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Treatments | Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Rheumatoid Arthritis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome




Irritable Bowel Syndrome
(or Lower Bowel Dysfunctional Syndrome)

Irritable bowel syndrome accounts for well over 50% of patients seen at outpatient gastroenterological clinics. Other tests, including barium meal studies or endoscopies are sometimes performed to exclude conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and cancer.

The symptoms associated with irritable bowel are fairly variable. Abdominal pain can occur anywhere in the abdomen, but most commonly in the lower left portion of the abdomen. Sometimes this pain can be relieved by defaecation. Some patients complain of constipation while others have diarrhoea or an alternation of the two. Bloating is present in some, but not in others.

Most doctors adhere to the suggestion that this condition is caused by psychological factors or stress, without there being any concrete evidence that this is true. Amazingly, despite the fact that the gut is in constant contact with food twenty-four hours around the clock, the notion that the condition may be anything to do with what the patient eats has escaped all but a handful of gastroenterologists. Medical textbooks describe the treatment as reassurance. The reassurance usually is that the patient is not in immediate danger of death, which a high proportion of them hadn't even considered. I have never found reassurance to be effective at removing the symptoms. Anti-spasmodic drugs, which reduce the rhythmic contractions of the digestive tract, only temporarily relieve a small proportion of sufferers.

Fortunately there are clinical trials showing that about 65% of irritable bowel sufferers are suffering from individual food intolerances. This includes work performed at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge by Professor John Hunter and his colleagues. Our experience is the same and that same experience of several thousand IBS patients has shown that the others are usually related to problems with gut yeasts such as candida albicans. These patients usually respond to specific antifungicides like Nystatin and a sugar-free/yeast-free type diet. We have also found a few cases to be caused by undiagnosed tropical parasites.

Physicians working in the field of allergy and nutritional medicine usually find irritable bowel a relatively easy condition to work out and permanently eradicate.

The Burghwood Clinic, 34 Brighton Road [A217], Banstead, Surrey SM7 1BS, England
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