Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Conveniently located to serve Denver Metro, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs.

Functional Medicine’s Approach to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

At our functional medicine practice, we specialize in the holistic treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common digestive disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Our approach to IBS treatment is rooted in the principles of functional medicine, which involves identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the condition, rather than just treating the symptoms.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestine. It is characterized by a group of symptoms that can vary from person to person and can include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation.

Types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  1. IBS with constipation (IBS-C) – This type of IBS is characterized by infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stool, and hard or lumpy stools.
  2. IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) – This type of IBS is characterized by frequent loose stools, urgent bowel movements, and an uncontrollable urge to have a bowel movement.
  3. IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M) – This type of IBS is characterized by both constipation and diarrhea, with alternating periods of each.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms

The symptoms of IBS can vary from person to person, but generally fall into the following categories:

Gastrointestinal symptoms

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort – This is the most common symptom of IBS, and is often described as a dull, aching, or cramping pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Bloating and/or gas – Many people with IBS experience bloating, which is a feeling of fullness or swelling in the abdomen. This is often accompanied by excess gas.
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation – IBS can cause changes in the frequency and consistency of bowel movements. This may include diarrhea, constipation, or alternating periods of both.
  • Mucus in the stool – Some people with IBS may notice mucus in their stool.
  • Nausea and vomiting – These symptoms are less common in IBS, but can occur in some cases.

Gastrointestinal motility symptoms

Changes in the normal muscle contractions of the intestines, resulting in discomfort or pain, can be a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Gastrointestinal secretion symptoms

Increased or decreased secretion of mucus, which can lead to abdominal discomfort, can be a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Sensory symptoms

Heightened sensitivity to normal sensations within the gastrointestinal tract, leading to discomfort, can be a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Behavioral symptoms

Psychological factors, such as stress and anxiety, can worsen symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Impacts of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can have a significant impact on people’s lives, as it can cause chronic discomfort and pain, as well as disrupt daily activities and routines. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience symptoms that are severe enough to affect their quality of life, work, and social relationships. They may also feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about their symptoms, leading to feelings of isolation and decreased self-esteem. In addition, the unpredictable nature of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms can make it difficult for people to plan ahead and engage in social activities.

Functional Medicine Approach to Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

At our functional medicine practice, we take a comprehensive approach to IBS treatment that involves addressing the root causes of the condition, as well as managing symptoms. The following are some common treatment options for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) from a functional medicine perspective:
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Dietary Changes
We may recommend a specific diet, such as the Low FODMAP diet, which is designed to reduce the intake of certain carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). They may also recommend the elimination of food sensitivities or allergens that may contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Restoration
Your gut microbiome plays a significant role in digestive health. We offer personalized treatments that address the balance of gut bacteria, which can help reduce IBS symptoms.

Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics are beneficial bacteria and fibers that help promote a healthy gut microbiome. A functional medicine practitioner may recommend taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, as well as consuming prebiotic-rich foods, such as fiber-rich vegetables and fermented foods.

Herbs and supplements
Certain herbs and supplements, such as turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids, have anti-inflammatory properties and may be recommended to help reduce Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

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Stress management
Stress can worsen symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and increase inflammation. A functional medicine practitioner may recommend stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, to help manage stress levels.

Lifestyle modifications
Making lifestyle changes, such as getting adequate sleep, exercise, and reducing exposure to environmental toxins, can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.

Other therapies
We may recommend other therapies to support digestive health, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care.

In some cases, we may recommend medications to manage IBS symptoms, such as antispasmodics or laxatives.

Potential Costs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The cost of treatment for IBS varies based on the individualized treatment plan. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your specific needs and budget.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of IBS, schedule a consultation with Spire Health Pathways today to learn how functional medicine can help you regain control of your digestive health.

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“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison