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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS

First of all, I want to explain what a syndrome is. It is not a “disease “in the common sense of the word. All diseases have a cause and a predictable range of symptoms, associated with it. For example, the common flu is caused by a virus and is characterised by fever, body ache, fatigue, runny nose which may lead to coughs, sore throat etc. A syndrome on the other hand is a conglomeration of symptoms that are likely to appear simultaneously in different combinations and permutations. There is often no definite cause for such reaction in the body.

Thus Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is characterised by extreme fatigue but accompanied by the following symptoms: headache, muscle ache, dizziness, lack of concentration, memory loss, sleep disturbances, digestive problems, depression etc. However, its cause is not certain. It could be due to Epstein Barr viral infection, neck problems leading to decrease in blood supply, nutritional problems etc. Similarly, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is characterised by some or all of the symptoms like weight gain, period disturbances, facial hair, infertility, disturbance of sugar metabolism etc. It is caused by multiple cysts in the ovaries.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterised by some of the following symptoms like diarrhoea or frequent stools, bloating, indigestion, abdominal cramps, constipation, heartburn, flatulence, burping etc. It can be caused by a variety of factors like candida and yeast overgrowth in the gut, intolerance to food, dysbacteriosis (alien bacteria in the gut), excess stomach acid, lack of digestive enzymes, sluggish bile secretion of bile, pancreatic malfunction, anxiety etc. Thus IBS is a collection of symptoms which may not have definite links with each other so it is like a hotch pitch where all abdominal discomforts or symptoms are dumped into.  So if a person has two or more of the above symptoms, the current medical diagnosis is most likely to be IBS.

Some doctors think it is caused by anxiety-depression but I tend to disagree with them. Like many other syndromes, IBS is a multifactorial condition where not one but many factors may be the causes. Here are some causes:

1. Candida or yeast overgrowth in the gut
These are fungi which like many parasites live comfortably in the gut producing gas, irritation of the lining, fermentation which produces toxic alcohol causing abdominal cramps etc.

2. Excess stomach acid
Normally, human digestion first takes place in acid medium with gastric acid which breaks up the food in the stomach.  Next, this food pulp enters the duodenum or small intestine, where bile and pancreatic juice, converts the medium into alkaline. Therefore, if the stomach acid concentration is high due to excess consumption of acid-producing foods, stress, eating fast, smoking etc., the duodenum will need a lot of bile from the liver to carry out the process of digestion further but that takes time. So the food sits in the stomach causing indigestion reflux, nausea, sickness, pain etc. 

3. Pathogenic bacteria or parasites like worms cause a lot of gas, flatulence, abdominal cramps, malabsorption etc.

4. Lack of enzymes will cause slow digestion.

5. Diverticulitis which is characterised by pockets of balloon-like swelling in the large intestine, faeces accumulates causes alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Initially the mass accumulates in theses pockets so there is no bowel movement but when theory are full, the intestine contracts and stools come out violently. 

6. Food intolerance (gluten, dairy, spices, mushrooms, yeast) can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, bloating etc. Lactose or milk sugar intolerance and celiac disease due to gluten intolerance are very common now.

7. Consumption of excess food or alcohol, cause bloating, indigestion etc.

The ideal way to treat IBS is to start avoiding foods that are known to cause the problems and bait for specific tests to prove the specific causes. This should be done for a period of 3-6 months.

1. Avoid yeast products: yeast bread, pizza, pitta, Nan, yeast spread etc. Soda or yeast-free bread is okay to eat, Mushrooms and fungal cheeses.
2. Avoid acid foods: citric fruits, pineapple, vinegar, excess tomatoes, white wine or champagne, chillies, rich curries, canned products, excess alcohol, excess pain killers.
3. Avoid fizzy water.
4. Eat slowly; drink water only after 45 minutes as this will aid digestion with natural stomach juice.
5. After lunch, rest a while and after dinner walk a while. This will help the stomach to churn the food and mix it with the stomach juice.
6. Dr Ali's Detox Tea (bitter taste) is a blend of natural supplement that helps to keep yeast or candida overgrowth under check. It also regulates excess stomach acid and assists the liver to function better. It is drunk on empty stomach.
7. Acidophilus Capsules, one capsule daily
8. Eat Bio- yoghurt
9. Make Carrot and mint juice (fresh) in between meals, once a day.
10. Yogic exercises for the abdomen.
11. Additional reading : Dr Ali's Nutritional Bible

Usually, the above regime will help to sort IBS.

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