Irritable bowel treatment: best alternatives

Reizdarm Bauchschmerzen

Fig.: Often the quality of life in irritable bowel syndrome is similarly limited as in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease!

Irritable bowel syndrome: diffuse stomach and intestinal complaints

With irritable bowel symptoms, many patients are alone and helpless. It is a difficult diagnosis because there is no biomarker or definitive diagnostic tool. Instead, it is defined by symptoms. And similarly helpless are then often therapy or irritable bowel treatment attempts. Yet there are many useful things to do when it comes to our intestinal health – regardless of the diagnosis.

Most often, patients with irritable bowel syndrome complain of diffuse abdominal pain and a feeling of discomfort. Stool irregularities with constipation or diarrhea as well as flatulence and bloating are typical. Many sufferers also experience back pain, joint pain and headaches.

By definition, IBS is when abdominal pain (abdominal tenderness) or discomfort is present in association with stool irregularity for at least 3 months with exclusion of structural and biochemical abnormalities (current ACG/American College of Gastroenterology guideline recommendations).

And it is quite common: Worldwide prevalence is estimated at 11.2%. The ratio of women to men is 2:1.

7 points about which patients with IBS complain disproportionately often:

  1. soft stools and more frequent bowel movements
  2. nocturnal discomfort
  3. decreasing pain after bowel movements
  4. clearly visible flatulence
  5. subjective feeling of fullness
  6. mucus in the stool
  7. incomplete defecation

Why do I suffer from irritable bowel syndrome?

Gastrointestinal infections, antibiotics or psychological factors are often cited as triggers for IBS. However, the cause has not been conclusively clarified and therefore only assumptions can be made. However, one thing is clear: If the intestine is disturbed in its health and regulation, no matter what the cause, then in the vast majority of cases this is accompanied by increased permeability and an altered milieu. In addition, intestinal health always involves the intestinal nervous system and the intestinal immune system. So it is not surprising if, as a result, there are complaints or diseases that are linked to the nervous or immune system, such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, depression, fatigue syndrome and much more.

What treatment options are available for irritable bowel syndrome?

Chronic digestive complaints represent a burden for the affected person that should not be underestimated. And often the social life suffers as well. Eating is no longer a pleasure, but means effort, fear, shame or stress.

At the same time, many patients with irritable bowel symptoms do not know that there are many ways to address this issue and alleviate discomfort. Here, the dysbiosis control and therapy of a leaky gut syndrome plays a major role in the THERA practice. This therapy includes, for example, a targeted change in diet, supplementing the diet with soluble fiber, probiotics and selected micronutrients, colon hydrotherapy or intestinal cleansing and improving the detoxification function.

And targeted stress regulation also plays a major role in connection with intestinal health. This is explained, as already mentioned above, by the close interaction between the gut and the brain, the so-called gut-brain axis. Via the vagus nerve, our central nervous system is connected to our microbiota (our gut bacteria) as if via an express highway. In addition, the gut and brain communicate with each other in many other ways, such as through the release of certain cytokines by immune cells or endocrine through the release of hormone-like peptides. Quite simply, it is important to know that both organs work closely together and have a reciprocal relationship. Thus, there is not only the possibility to improve the psychological well-being through intestinal treatment, but also the other way around, to positively influence the intestinal health through balancing the autonomic nervous system.

In the THERA Praxisklinik we use (among other things) the HRV measurement to check whether the balance between body tension and relaxation is given, in order to derive targeted therapy measures for stress regulation. By means of various regulatory therapies such as neural therapy or AHNF (Autonomous Postural Regulation according to Norbert Fuhr), we have the possibility to reduce tensions and blockages in a targeted manner. Stress regulation is therefore an important component of any irritable bowel treatment.

Reizdarm Regulationstherapie

Fig.: Irritable bowel symptoms can be influenced at the level of the intestinal-brain axis using various regulatory methods.

Factors that speak against the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

  • Short duration of symptoms
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nocturnal complaints
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Anemia
  • Progressive symptoms 
  • Recent antibiotic treatment

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Video: In this video, the nutrition docs impressively show what a change in diet can achieve as an integrative component of irritable bowel treatment. You can find corresponding recipe ideas here:

Other causes or differential diagnoses for irritable bowel syndrome include.

As already indicated above, the diagnosis of IBS is not always easy. In turn, however, there are various other diagnoses that can cause pronounced and chronic intestinal complaints and should always be clarified.

1. SIBO = Small Intestinal Bowel Syndrome

In many patients with irritable bowel syndrome, the cause is small intestinal miscolonization (syn.: bacterial overgrowth syndrome). Small intestinal overgrowth occurs when bacteria from the large intestine migrate into the small intestine and now colonize it incorrectly. This can happen, for example, when there is increased gas formation in the large intestine, as is often the case when the environment in the intestine is disturbed.

2. Histamine intolerance

In histamine intolerance, there is an imbalance between the histamine produced in the organism and the ability to break it down to a sufficient extent. The cause can be, for example, an enzyme deficiency or increased histamine formation in the intestine. This typically leads to symptoms such as migraine, palpitations, flushing or urticaria (hives) – and also to abdominal complaints.

Likewise, various food intolerances such as frutose, lactose or gluten intolerance can lead to IBS symptoms and should always be considered.

3. Fungal or parasitic load

We deworm our pets regularly and immediately take countermeasures in case of mold in the house. But an intestinal fungal disease or parasite colonization in humans rarely receives attention and is usually not examined at all. But it is neither difficult nor costly: a stool sample is sufficient. Particularly with bad nourishing habits and/or weakened immune system fungi like also parasites have easy play and love the intestine with all its nutrients: Digestive problems are pre-programmed!

4. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

When there is pancreatic insufficiency, there is reduced secretion of digestive enzymes. The digestive enzymes normally enter the small intestine via the pancreatic duct and are essential for breaking down our food, especially fats and proteins. If the digestive enzymes are not sufficiently present (and this is not so rare), then the food reaches the large intestine undigested. And this can have a lasting effect on intestinal function, because if the food is not digested well, then fermentation and putrefaction processes occur more quickly and these favor dysbiosis. Pancreatic insufficiency can be easily detected by determining pancreatic elastase in the stool. If there is a deficiency, treatment is by substitution of the digestive enzymes.

Reizdarm Bakterien

Fig.: In our intestines we harbor approx. 2-3 kilograms of the most diverse bacteria. Taken together, these bacteria form our microbiota. However, due to our modern way of life, there is often a miscolonization and repopulation.

Irritable bowel treatment in the THERA Praxisklinik in Berlin

In the THERA Praxisklinik we not only have the possibility to clarify all the topics mentioned above, but we also always advise our patients holistically. The best intestinal rehabilitation does not bring lasting success if the diet is not adjusted or the stress level is not regulated. Intestinal health takes time. We take this time for our patients

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