Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the medical term for spastic colon or mucous colitis. It is one of the commonest gut problems encountered by gastroenterologists with the diagnosis being made when no other cause can be found for long-standing bowel problems. There are many causes of IBS including stress, food intolerance, and digestive enzyme insufficiency. The most common symptoms are right or left-sided abdominal pain, indigestion and diarrhoea or constipation - occurring alone, or in alternation. The abdominal pain often occurs in attacks and may be provoked by food and relieved by bowel movements. Stools may be pellet or ribbon-like, with or without mucous. Diarrhoea may be painless and is usually in the morning. Other symptoms include swelling of the abdomen, audible rumbling and excessive wind. The syndrome can occur in anyone but is most frequent in women between the ages of 20 and 40.

The cause is uncertain, but seems to be due to abnormal gut movements. In some people, psychological factors such as anxiety, tension and stress may be associated with IBS. Others can trace the onset of IBS to a bout of infective diarrhoea, a course of antibiotics, or to eating certain foods. Conventional treatment is by way of drugs to help control the symptoms, including laxatives for constipation, antispasmodic drugs for cramps, analgesics for pain, anti-diarrhoea drugs or antidepressants to relieve anxiety and stress.

If you would prefer to avoid prescription drugs, there are a number of modifications you can make to your lifestyle as well as natural products you can take to improve your situation which will be discussed/recommended at your first appointment

Case Study

Mr M Born in 1958 a sales executive travelling 40,000 business miles a year. Diagnosed with IBS in 1999, stress related. Loose bowel movements twice daily - watery. Flatulent, rumbling, gurgling, offensiveness which is constantly bad. The food screening identified the patient as being sensitive to wheat, dairy, yeast, caffeine and alcohol, whilst the vitamin, mineral and digestive check identified deficiencies in acidophilus, digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and the B vitamins. Having excluded the identified foods and taken the appropriate supplements/remedies, three months later the patient reported a 95% improvement with the bowels and general well being better within the first month and improvement continuing thereafter.In eight cases out of ten IBS is aggravated by a fungal infection such as candida or aspergilus.