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Food Allergy Solutions ReviewNews, Ideas & Strategies to Improve Your HealthMay 2003
The Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There is no more common malady among humans than the symptoms of poor digestion. Far too often these symptoms are taken for granted and accepted as normal. The digestive tract is a vital and complex system that is susceptible to serious disruptions on a variety of levels. This article will focus on the granddaddy of them all, the irritated bowel. For much more information go to www.IBSTreatmentCenter.com - an entire website devoted to IBS.
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, commonly known as IBS (also called spastic colon), is the term used to define the symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea.
One or more of these symptoms may be present to varying degrees. The pain may be sharp, dull, achy, or even itchy. Nausea and vomiting may also be present, and heartburn and gas are commonly associated with IBS.
What Are the Effects of Having IBS?
The symptoms of IBS range from mild to severe. IBS can be a debilitating and disruptive condition, sometimes significantly altering one’s lifestyle due to pain or uncontrollable diarrhea. Surprisingly, IBS is the second leading cause of worker absenteeism, trailing only the common cold in the utilization of sick days.
How Prevalent Is IBS?
Some 35 million Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. That’s almost 20% of the population.
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What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Food allergies are the most common cause of IBS. Other causes include bacterial imbalances, yeast, parasites, and poor digestive function.
Don’t Stress and Anxiety Cause IBS?
Many people mistakenly believe that stress and/or anxiety are the primary cause of IBS. Stress can certainly contribute to IBS and may exacerbate any medical condition. However, more often than not there is a physical cause of IBS, such as a food allergy.
IBS can actually lead to anxiety. Therefore, before a thorough evaluation, one should not assume that their symptoms are primarily psycho-emotional . (See Pages 2 and 3 for a case study and more information on stress and IBS.)
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How Do You Test for Food Allergies?
Food allergies can only be accurately evaluated with a blood test. Skin testing does not adequately detect food allergies.
The ELISA Food Allergy blood test is the best way to detect antibodies produced by the immune system against foods. This panel covers approximately 100 of the most common foods in the diet. This is an invaluable test and removes the guesswork in evaluating food allergies.
Foods that are found to be causing an allergic reaction are then removed from the diet. An improvement in symptoms in usually seen within days.
What about Bacteria, Yeast, Parasites and Digestive Function?
The only way to evaluate all of these factors at once is via the Comprehensive Stool Analysis (CSA). This test demonstrates the amount of advantageous bacteria (including acidophilus) as well as harmful bacteria and yeast growing in the digestive tract. Parasites can also be tested if needed.
The CSA test also measures the quality of digestion and absorption, providing vital information on pancreatic, liver, gallbladder, and stomach function.
How Successful Are These Treatments for IBS?
There is nothing mysterious about IBS. It is readily curable if the proper tests are run and the ultimate cause of the problem is discovered. I have seen IBS many, many times and have been able to help over 95% percent of my patients completely overcome this common malady.
If you or someone you know suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, constipation, loose stools, gas or bloating, then you are strongly encouraged to contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. To quote a familiar advertisement, “Help is only a phone call away.” Call 206-264-1111.
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IBS Case Studies
48 year old female with severe abdominal pain. Occasional gas, no bloating. Five months prior to visit started experiencing pain so severe that she was prescribed Vicodin. Pain interfered with sleep. Patient had a high stress job. When younger was diagnosed with colitis. Blood food allergy testing demonstrated allergies to dairy, beef, and brewer’s yeast. Elimination of allergenic foods resulted in complete resolution of symptoms and patient discontinued her pain medication.
"Along with the resolution of my pain was the enlightenment of how food allergies affect so many things in my general health. [Dr. Wangen’s] enthusiasm for maintaining overall health made me much more aware of caring for myself." Kim N.
41 year old female with a lifetime history of reflux, vomiting, and constipation alternating with loose stools. As a baby the patient was colicky and spit up constantly. History of ear infections as a child, including tubes in ears. Then sinus infections in high school. Always thought anxiety was a primary cause of problems. Blood food allergy testing demonstrated strong allergy to dairy and eggs. Removal of dairy and eggs resulted in dramatic improvement in reflux and vomiting.
"… the gastroenterologist finally said, “I can’t do anything more for you. This is just what you have to live with.” …[When I saw] Dr. Wangen he immediately suggested food allergy testing… Within 2 weeks I stopped being nauseated! ...I was poisoning my body every day without realizing it!" Terri C.
40 year old female with intestinal distress, diarrhea, nausea, chest pains, and backaches. Symptoms started after a recent trip to France. Patient felt exhausted, but had trouble sleeping. Food allergy testing demonstrated a strong allergy to almonds, which happened to be a favorite snack. Removal of almonds from her diet led to a complete turn-around in her health and the resolution of intestinal distress.
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The Cause of IBS Is Unknown?
You go to the doctor, explain that your abdomen irritates you, and you are diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Great! You’ve just been given a diagnosis that describes what you already know. Unfortunately, this doesn’t offer you any relief of your symptoms, but it does give you a diagnosis in common with millions of other people. Medications may be used to treat the symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, or the pain, but you are offered no hope for a full recovery.
Conventional medicine assumes that the cause of IBS is primarily stress. One popular medical text recommends using antidepressants to treat IBS and says that the physician must be supportive and “convincingly demonstrate to the patient that no organic disease is present.“
However, just about everyone experiences stress, but not everyone has IBS. And the fact is, there are many organic causes of IBS. (See main article).
If you suffer from the symptoms of IBS then you should schedule an appointment and find out what really causes your discomfort. Don’t become a victim of an “incurable” diagnosis.Return to TopReturn to Food Allergy Solutions Review Archive
Dr. Stephen Wangen
IBS Treatment Center and Center for Food Allergies
1229 Madison St., Suite 1220 · Seattle WA 98104 · 206-264-1111
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