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General Description

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, known better simply as IBS, is an intestinal disorder characterized by a host of nebulous gastrointestinal symptoms. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from the condition.   

Unlike some other intestinal conditions, there is no evidence to suggest that IBS causes long term damage to the digestive system or that it pre-empts any more serious condition like cancer.  Most IBS patients find relief from the physical discomfort and emotional stress of the condition through a combination of treatments and lifestyle alterations.

Symptoms

Here is a list of all the major physical symptoms of IBS.  Note that not every patient will experience all these symptoms, but instead each case will include a unique constellation of those listed below.

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Bad taste in mouth
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Premature fullness while eating
  • Decreased appetite
  • Frequent burping
  • Audible sounds of digestion
  • Compulsive urge to use the restroom
  • Incomplete waste elimination
  • Insomnia or disrupted sleep
  • Headache
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Skin flush
  • Frequent diarrhea lasting more than 2 days
  • Constipation lasting more than 2 days
  • Excessive mucus in stools
  • Pain while passing stools
  • Abdominal discomfort relieved by stool passage
  • Increased flatulence
  • Visible and uncomfortable abdominal bloating

The following list indicates symptoms that are never associated with IBS and may be indicative of a more serious condition. If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, we at Health911 urge you to immediately seek medical attention to identify the cause of these potentially dangerous symptoms.

  • Blood in stools or urine
  • Persistent fever
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Pain that prevents restful sleep or awakens you at night
  • Hardening of the abdominal cavity or stomach
  • Diarrhea that wakes you up or interferes with sleep
For more valuable information on the symptoms of IBS, check out our full length report!

Causes

One exact cause of IBS has yet to be pinpointed.  Instead, a range of potential causes have been identified by doctors, natural remedy specialists, and even patients themselves, speaking to the delicate nature of the human digestive tract.  Some potential causes include: 

  • Stress – Rosemary Nicol, author of the 1995 book Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Natural Approach, notes, “Most people can trace their Irritable Bowel Syndrome back to a stressful time such as divorce, threat of job layoff, unemployment, exams, and so on.”  Her assertion is shared by doctors and patients alike, who often notice an increase in the severity of their symptoms during times of moderate to high stress.  
  • Infection and Antibiotics - There are many health providers who see the disruption of the natural gut flora as a cause of IBS.  Every human has colonies of “helpful” bacteria that live inside their intestinal tract and provide valuable assistance digesting food, maintaining pH levels, and trapping harmful agents. When these colonies become compromised or eliminated, it can cause a variety of health problems for the individual including IBS.  The two main events that can alter the levels of helpful bacteria in the intestines are infection (especially Candida, or yeast, infection) and antibiotic use.
  • Laxative Use - Very rare laxative use, while not the best solution to constipation, will not cause long term damage of the intestines.  However, too frequent use or abuse can hurt the two essential elements that keep bowels functioning in a proper manner: gut flora and muscle contractions.  This has been identified as a potential cause of IBS.
  • Dietary Causes - The Western diet is one of the most commonly suspected culprits for causing IBS.  Too many refined foods, fried foods, wheat and dairy, compounded with too little fiber and water can lead to a variety of gastrointestinal problems, not the least of which is IBS.  One study reported that wheat, corn, dairy, coffee, tea, and citrus fruits were among the most common types of food known to causes IBS.   

For more valuable information on the causes of IBS, check out our full length report!

How is IBS Diagnosed

Diagnosing IBS can best be described as process of elimination.  Since the classic symptoms of IBS are common to just about every gastrointestinal disorder, the most common approach to diagnosing it is to rule out any other condition that might be the cause. 

Expect your health care professional to perform a general physical examination and ask about any symptoms you’ve noticed along with changes in appetite, sleep habits, sexual function, and medications. To eliminate other gastrointestinal conditions, your health care provider may order blood tests to check for Celiac Disease or hypothyroidism or have x-rays of your abdomen taken. Additionally, they may want to perform a colonoscopy to check for bowel obstructions.

If your doctor suspects a food allergy is causing all or some of your symptoms, they will likely encourage diet trials to establish which food(s) may be affecting your system.  Often, they will start with lactose intolerance tests to check for any dairy allergies. 

After the various exams assessing your condition are complete and negative for more serious conditions, your health care professional may feel ready to give you a diagnosis of IBS.  At this time, they will make suggestions regarding your dietary habits and may recommend a course of prescription or alternative treatment to address your symptoms.

For more valuable information on how IBS is diagnosed, check out our full length report!

Traditional Treatments

Over the past fifteen years, a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications have been utilized by health care professionals to alleviate the symptoms of IBS, including anti-diarrheals, antibiotics, anti-cholinergics, and anti-depressants. There is currently no IBS-specific medication approved by the FDA.

  • Anti-Diarrheals - A common suggestion for patients who suffer from IBS characterized by diarrhea is the chemical loperamide.  Known best under the brand names Imodium and Lomotil, loperamide is an anti-diarrheal medication available over-the-counter that works by slowing digestive rhythm.  Common side effects of anti-diarrheals include constipation and physical dependence.  Most anti-diarrheal medications are available over-the-counter.
  • Anti-Depressants - Anti-depressants are often prescribed to patients reporting symptoms of IBS to both stimulate serotonin production and also relieve emotional stress and anxiety which may be antagonizing symptoms.  There is some evidence that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) help reduce symptoms of IBS by blocking the activity of specific intestinal nerves.  Common brand name SSRIs prescribed to IBS patients includes Prozac and Paxil.  It should be noted that when anti-depressants are used for IBS they are prescribed at doses significantly lower than prescriptions used to treat depression.  Side effects of anti-depressants include hypomania, headaches, reduced libido, and weight gain.
  • Anti-Cholingerics - A health care provider may prescribe an anti-cholingeric, also known as an anti-spasmodic, to ease bowel spasms. This type of medication inhibits acetylcholine, a neural transmitter that works in the nervous system by binding with nerve cells to relay messages of action, sensation, or pain. While they can be effective in treating diarrhea, anti-cholingerics can exacerbate constipation as well as disrupt coordination, cause double vision, and increase body temperature.  The most well known brand of anti-cholingerics is Spiriva.
  • Narcotic Analgesics - In some instances, narcotic analgesics have been prescribed to treat the symptoms of IBS.  Narcotic analgesics, known best under the brand names Vicodin, Percocet, and Codeine, are opioid painkillers which are used in situations where an IBS patient’s stress levels cannot be effectively controlled through other means or where the bloating and cramping caused by the condition is unmanageably uncomfortable.  The prescription of narcotic analgesics is relatively rare due to the significant risk of addiction associated with them. Side effects include neural chemical dependence, drowsiness, and constipation.
  • Antibiotics - If it is suspected that an individual’s IBS is caused by a bacterial imbalance in the intestines, a health care professional may prescribe a course of antibiotics to reduce colonies of unwanted flora.  However, as previously noted, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that antibiotic use is one of the main causes of IBS, making this traditional treatment option slightly ironic.  The general side effect of antibiotics for IBS is diarrhea, however decreased absorption of other medications is also common. 

For more valuable information on the traditional treatments for IBS, check out our full length report!

Misdiagnosis of Symptoms

One of the most challenging elements of IBS is that its symptoms are broad and common among most gastrointestinal conditions, making it easy to misdiagnosis the symptoms of IBS. To help you understand your symptoms more, below is a list of the most common conditions IBS can be mistaken for (and vice versa) including what their symptoms are and how they can be distinguished from IBS.

  • Food allergies - Food allergies are immune system reactions to chemical compounds found in certain types of food. The most common symptoms of a food allergy include hives, numbness in the mouth, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting, and dizziness.  Food allergies and IBS may be hard to differentiate between because just as an IBS episode can be “triggered’ by certain types of food, an individual with a food allergy will experience a reaction every time they eat a food they are allergic to.  If an individual is not experiencing other symptoms of allergy, such as hives, swollen tongue or lips, or anaphylactic shock, the best way to distinguished between a food allergy and IBS is through blood tests which can measure the amount of immune cells present in the blood before and after eating potentially allergic foods.   
  • Food intolerances - Food intolerances are physical reactions to chemical compounds found in certain types of food.  Unlike a food allergy, food intolerances are not caused by immune system responses but instead by a variety of issues, ranging from the absence of necessary digestive enzymes to sensitivity to synthetic preservatives. Symptoms for food intolerances typically include abdominal bloating, cramping, diarrhea, excess gas, and constipation. While food intolerances may trigger bouts of IBS, they are not synonymous with the condition.  There are several tests that can be done to establish if the symptoms an individual experiences are caused by IBS or an intolerance, including a trial and error test and an enzyme test.  
  • Celiac Disease - Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the colon. Celiac Disease can cause long term damage to the intestinal tract and increase the risk of developing cancer, specifically lymphoma, by up to 50% due to the inappropriate activation of the immune system.  Celiac Disease exhibits almost identical symptoms to IBS.  The most common way to tell them apart is through a blood test that measures the amount of immune cell antibodies in the blood stream. Celiac patients will have high levels of antibodies in their blood, while IBS patients will not.
  •  Crohn’s Disease - Crohn’s Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that is characterized by an inflammation of intestines.  Unlike Ulcerative Colitis, which affects just the upper layer of the intestinal lining, Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation deep in the lining tissue, causing severe pain and other serious complications. Many of the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are similar to IBS, and common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping.  Other symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are bloody stools, undesired weight loss, and ulcers. There are a variety of tests which should be performed if you report these symptoms, including fecal analysis, blood tests, and small bowel imaging to check for ulcers and other perforations in the intestinal lining that can lead to other, potentially fatal conditions.
  • Ulcerative Colitis - Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which is characterized by continual inflammation of the lining of the large intestine and rectum. The basic symptoms of all UC types are abdominal pain and diarrhea.  While Ulcerative Colitis shares symptoms with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is easily distinguished from IBS through bloody stools and side-specific pain.  While mucus in stools is common with IBS, blood in stools is not a recognized symptom of the condition.  Similarly, IBS does not cause severe pain or pain that is specific to one side of the body or intestinal tract.  Also, serious weight loss is not a symptom of IBS..

For more valuable information on potential IBS misdiagnosis, check out our full length report!

Companion Conditions

Because of its crucial role in digestion and nutrient absorption, dysfunctions of the gastrointestinal system can affect other systems in the body, causing not only a host of side effects but also an increased risk for developing several other conditions.  There are a few common “companion conditions” that often develop in tandem with IBS as a result of the syndrome.

  • Fibromyalgia - Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition. Its symptoms include muscle pain, fatigue, stiffness, poor sleep, and inexplicably sore points on the body. The Mayo Clinic reports that around 2% of the United States population suffers from fibromyalgia.  A study published in the 1991 edition of the British Journal of Rheumatology reported that “as many as 60% of IBS patients also suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Conversely, as many as 70% of FMS patients have reported experiencing symptoms of IBS.” 
  • Leaky gut syndrome - “Leaky gut syndrome” is a phrase used most often by alternative health practitioners to describe the physical situation when the lining of the intestines becomes too permeable, allowing toxins, parasites, and other harmful elements to pass out of the digestive tract and directly into the blood stream.  As these elements “leak” into the rest of the body, the immune system is triggered to neutralize them, thereby causing a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gas, cramping, and food sensitivity. Dr. Andrew Weil notes that currently, Leaky gut syndrome is not recognized as an accepted medical condition in the mainstream medical community, however suggests that evidence to support its existence is growing. However, many medical professionals believe that what some call LGS is really an instance of Celiac Disease. 
  • Other Conditions - There has been some speculation that a link exists between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other conditions, such as liver enzyme imbalances and arthritis, however these claims have not been validated by any significant mainstream or alternative research.  Furthermore, while mild nutrient malabsorption is possible in patients with IBS, there is not enough evidence to indicate it ever occurs on a serious or notable level.  Individuals who are concerned about nutrient loss due to chronic diarrhea should be sure to take a daily multivitamin and eat nutrient rich foods to avoid any slight potential of malabsorption.  

For more valuable information on companion conditions for IBS, check out our full length report!

Changes to Make

There are a number of lifestyle remedies that an individual who suffers from IBS may utilize to soothe their symptoms. 

  • Stress Management - Stress management is a key lifestyle remedy for all individuals suffering from IBS due to its relationship to the condition. There are a variety of effective stress management techniques that can be employed by IBS patients to provide a lifestyle remedy to their chronic symptoms.  Such techniques include practicing yoga, meditation, taking up a hobby like painting or playing an instrument, or caring for an affectionate pet.  Another effective stress management strategy is to engage in conscious time management.  The bottom line when it comes to stress management is actively seeking out a strategy that is effective for you as an individual.   
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment - Some individuals suffering with IBS find the incorporation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) very effective in helping to reduce their symptoms.  CBT is a research based form of talk-therapy where individuals work with a psychologist to set treatment goals, discuss various goal achievement techniques, and measure progress of their condition.  CBT has been shown to be effective with IBS patients as a lifestyle remedy because it helps isolate and improve sources of subconscious or unidentified stress.   
  • Exercise - Exercise is a lifestyle remedy that can help release physical and emotional stress, two factors that contribute strongly to the symptoms and frequency of IBS episodes.  Moderate activities, such as walking, using a cardio machine, and light weight training, can increase the amount of serotonin released in the brain.  Serotonin, as noted in previous sections, is the “happy” brain chemical that stimulates well-being, euphoria, and muscle relaxation.  Exercise also promotes blood flow and circulation, which can help stimulate regular bowel movements and decreased flatulence. 
  • Hypnotherapy - Hypnotherapy has long been utilized as a lifestyle remedy for IBS.  It is a form of psychotherapy that works through the power of suggestion to reduce stress and calm the symptoms of the condition.  Hypnotherapy has been proven to both reduce stress and soothe bloating, cramping, flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea. In addition to promoting relaxation, hypnotherapy can also allow an individual a unique venue to work through the root emotional cause of IBS and resolve it.  Hypnotherapy may be performed by a hypnotherapist or as a self-induced treatment.  Both forms of therapy, self-induced hypnosis or hypnosis with a therapist, have been shown through medical studies to be very effective in reducing IBS symptoms.  Olafur Palsson, Psy. D., notes that in published studies on hypnosis for IBS, “the response rate to hypnosis is 80 percent or better.”
  • Other Options - There are several additional lifestyle remedies for IBS that have shown promising if not quantifiable results for improving symptoms.  These remedies include acupuncture and massage.   

For more valuable information on the lifestyle remedies for IBS, check out our full length report!

Vitamins & Supplements

An extremely successful form of alternative treatment which is gaining traction in the management of IBS is the use of vitamins and supplements to both soothe symptoms and regulate intestinal function.

  • Probiotics - Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that enjoy a symbiotic relationship with human hosts.  Philip A. Pappas, Ph.D. notes that “The use of probiotics can help regulate the spastic nature of the bowel, [they] aid in the whole digestive process and promote regularity and stop diarrhea.”  Probiotic supplements are available in several over-the-counter forms that help to replenish strains of beneficial gut flora in the digestive system, including oral capsules and dairy products fortified with with colonies of helpful bacteria.
  • Vitamin B12 - B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally found in fish, meat, and dairy products.  It is used by the digestive tract to assist in the proper digestion of food.  Individuals who suffer from IBS characterized by diarrhea may not absorb enough B12 and therefore become deficient, which can lead to other problems which exacerbate IBS like pernicious anemia.  While taking a B12 supplement by itself is often not enough to eliminate a person’s IBS, it is an integral step that can assist in the healing process. According to the NIH, the RDA for B12 in individuals who are not pregnant or nursing over the age of 14 is 2.4 mcg. 
  • Calcium and Magnesium - While their role in digestion is often overlooked, both calcium and magnesium are key supplements that can aid in the regulation of IBS.  The two supplements are best as a team when it comes to reducing irregular digestive symptoms, as on its own calcium promotes constipation and by itself magnesium can cause diarrhea.  However, when taken together they work in tandem to encourage proper and rhythmic muscle movement in the bowels. The basic rules of thumb when considering adding these supplements to your diet is to take them together and take 2x as much calcium as magnesium since magnesium absorbs easier than calcium.  The RDA for calcium as dictated by the NIH is 1,000 mg for individuals under 50.  The RDA for magnesium is 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women.   
  • L-Glutamine - L-Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid and a supplement that is especially important for digestive health.  It is the main source of energy for the cells lining the intestines and helps keep the walls of the intestinal tract and mucus membrane strong to prevent toxins from “leaking” into the rest of the system.  Patients who suffer from IBS characterized by diarrhea have found L-Glutamine supplements to be very effective in treating their symptoms as it reduces the amount of water in stools.  The recommended initial dosing for IBS patients is ¼ tsp mixed into 8oz of water taken on an empty stomach.  If symptoms are not relieved or decreased within a week, dosing can be increased in increments of ¼ tsp until satisfactory results are achieved.  There is no established RDA for L-Glutamine.  Side effects are limited to upset stomach, however individual with kidney problems should not take L-Glutamine.
  • Fish Protein - One of the most unique supplements that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of IBS is pre-digested fish protein.  Known best under the brand name SeaCure, predigested fish protein is made from lean, deep-ocean white fish that is fermented to create a product that is rich in peptides, a protein molecule that is absorbed through the intestinal membrane.  Individuals suffering from IBS have praised its effectiveness in alleviated their symptoms; one patient noted, “used regularly, [fish protein] does more to alleviate irritable bowel problems that any fiber pills or powdered products I have taken.” Pre-digested fish protein supplements are available in 500 mg capsule form.  The suggested daily dose is 3 grams, or six capsules.  There are no reported side effects or RDA for this supplement. 
For more valuable information on vitamins and supplements for IBS, check out our full length report!

Talk with your Doctor
Maintaining digestive health in today’s world can be a real challenge due to a variety of environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors which threaten the delicate balance of the intestinal tract.  To make sure you get the treatment and solutions you need to experience digestive function at optimal levels, it is vital that you advocate for your own intestinal health through asking questions of your health care professional and educating yourself.  If you suspect you may be suffering from IBS, use the guide below to start getting the information and treatment you need from your health care providers.   
  • Keep a Symptoms Journal: If you are starting to suspect you may suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the first thing you need to do is record your observations regarding the nature, severity, frequency, and duration of intestinal symptoms you experience in a Symptoms Journal.  You should also include a daily record of all the food you eat and note any correlations you see between specific foods and gastrointestinal reactions. After you have 2-3 weeks of data recorded in your Symptoms Journal, review what you have observed and, if you feel something is out of the ordinary, call your health care provider and make an appointment to investigate.  Be sure to take your symptoms journal with you to the appointment!
  • Ask The Right Questions: Help direct the examination with your health care provider and also advocate for yourself by asking specific questions regarding what they are noticing.  Here are a few questions to ask as they are performing a physical exam:
  • Are you noticing bloating in my abdomen?
  •  Do you suspect a food allergy?
  • Does my skin have a different consistency than normal to you?
  • Have I gained or lost weight since my last visit?
  • Do you suspect an IBD or Celiac Disease as a cause of my symptoms? Why or why not?
  • Volunteer Information: Just because your health care professional doesn’t ask doesn’t mean it isn’t important.  Be sure to volunteer as much information as you can throughout the entire examination as you think of issues without waiting to be asked directly.  In addition to sharing the results of your Symptoms Journal, be sure you share information about your recent diet, travel, alcohol and drug consumption, etc. Nothing is irrelevant when it comes to diagnosing your digestive dysfunction!
  • Request Certain Tests: When you are at your appointment with your health care provider, insist they order blood tests and imaging screens to check for more serious gastrointestinal conditions.  Remember, the symptoms of IBS are identical to many more sinister conditions, therefore IBS should be a diagnosis given only when every other potential cause of the symptoms has been ruled out.

For more valuable information on talking to your doctor about IBS, check out our full length report!

Remedies

In addition to the variety of vitamin and supplements that have been shown to help handle and improve the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there are a host of herbal remedies which mainstream medical professionals and alternative practitioners alike also recommend for managing the condition.

  • Anti-Spasmodic Herbs - Like their prescription cousins, anti-spasmodic herbs ease the bowel spasms characteristic of IBS and help reduce diarrhea or the oscillation between diarrhea and constipation.  They inhibit the neural transmitters that send signals to the gut, allowing the intestinal muscles to relax and become smooth.  Some Anti-Spasmodic herbs include lavender (Lavedula officinalis), anise seed (Pimpinella anisum), wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum), and betony (Stachys betonica). 
  • Ayurvedic Herbs - Ayurvedic herbs are a class of Indian plants which have been proven effective in treating a variety of medical problems, including IBS.  Traditional Ayurvedic herbs include ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), guggul (commiphora murkul), and kachnar (bauhinia pupurea), bael tree fruit (aegle marmelos), conessi tree (halarrhena anti-dysenterica), guduchi stem (tinospora corifolia), pomegranate fruit (punica  granatum), and nut grass (cyperus rotundus).  When it comes to individual dosing, Dr. Virender Sodhi, an Ayurvedic specialist, cautioned in a 2003 edition of Natural Health Magazine that “A doctor trained in natural medicine can help you determine which treatment is most appropriate and what doses to take.” 
  • Chamomile and Valerian - These two herbs have been found to be effective dealing with IBS characterized by diarrhea or combination diarrhea and constipation because they relax the movement of the intestinal muscles and slow the passage of stools through the bowels.  Both herbs have mild sedative properties, and therefore should not be taken before driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Chinese Herbs - There are 20 distinct Chinese herbs which can be utilized together to improve symptoms of IBS, including Asian Psyllium Seed, Fang Feng Root, Licorice Root, and Ginger Root.   While there are some premade capsules available that contain these traditional Chinese herbs, it is recommended that individuals interested in using them for IBS healing see a professional herbologist or Chinese practitioner to receive a personalized blend.   
  • Peppermint - Peppermint is one of the most heralded herbal treatments available for IBS.  It can soothe the digestive tract and calm irregular and spastic intestinal movements.  It is considered a natural anti-spasmodic and carminative, an element that removes blocked gas from the digestive tract.  Peppermint can be utilized effectively in either oil or tea form.  To make peppermint tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp of dried peppermint leaves or 2 tsp fresh leaves.  Let the tea steep for 10 minutes to reach its optimal potency before enjoying.  You may drink up to four cups a day if necessary.

Many IBS sufferers also find relief from their symptoms by incorporating the following dietary adjustments into their daily routines:

  • Keeping a Food Diary – Most IBS sufferers notice there is one particular trigger food that aggravates their symptoms. While common triggers include dairy, fatty foods, and wheat products, patients have reported trigger foods that reach across all food groups and compositions.  Keeping a food diary can help you understand what foods may trigger your specific symptoms.   
  • Water - Maintaining proper hydration is especially key for IBS patients who are increasing the amount of fiber in their diet.  Fiber will only make stools softer and easier to pass when it is moist; if fiber is ingested and not hydrated properly it will also become hard and rigid inside the intestines and promote constipation and bloating.  To keep fiber, and other material, moving effectively through the intestines it is important to drink at least 64 oz of water per day.  Drink more if you can – some experts suggest an ounce of water for every 1-2 pounds of body weight.  
  • Processed and Refined Foods - Reducing the amount of processed and refined foods in the diet can go a long way to calming the symptoms of IBS.  Examples of everyday processed and refined foods includes French fries, bacon, packaged cakes and cookies, hot dogs, most breakfast cereals, canned foods, chips, and anything made with white flour like white bread, refined pasta, and white rice.  Lunch meats, such as Spam and deli meats, are also highly processed and treated with large amounts of synthetic chemical preservatives. If you are suffering from IBS, significantly reducing the amount of these foods you consume and replacing them with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help soothe your symptoms.
  • Dairy and Wheat - Dairy products and wheat products are common causes of intestinal dysfunction in humans.  In dairy, the offending agent is typically lactose, a sugar that some stomachs find challenging to digest properly.  In wheat, the culprit is gluten, a protein found in barley and oats.  Unsurprisingly, both of these food types have been linked to causing or exacerbating IBS.

For more valuable information on natural remedies for IBS, check out our full length report!

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