affects IBS
- Functional IBS treatments
- How to cure IBS permanently in 5 steps
Can IBS be cured?
Backed by research and our firsthand experience, IBS patients may be cured if we identify and treat the root causes of IBS.
Has anyone been cured of IBS? In traditional medicine, patients are not “cured” of IBS. You can manage IBS, but you can’t cure IBS to the point where you no longer have to manage it.
However, very early evidence indicates that many forms of IBS can be cured. Depending on what is causing IBS, patients have been cured of IBS before.
At PrimeHealth, we identify which triggers patients deal with. Usually, by eliminating triggers, patients can be cured of IBS permanently.
Why do doctors say IBS has no cure?
Conventional medicine does not know how to classify or discuss diseases that can start from completely separate causes. Because the exact same IBS symptoms can be triggered by a dozen different root causes, there is not one single treatment for IBS — there are a dozen.
With a dozen IBS treatments that work in different IBS patients, conventional doctors say there is no cure.
It’s the same with hypothyroidism, which can be triggered by several different underlying causes. Since there are multiple treatments for hypothoyroid patients with the same diagnosis, conventional doctors say there is no cure for hypothyroidism.
Are IBS and IBD the same thing?
It is important not to confuse IBS and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). IBD exhibits some symptoms of IBS flare-ups. However, IBD only causes diarrhea, never constipation.
What are the unique symptoms of IBD? Unique symptoms for IBD can include:
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Blood and mucus in your stool
Treating Gut Imbalance As a Root Cause
One root cause of IBS may be an imbalance of good bacteria in your gut. Treating this gut imbalance may reduce IBS symptoms.
Good bacteria have important functions in the body:
- Protect against infection
- Support immune system
- Regulate digestion
- Help you feel full
A gut imbalance may refer to several different disorders:
- Gut dysbiosis is when harmful bacteria have overpowered your good gut bacteria.
- Leaky gut syndrome is when harmful gut bacteria have weakened your intestinal walls, allowing toxins to enter your bloodstream from the digestive system via enlarged tight junction (TJ) proteins.
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is when excess bacteria grows in your small intestine. Most gut bacteria should live in your large intestine.
- Antibiotic overuse may kill more good bacteria than bad bacteria. Using antibiotics may trigger a gut imbalance.
Often, probiotics treat gut imbalance. Probiotics are another term for “good bacteria”. If you consume probiotics — whether via dietary supplements, or food like yogurt or sauerkraut — then your gut can start to repopulate with good bacteria.
Cure IBS Permanently in 5 Simple Steps
It is controversial to say anyone can cure IBS at all. But at PrimeHealth, we have seen a huge percentage of our IBS patients live full lives without IBS symptoms after treatment.
The key is in the first step: testing for IBS triggers. IBS can be triggered by a dozen underlying causes and each IBS trigger requires a different treatment.
5 steps to permanently cure IBS:
- Test for IBS triggers
- Inquire about medications
- Start a low-FODMAP or other anti-inflammatory diet
- Make lifestyle changes
- Take gut-healing supplements
How long does it take for IBS to go away? It takes several months for IBS to go away completely for many patients. However, some IBS sufferers can experience a reduction in IBS symptoms in less than a day. It depends on which IBS trigger is causing the discomfort.
Below, we will go into a little detail for each of these steps.
1. Test for IBS Triggers
The first step to curing IBS permanently is identifying the IBS trigger that is causing your irritable bowel syndrome.
One or more of these IBS triggers may be to blame:
- Chronic stress
- Antibiotic overuse
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Yeast overgrowth
- Hormone imbalance
- Low vagal tone
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Food allergens
- Food poisoning
- Excessive alcohol
- Excessive caffeine
Some IBS triggers are more common than others. For instance, up to 84% of IBS patients have SIBO, which may trigger IBS symptoms. That is why we always test for SIBO in our IBS patients.
In some cases, we may trigger more than one IBS trigger that applies to an individual IBS patient.
2. Inquire About Medications
Many medications come with concerning side effects. Here at PrimeHealth, we prefer to keep the medication to a minimum. But there’s not doubt that some medication is very helpful for relieving IBS symptoms, especially certain antibiotics.
Medications for IBS may include:
- Prucalopride (Motegrity) and low-dose naltrexone are promotility agents used to treat IBS-C and, if present, SIBO. These medications support healthy bowel muscle movement (peristalsis) and can reduce constipation and bloating. Both of these medications are prescribed “off-label” for the treatment of IBS.
- Rifaximin is the generic of Xifaxan, an antibiotic which is FDA-approved to treat IBS-D. Rifaximin is an effective prescription medication we prescribe for IBS-D. (While several insurance companies don’t want to pay its high price tag, PrimeHealth uses pharmacies in Canada to obtain the generic form at a reasonable price when needed.) Rifaximin is also a viable antibiotic for IBS-C.
- Neomycin is a potential antibiotic we may use for IBS-C caused by methane-predominant SIBO.
- Metronidazole and tinidazole are antiparasitic antibiotics that PrimeHealth will use if a patient tests positive for parasites or methane-predominant SIBO.
- Antispasmodics are medications that relieve cramping. They may cause constipation, so antispasmodics are prescribed only for IBS-D patients.
- Loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) are two over-the-counter diarrhea medications that doctors often suggest.
- Laxatives, such as psyllium (Metamucil), add soluble fiber to your stool. This draws more water from your intestines, which may help with constipation. Drink plenty of water with laxatives.
- Biofilm disruptors (e.g. oregano, cinnamon, and curcumin) are a safe method of weakening harmful bacteria’s protective shell, called a biofilm. Biofilms are resistant to antibiotics, so a biofilm disruptor may be needed to neutralize harmful bacteria’s defenses.
3. Start a Low-FODMAP Diet
There are a few effective IBS diets. If you have an allergy to grains or dairy products, you can simply eliminate those food allergens from your diet and see if your IBS goes away.
However, the low-FODMAP diet is the most common IBS diet.
The low-FODMAP diet is a universally accepted diet for IBS sufferers. Many mainstream doctors have directed their IBS patients to adhere to the low-FODMAP diet.
FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols”. Essentially, FODMAPs are fermentable carbs. When these FODMAPs ferment in your gut, they can exacerbate IBS symptoms.
Avoid the following foods on a Low-FODMAP diet:
- Brussels sprouts
- Sugar/sugar alcohols
Technically, artificial sweeteners are not FODMAPs, and therefore safe to eat with IBS. However, artificial sweeteners have a science-backed reputation of toxicity. We suggest stevia and monk fruit as IBS-friendly sweeteners.
The low-FODMAP diet is meant to be an elimination diet, not necessarily a long-term diet. If IBS symptoms subside while on this diet, you can slowly reintroduce foods, determine which foods you can tolerate and how much you can handle.
The low-FODMAP diet is not recommended while treating SIBO with antibiotics. Antibiotics are more effective when you eat FODMAPs.
4. Make Lifestyle Changes
Curing IBS permanently takes lifelong lifestyle changes that can change your life for the better.
Lifestyle changes for IBS may include:
- Daily relaxation techniques
- Regular exercise
- Intermittent fasting
Relaxation techniques relieve stress and lower your risk of IBS. About half of Americans experience stress on a daily basis. Long-term stress can wreak havoc on your immune system and gut health.
7 ways to relieve stress:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- A full night’s sleep – for optimal melatonin production, we recommend blue light blocking glasses by Ra Optics (use code PRIMEHEALTH for 10% off)
- Spending time outside
Exercise seems to reduce IBS symptoms, according to more and more human research.
Studies show that physically active individuals are less likely to suffer from IBS than inactive individuals.
Recent studies found low-to-moderate intensity workouts reduced IBS symptoms, possibly due to exercise’s anti-inflammatory nature.
Intermittent fasting may help relieve IBS symptoms, because it allows for bowel rest. Bowel rest is needed to activate the MMC (migratory motor complex), which causes peristalsis — muscle contractions that move food to be processed in the digestive tract.
If you’re eating food too much, too quickly, or too often your digestive tract will not have enough time to properly process what you’re eating.
Fasting either in the mornings or evenings may help correct this. Aim for a fasting window of at least 12 hours. Slowly work your way to 16 hours between eating dinner and eating breakfast/lunch the next day.
Most people should tolerate this well. However, always consult a physician before starting any fasting regimen. Fasting is not recommended for pregnant or underweight individuals.
5. Take Gut-Healing Supplements
Gut-healing supplements are gaining popularity as all-natural methods of reducing IBS symptoms. Check out our online store for medical grade, 3rd party tested supplements.
These home remedies have brought relief to many IBS patients, according to years of peer-reviewed research.
Gut-healing supplements that can help with IBS:
- Probiotics, especially multi-strain probiotic supplements, improve gut bacteria diversity, which is a common IBS trigger.
- Peppermint oil is an effective therapy for IBS patient’s pain.
- Fiber supplements, such as psyllium, safely and effectively improve IBS symptoms.
- Magnesium: treats constipation, so it may help IBS-C patients.
- CBD (cannabidiol) shows promise as an IBS-C treatment.
- Vitamin D supplementation improves symptoms of IBS and quality of life in IBS patients.
- Digestive enzymes aid the GI tract in digestive processes.
- Oil of oregano treats SIBO, yeast infections, and leaky gut.
- Berberine treats yeast infections and SIBO.
- Artemisia can eliminate parasites.
- Chasteberry treats hormone imbalance.
- Herbal blends, such as Dysbiocide or FC-cidal, have been shown in clinical trials to treat SIBO.
Always talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before starting a new supplement regimen.
Looking to the Future…
You can permanently cure IBS by addressing the underlying cause. Here at PrimeHealth, our patients prove this is true.
10-year IBS patients have come through our door. Nothing worked for them. Then, we identified the root cause and prescribed a relatively short-term treatment for that issue. Within a few months, this 10-year affliction that mainstream doctors couldn’t fix had disappeared.
— Medically reviewed by Soyona Rafatjah, MD. on August 15, 2020
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