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CAUSES OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Have you been told you have “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”?


50% of my patients come in with digestive complaints have been given this label by their medical doctor or gastroenterologist. But IBS is not really a real diagnosis, but moreso an umbrella term for symptoms, and a label when nothing else has been determined to be wrong with your gut. This is when other conditions like Celiac disease, IBD (Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis), Acute Bacterial Infections/Gastroenteritis, Parasites, etc. But this is a frustrating “diagnosis”, because the conventional medical system doesn’t have a lot of treatments for it. They may recommend laxatives if you have more IBS-C (constipation), or fiber if you have IBS-D (diarrhea), or tell you to work on stress management. But that is not always enough - because WHY is your bowel irritated?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, conventionally is based on the following symptoms:

Recurrent abdominal pain at least 1 day a week in the last 3 months, with 2 or more of the following:

  1. Related to defecation (going the bathroom)

  2. Associated with a change in frequency of stool (how often you are having a bowel movement)

  3. Associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool

This has to be ongoing for at least 6 months, as IBS is chronic changes in bowel habits.


IBS is usually a diagnosis of EXCLUSION - meaning, there are no other causes concluded by your doctor, and you continue to have digestive disturbances.

There are 3 types of IBS that you can present with:

  1. IBS-C (Constipation)

  2. IBS-D (Diarrhea)

  3. IBS-M (Mixed - alternating constipation and diarrhea)

But WHY is this happening? There are many different ROOT CAUSES of IBS that I see in practice.

  1. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) - where there is too much good bacteria that has back flowed from the large intestine, and into the small intestine where they multiply and produce gasses that disrupt our digestion (hello bloating and changes in bowel movements)

  2. Yeast Overgrowth - in our gut there is naturally occurring levels of yeast, however when they overgrow and overtake the good bacteria levels, we can get a yeast/candida overgrowth causing these symptoms

  3. Nervous System Overactivation (anxiety, stress, and adrenal dysfunction are all major contributors)

  4. Dysbiosis or lack of probiotics/good bacteria in the gut

  5. Food Sensitivities or Lactose Intolerance


These all lead to chronic inflammation and overactivity of the gut, ultimately causing intestinal hyperpermeability and irregular bowel habits.

The list above is not exclusive, but by determining if you fall into one of the categories above and treating it, there can be significant improvement. Comprehensive testing run by a naturopathic doctor can determine the root cause of your irritable bowel, and help get things resolved or greatly reduced to improve the quality of your life.

Book in a free 15 minute meet & greet to learn more about root causes to your IBS!



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