Symptoms and Causes of IBS

20 October 2011 Categories: Articles

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is the name given to a functional disorder of the bowel.  It affects 1:10 people, is not life threatening, does not cause cancer but it can be very debilitating.

So what causes IBS?  Well, a host of things may contribute to the problem.

Your diet.

A diet of processed foods, sugar, caffeine and fried foods is not the best for your digestive system or your health. Eat lots of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, small amounts of protein such as fish and chicken and slow working carbohydrates.

A food sensitivity.

It may be that you have a food sensitivity. You can keep a food diary to see if your reactions tend to always start after a certain food, or try an elimination diet, introducing one food at a time.

On the other hand having a Vega test for food sensitivities can give you immediate results.


If you have had food poisoning or been abroad and suffered bowel problems it may be that you have parasites, which can be eliminated with certain remedies.

Fungal infection.

Antibiotics, steroids and the contraceptive pill can all upset the bowel flora and kill off good as well as bad bacteria. This allows fungus to grow which results in a yeast infection. It is important to take probiotics to put the good bacteria back into the gut and to take an anti fungal remedy to remove the over growth.

Leaky Gut syndrome

When the lining of the gut becomes inflamed it is rather like a sieve where the holes become large and allow bacteria, toxins and food to leak through into the body. A good supplement to help line the gut wall is essential in this situation.

Deficiency of digestive enzymes.

If you constantly eat cooked processed food your body is forced to supply all of the enzymes needed to digest that food. Your body will eventually use up its ability to produce enzymes and this causes symptoms such as fatigue, abdominal bloating and discomfort, indigestion, wind, constipation, headaches, bowel problems and the passing of undigested food in the stool. Taking a good supplement of digestive enzymes can help this situation.

Imbalance in the gut flora.

This leads to bad digestion, bloating and wind.

An Acid/Alkaline imbalance leading to inflammation.

The stomach is extremely acidic in order to start the digestion of proteins, however the rest of the digestive tract is supposed to be alkaline and the pancreatic enzymes will only work in an alkaline medium. Eating lots of green vegetables will help to keep the gut alkaline and there are good supplements to help as well.

An Immune reaction to Lectins

Lectins are sticky proteins that make up part of a plant’s natural immune system. They will attach to the healthy sugar molecules in your digestive system, and wreak havoc with your immune system causing inflammation.

Many people say that their flare-ups are caused by stress. It causes chemical changes in the brain which act on the nerves in the colon. These then cause the intestines to contract or go into spasm too fast or too slow and it may in turn influence motility (the propelling of contents through the gut).