What is IBS

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?


IBS is in reality a vague term as it presents with divers symptoms involving different parts of the digestive system such as bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence … Seventy percent of these cases are due to small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO).

There is a back flow from the large intestine in to the small intestine due to a variety of reasons: adhesions, stress, hypothyroid, radiation, lack of digestive enzymes bile, stomach acid, auto-immune diseases ….

The small intestine is populated by a small concentration of bacteria, contrary to the large intestine, which is heavily populated with over a thousand  different species. We could not survive without them as they play an important role in digesting, detoxing, the absorption of minerals, nutrients and also play a very important role in the immune system (80 % of the immune system is located in the gut). When there is a reduction in the variety and an imbalance in the different species of bacteria (Dysbiosis), it can lead to many food intolerances.

The digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place essentially in the small intestine. If it is now populated with an abnormal number of bacteria or fungus or even parasites, the absorption of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, good fats will all be compromised!

The bloating occurs soon after meals due to the fermentation by these bacteria that is now taking place in the small intestine rather than in the large intestine. The stretching of the stomach from the bloating will cause the opening of the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus and  eventually cause heartburn. The fermentation taking place in the bowel will cause the build-up of one of the following gases: Methane, Hydrogen and Hydrogensulfide. Methane will cause constipation and in the presence of Hydrogen released by the bacteria it will cause diarrhoea, while Hydrogensulfide will in turn cause alternating constipation and diarrhoea.

The good news is that you don’t need to live with the unpleasant and often embarrassing side effects of  IBS as help is at hand. The treatment will consist of changes in the diet, removing the bacteria from the small intestine and finding the underlying cause of SIBO and  finally improving the migrating motor complex .

SIBO is one of the major causes of leaky gut syndrome, which can lead to a variety of diseases such as autoimmune diseases: Hypothyroid, Eczema, Chronic Headaches, Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver, Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovaries …

Hormones such as Oestrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and Thyroid Hormones can influence the function of the gut as this can be noticed during women’s periods (constipation or diarrhoea).

Hormones are detoxified in the gut and will influence the flora at different times of one’s life be it in Child Bearing Age, Menopause or Andropause.


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