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Why He Disappeared (It's NOT What You Think)
It is often accompanied by a variety of other health conditions such as Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. There may be a wide variety of mental health symptoms as well like depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, OCD, or other psychological disturbances. Symptoms vary from person to person and are usually unpredictable and disruptive. Some people have what is called constipation predominant, while others have diarrhea predominant, and yet others may alternate back and forth between the two. Symptoms often appear suddenly without warning which may interfere in everyday life, causing the individual stress, embarrassment and emotional distress. For some people, their symptoms disappear for weeks or months at a time and then return and they experience no increase in severity, while other people report no reprieve and a consistent worsening of their condition over time. Some people experience spasms in the bowel as the muscles may contract suddenly and then return to normal just as fast. While others even have bowels that stop functioning completely for a period of time. There are a variety of complications that can result with IBS, which although are not life threatening can lead to additional troublesome health conditions. The strain of constipation may result in hemorrhoids or anal fissures, which are tears in the canal of the anus, and when the stool sits in the colon too long then toxins are reabsorbed by the body. With diarrhea, the body loses too much fluid and essential nutrients, which can lead to dehydration and the anus may become irritated from frequent evacuation. Additionally, changes in diet to avoid foods that trigger symptoms can also lead to nutritional deficiencies as the body doesn't receive all the nutrients it needs to function adequately. Additionally, the symptoms of IBS are similar to or even overlap with many other bowel problems like Crohn's, inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease, so it's important to rule out other possibilities. IBS Causes Conventional medicine likes to slap a label on all health conditions and instead of looking for the root of the problem, they write a prescription for drugs that do nothing but merely cover up the symptoms, or even worse they will blame it on a psychological issue. While the main stream medical community seems to be at a loss for what causes IBS and has very little to offer for treatment, the alternative health field is a little more enlightened and offers a variety of explanations and treatment options. IBS is usually multifaceted and the cause is often the result of several issues intertwined. It is believed that there may be an interaction that involves the brain, the gastrointestinal system and the nervous system that results in malfunctioning of the bowel. The main contributing factors in IBS are poor diet, Candida overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth, parasites, food allergies or sensitivities, gluten intolerance, chemical sensitivities, an imbalance or deficiency of neurotransmitters, hormones and chronic stress. By addressing these issues many people are able to find some relief in their symptoms, and in some cases, eliminate them completely. Neurotransmitters Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another and reside in the brain and the gut. It is believed that neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine , GABA, norepinephrine and acetylcholine are involved in the regulation of the digestion process, including the contraction of muscles, absorption of fluid and secretion of mucus. Insufficient levels of GABA can cause abdominal pain, constipation and a decrease in transit time. Although there are a variety of prescription drugs on the market that a traditional physician may use to treat neurotransmitters, in the long run they only create more problems. Drugs only damage and create more of a deficiency in neurotransmitters. Balancing the neurotransmitters should be accomplished by making changes in the diet and lifestyle and supplementing the diet with amino acids and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Gluten Intolerance With gluten intolerance, which is also called celiac disease, the individual has an autoimmune disorder that sees gluten, which is a substance found in wheat, rye and barley, as a harmful substance and prevents the body from being able to digest it. It causes damage to the small intestine and may result in symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea. Many people are unaware they have gluten intolerance and get misdiagnosed as IBS. However, gluten and grains in general, are inflammatory by nature. Our bodies are not genetically designed to consume them, so even if you don't have gluten intolerance, they can cause inflammation throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Grains and Legumes Grains, including whole grains, and legumes contain a wide variety of anti-nutrients like lectins, phytates, saponins, and protease inhibitors that are destructive to the gastrointestinal tract and cause abdominal pain, cramping, gas, diarrhea, anxiety, etc. They can also contribute to leaky gut, mental health disorders, autoimmune disorders and much more. Food Sensitivities or Allergies Many people have undiagnosed food sensitivities or allergies and one of the most common symptoms is irritation to the intestines when the offending food is eaten, which can result in diarrhea, cramping, pain, constipation, indigestion, heartburn etc. Some of the most common allergenic or offending foods are chocolate, dairy, wheat, corn, sugar and citrus, however any food at all can become an allergen. When the offending food is eliminated, the bowels will settle down. However, it's important to note, that food sensitivities is not a condition in and of itself. It is a symptom of a problem in the gut. If there are a lot of food sensitivities, it typically means there is some type of organism like Candida, parasites, or bacteria present. The gut needs to be healed to address food sensitivities. Chemical Sensitivities With chemical sensitivity, the individual experiences an allergic like reaction to low levels of common everyday chemicals found in the environment like perfume, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, pesticides, cigarette smoke, carpeting, cosmetics, laundry soap or fabric softener, etc. Any chemical at all can be a source of sensitivity. The toxins in these chemicals affect a variety of organ systems as well as the nervous system, endocrine system and immune system. The symptoms of chemical sensitivity are vast, but for many people, the colon is one of the primary organs affected. Many people have undiagnosed multiple chemical sensitivity. For example, in my own life in the past, cleaning supplies, perfume, dryer exhaust, hand cream, formaldehyde in department stores gave me excruciating pain in my colon, bloating and made me feel like I needed to go to the bathroom even if I didn't. The pain would be so intense I couldn't stand up or walk. A strong exposure to any kind of chemical could give me a bad bout of cramping and diarrhea. In some severe chemically sensitive people, even natural odors from herbs, spices and natural vegetation like sage, peppermint, cinnamon, pungent flowers and pine trees can trigger IBS. Even natural things in the environment like mold and humidity can flare IBS. Before I moved to the desert where it is dry, when I lived in Ohio, damp moldy days would give me unbearable aching in my colon, bloating and a constant feeling of needing to evacuate. The top ten chemicals that people react to can be tested for in the ALCAT test that is mentioned above. Parasites Although parasites are thought to be a problem that mostly occurs in third world countries, that is not the case. Many Americans have undiagnosed parasites that are picked up through contaminated food and water. Environmental toxins and an unhealthy diet cultivate a climate in our colons that encourages parasites to thrive, which can sometimes be a culprit of IBS symptoms. Anyone with IBS should explore the possibility of parasites with parasite testing. If there is a lot of unexplainable pain in the colon, there is typically some kind of parasite present. The chances are very good, that if you have an irritable bowel, you have some kind of parasite. Abdominal pain and cramping are common symptoms of parasites. Parasites also contribute to food sensitivities, because they destroy the lining of the gut. Hormones The role of hormones in relation to IBS is not fully understood, but what we do know is that many women, perhaps as many as three quarters of women with IBS, see a significant increase in symptoms during their menstrual cycle. Women on hormone replacement therapy have an increased risk of developing IBS, indicating that hormones have some impact. The stomach and small intestine have estrogen receptors which respond to fluctuating levels of hormones and may be responsible for some symptoms, while menstrual cramping that takes place in the uterus can also expand to the muscles in the gastrointestinal system. I can give testament to this fact completely. Before I went through menopause, during some months, my menstrual period would bring on completely debilitating IBS symptoms. However, it didn't happen every month. It seemed to occur when something really upset my hormonal balance , like a pesticide exposure. SIBO is a condition where the bacteria that typically reside in the large intestine invade the small intestine, where numbers of bacteria are generally low. When these bacteria are present in large numbers, they produce a lot of toxins, gases, and enzymes that can impair digestion and produce a great deal of gastrointestinal discomfort. In severe cases, they can damage the small intestine and result in weight loss, failure to thrive, anemia, malabsorption and autoimmune conditions. Some of the most common symptoms of SIBO include gas, bloating, acid reflux, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, and fatigue, as well as numerous psychological disturbances. Additionally, other studies Robillard mentions, demonstrate that people with irritable bowel have an overgrowth of a particular bacteria called firmicutes and a decrease in microbial diversity in the colon. Diversity of microbes is important to keep one particular type of bacteria from becoming dominant. Firmicutes feed predominantly on starches and fiber in our diet, including resistant starch and produce byproducts which result in gas, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, anxiety, depression, etc. If a lot of starches and fiber are consumed, they can encourage proliferation of these organisms. In one study it was that 84 percent of the individuals with IBS had SIBO and other studies have demonstrated that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is found in more than 50 percent of the individuals. Additionally, successful eradication of SIBO results in a 75 percent decrease in symptoms associated with irritable bowel. Candida and IBS Candida is an opportunistic yeast that usually lives in harmony in our body, but poor diet, sugar, antibiotics and environmental toxins allow it to grow out of control and wreck havoc on our body and mind. It thrives throughout the gastrointestinal tract and causes a variety of GI problems. Once it takes up residence in the body, it is very difficult to eradicate. Some of the most common symptoms of Candida are abdominal cramping or pain, bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation and diarrhea. As we see, these are also the most common symptoms of IBS. Additionally Candida is a crucial factor because when it is present it also contributes to food allergies, bacterial imbalances and overgrowth, chemical sensitivities, hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances. When yeast burrows into the intestinal wall, it leaves microscopic holes which is then called leaky gut. Leaky gut is is the cause of food allergies or food sensitivities. One of the main toxins Candida releases is acetaldehyde and this puts an excessive burden on the liver and other detoxification systems of the body, which contributes to chemical sensitivities. Additionally, yeast overgrowth wreaks havoc on hormones and neurotransmitters. It mimics estrogen in the body and binds to progesterone, which leads to hormonal imbalances and it interferes in the production and function of neurotransmitters. Chronic stress can kill off friendly bacteria in the gut that are needed to keep Candida and bacteria that can contribute to gastrointestinal issues from proliferating. Additionally, when we are under stress digestion is practically shut down. Because the average American diet is not conducive to a healthy environment for the colon. The standard diet that most people eat is not nutritious and it damages the colon. This leads to malfunctioning of the colon and makes it a breeding ground for opportunistic pathogens like yeast, bacteria and parasites. There's a lot of conflicting information out there on what is the best IBS diet to follow and this can be very confusing. That's because there isn't a one size fits all diet that everyone should follow because each individual may have different sensitivities and allergies. Different things work for different people. This is because some foods are more likely to cause diarrhea, while other foods are more likely to lead to constipation. Someone with predominant diarrhea is not going to want to eat foods that will speed up the digestion process, while someone with predominant constipation is not going to want to ingest foods that slow down the digestion process. You have to find what works for you and your situation. However there are a few basics that everyone can follow.
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