Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common diagnosis made by gastroenterologists.
IBS is often a “wastebasket” diagnosis by your doctor which means, “let me give your symptoms a name so you can be blessed with my diagnosis.” What is not said is “I have no clue what is wrong with you, or what to do about it.” It is a collection of ill-defined symptoms for which, until very recently, seem to have no pathological findings.
Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) increase bacterial overgrowth and infection in the GI tract, which, of course, causes a host of symptoms. There seems to be a correlation between PPI use, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and IBS. Recent findings indicate that the majority of IBS cases are preceded by infection (gastroenteritis) by various bacteria that produce a toxin called Cytolethal Distending Toxin B (CdtB).
Antibodies are produced against this toxin to fight the infection. Unfortunately, these antibodies cross react with a molecule, called vinculin found in the endings of nerves in the GI tract and elsewhere. Vinculin is associated with cell adhesion and cell movement structure and function. Binding of antibodies to vinculin negatively affects its functions. This, and the inflammatory cascade of events associated with an immune response, is an underlying cause of IBS symptoms. Treatment of this condition requires a comprehensive approach that first identifies the underlying causes of the condition (usually there are several different factors that contribute to the problem), and providing a treatment plan that addresses each root cause.
Specialized laboratory tests are used by Functional Nutrition practitioners to identify these components, including Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis, food and gluten sensitivity testing, GI permeability testing and others. Individualized programs to address each issue include dietary modifications, removal of offending foods, replacement of dysbiotic bacteria with friendly ones, restoral of normal gut health and repair of the GI lining.