What You Need To Know About Functional Medicine & Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome

You've got questions about natural treatments for IBS, and we have answers.

We treat a lot of IBS cases in practice in our Longmont and Denver, CO offices. Often, we see patients who have run the gauntlet with chronic GI pain, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea (or a combination of all of these), who have seen every doctor and taken all the prescription medications they've been recommended, and yet, they still feel miserable and their symptoms have not subsided. Or, they get some temporary relief, only to find new and (uncomfortable) triggers resulting in more flare ups.

We practice Functional Medicine. We take a different approach to treating gut issues. Especially Irritable Bowel Syndrome, because it affects people so differently, yet it's disease processes are often similar for most sufferers. In Functional Medicine, we do not automatically assume IBS is solely a "gut issue" because we know that IBS is often the symptomatic outcome of a combination of issues.

One of the first things we will recommend is blood work or other diagnostic testing (depending on your specific situation). Now, that may be met with a bit of hesitation at first as you say to yourself, "well, I've had blood work done already and they told me there's nothing wrong! Everything checked out as 'normal.'" Depending on the specific training of whom exactly is looking at and interpreting the results of these tests can mean a world of difference between continued recurrences of IBS, and the relief you're seeking. We say this because not all tests are created equally and viewing their results through the lens of Functional Blood Chemistry (which uses a different set of reference ranges) can detect whether the symptoms you experience are from infection, stress, a food sensitivity or a combination of many factors. Many men and women with IBS suffer from:

  • SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • Parasites
  • H. pylori
  • Yeast overgrowth
  • Food sensitivities

It is imperative then to treat the root cause (s) of the IBS in order to control the symptoms. We generally like to treat IBS as a metabolic condition, because all of the body's systems must be brought back into harmony before any real, quantifiable, long term relief can begin. In addition to treating determinable IBS protagonists like those above, a "typical" Functional Medicine IBS protocol should also include …

A Metabolic cleanse heavily focusing on the Hepatic system. Clearing the liver, pancreas and gallbladder of sludge and toxins helps support those organs in order for them to work most efficiently. Not to mention, when these organs are fatigued, they cannot clear hormones as intended or help in digestion properly.

Next we will look at the patient's diet. We will either have an idea of ​​foods they need to permanently avoid from the results of their food sensitivity test (s), or we will recommend an elimination diet to find offending items. In our practice we strongly recommend food sensitivity testing through a lab called Cyrex. They have many arrays and can test …