Although Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common diagnosis given by gastroenterologists, the exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome still remain unclear.
Good news is, extensive research continues to persist progressively into the causes of IBS, and a number of contributing factors have been identified as potential causes, acting together to bring about IBS symptoms.
1. Stress & Anxiety Can Cause IBS
Surprise, surprise! Whether you have IBS or not, the reality is that when you find yourself consumed with worries about your finances, health, finding a job, relationships, project deadlines, and so forth, you are stressing. The negative emotion of bad stress becomes a problem for the body if it persists. It can cause the production of stress hormones including corticosteroids, which can accelerate or restrict the movement of waste through the colon.
Let’s take on eating habits for a moment. Depending on what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, how often you eat during times of stress, will impact your bowel movement in some capacity. For example, busy, stressed people tend to skip meals or eat on the go which is not good for proper digestion. They often times maintain a fast food diet of too much meat and fats, and not enough organic fruit, vegetables and fiber. They also have a tendency to withhold bowel movements to make it through a meeting or a deadline. As a result, they may experience bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, all of which are common symptoms of IBS. Sound familiar?
2. Dietary Issues and Lifestyle Habits Can Cause IBS
Dietary issues and lifestyle habits include intolerance’s for certain foods like lactose and fructose, the amount of fiber consumed, eating gas producing foods, overeating, starvation, fasting, not chewing properly, consuming foods with extreme temperatures (such as ice-cold water and steaming hot soup, in the same meal), skipping meals, having meals at unusual times like late at night, eating foods high in fat (red meats, fried foods, dairy products), eating foods high in refined sugars and sweeteners, and not drinking enough water a day.
This being a partial list, understand that all these dietary issues and habits referenced here can potentially cause or contribute toward developing more symptoms, unless you choose to maintain a proper IBS diet.
3. Use of Antibiotics Can Cause IBS
In order to maintain digestive balance, it is important to preserve the “good” bacteria in the gut. It has been reported that the use of antibiotics can potentially cause some level of diarrhea (predominant IBS symptom) in patients. When using antibiotics, not only are the “bad” bacteria being killed off, but also the “good” bacteria in the digestive system.
If you are taking antibiotics, I highly recommend taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics are living microorganisms that assist your body in maintaining natural balance. They can be delivered in a number of ways, but most often are found in live fruits and vegetables, liquid or capsule forms, and in natural yogurt products. One of their most popular functions is the promotion of intestinal balance and general digestive health, which means they also make a great compliment to your colon cleansing routine.
4. Alcohol & Caffeine Abuse Can Cause IBS
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks are another common cause of IBS because they act as bowel stimulants. When consumed excessively, these bowel stimulants can trigger IBS symptoms of diarrhea and constipation. If you are suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome, it would be best to stay away from these drinks.
5. Brain-Gut Chemical Imbalance Can Cause IBS
The brain and gut are in perpetual back and forth communication, intimately connected by nerve cells using serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls sleep, depression, memory, and other neurological processes important in the brain. Therefore, it is important to consume foods that boost your brain power because they keep your arteries clear and boost serotonin levels.
When serotonin levels are abnormal in the gut, it can result in constipation or diarrhea. This depends on whether there is too much serotonin (too much serotonin will lead to diarrhea) or too little (too little serotonin will lead to constipation). According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House (NDDIC), recent research has reported that serotonin is linked with normal gastrointestinal (GI) functioning:
“Ninety-five percent of the serotonin in your body is located in the GI tract, and the other 5 percent is found in the brain. Cells that line the inside of the bowel work as transporters and carry the serotonin out of the GI tract. People with IBS, however, have diminished receptor activity, causing abnormal levels of serotonin to exist in the GI tract. As a result, they experience problems with bowel movement, motility, and sensation—having more sensitive pain receptors in their GI tract.”
Maintain a proper IBS diet, stress less, avoid IBS trigger foods, increase your water intake (pure water, not tap water), exercise regularly, and consume a nutritious organic diet, take a good probiotic supplement and use a safe and natural oxygen based intestinal cleanser to keep your bowels moving regularly.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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