IBS along with bloating and flatulence is the most common reason why individuals contact the clinic for a naturopathic nutritional approach to this condition. 

IBS is a functional bowel disorder characterised by abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits that are not associated with any abnormalities seen on routine clinical testing. IBS is usually described as either:

  • IBS-D, diarrhoea predominant
  • IBS-C, constipation predominant
  • IBS-A Alternating stool pattern.

IBS often starts in young adulthood and accounts for half of all gastrointestinal referrals to GPs. The syndrome is a major cause of lost work or school time and affects twice as many women as men.

IBS diagnosis requires at least 12 weeks in the preceding 12 months, of abdominal discomfort or pain that was relieved with defecation; and/or was associated with a change in frequency of stool; and/or was associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.

IBS symptoms result from abnormal motility, with peristaltic contractions becoming disorganised, harsh and/or spasmodic. The erratic propulsion that results can cause sudden, explosive elimination of stools, or can delay any elimination. Chronic stress or depression can trigger attacks. Eating in general can cause immediate need for a bowel movement. Specific foods and drinks can aggravate the condition.

Common signs and symptoms of IBS include the following:

  • Abnormal or change in stool frequency (“abnormal” may be defined as greater than 3 bowel movements per day and less than 3 bowel movements per week)
  • Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool)
  • Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation)
  • Passing of mucous in the stool
  • Bloating or feeling of fullness
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Urgency (having to rush to have a bowel movement)
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain and/or discomfort relived by defecation
  • Diarrhoea or constipation, or both alternately

The treatment of IBS is usually dependent on a diagnosis form your GP. This is important in order to clinically rule out other conditions that present with similar symptoms.
However this is often where the problems start as conventional medicine and medications do not tend to manage IBS well for the individual. Having seen hundreds, if not thousands, of patients with IBS over the last 18 years of practice one thing is common: every sufferer is unique. Therefore if any intervention is to have any chance of providing long-term relief it too has to be uniquely tailored to the individual.

Consultations at the clinic are long as standard. An initial naturopathic consultation could last up to 2 hours. This allows plenty of time to find out what the causes may be and to give foundational advice, support and encouragement, starting you on the road to better health. Initially we will be working to reduce the acute symptoms. This will be followed by both nutritional and lifestyle guidance and intervention to help improve the health of your digestive system, finishing with knowledge of prevention and sustainable wellness. Some people find that a course of colon hydrotherapy can be beneficial in helping them with their IBS symptoms.