The Mystery of an IBS Diagnosis and Natural Healing
Marilyn struggled with constipation and abdominal pain for as long as she could remember. As a child, she remembers having stomachaches. Her doctor diagnosed “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS) and gave her a medication that didn’t work. Finally, after many years, a colonoscopy revealed she had a redundant colon. Marilyn discovered her IBS went away if she:
- Ate vegetarian whole foods
- Consumed foods with lots of fiber
- Avoided dairy
- Got a vitamin B12 shot every week
Mark was plagued with lower abdominal pain and diarrhea. He was unable to leave the house in the morning because he would have to use the toilet up to six times after breakfast. This made it very difficult to plan his day, and he was always uncomfortable. He heard about “intermittent fasting,” eating only between 10am and 6pm and decided to try it. Within days, his symptoms completely resolved.
Charlotte was told she had IBS from a “nervous stomach.” She would have times that she felt fine. But then the bloating would randomly return and make her very uncomfortable. After years of doctors and numerous medications, she only got temporary relief from her symptoms. But then she found a probiotic bacterial supplement that completely resolved the issue.
Finley was thin but couldn’t gain weight in spite of eating a lot of food. He always had mild stomach issues. The doctors told him he had IBS but didn’t offer any treatment that helped. On a business trip in China, he found his abdominal pain and bloating resolved. While he was there only a couple of weeks, he was able to gain ten pounds while eating fewer calories! He realized that the food in China had no gluten in it, so he decided to eat a gluten-free diet. The gluten-free diet worked for him and resolved his IBS symptoms.
When Joan was little, she complained of stomachaches all the time. Her mother took her to doctors, who told her to give the child milk to soothe her stomach. The milk seemed to work, but the symptoms always returned. She got obese on what she thought was very little food. She would get constipated, and then sometimes get diarrhea. There was no way to predict what was going to happen. She did tests for food sensitivities and found that she had milk intolerance. She went off all milk and diary products, and for the first time in her life felt normal. She was also able to lose weight without dieting.
Julissa had constipation, nausea and stomach pains for many years. Her doctors told her she had IBS, and tried anti-depressant medications. These worked for her. She was able to function at her high-stress job with much less distraction from her intestines. After years of being on the medication, she quit her job to work from home, and found that she didn’t need it anymore.
The most common diagnosis given by gastroenterologists, those who specialize in diseases of the intestines, is not a diagnosis at all. IBS is really just a collection of symptoms that people can have for a variety of reasons. Some have food allergies, others have infections, and still others come from anxiety. There is such a wide gap between all the causes of bowel symptoms that it is essential to find the roots of this one. If we don’t know the cause, we’re unable to treat it.
Where to Start
Start with a diagnosis. Looking for the cause is both the hardest and the most rewarding way to begin. The diagnosis isn’t IBS, that’s just naming the symptoms, the real diagnosis must identify the cause. The cases above illustrate the importance of knowing why you have IBS. If you have a gluten sensitivity, and you treat your symptoms by avoiding all milk products, that’s not going to work. You must know the exact reason for your particular case of IBS before you can move forward and fix the problem.
As you peruse the list of possible reasons for IBS, consider which one or ones apply to you. You may even need to do testing in some cases to be sure, but mostly I’ll tell you how to proceed without testing.
Possible reasons for IBS: