Despite what your doctor may have told you, your irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not all in your head. If you’re offended that your healthcare professional continues to call your pain “functional” or “psychosomatic,” you’re not alone.

Your symptoms are distinctly uncomfortable, disabling, and embarrassing like bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and pain.

Here’s what the research and functional medicine tells us:

There are two main causes of irritable bowel: food allergies and overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. However, a low supply of digestive enzymes, parasites, yeast, mineral or vitamin deficiency, and heavy metal toxicity play their own part.

How to Address Food Sensitivities

  • It is best to ask a functional medicine physician to test for food allergies, using tests that determines how your immune system responds. The IgG food allergy test often results in showing sensitivities to foods that are part of our regular American diet.
  • If these tests are unaffordable, eliminate the most common food allergens for 12 weeks. You can slowly reintroduce them to get a handle on which is an irritant.

Address Gut Imbalances

Approximately 60 percent of your total immune system is housed in your gut. If your intestinal lining is damaged, your immune system will be exposed to a host of bacteria, and other unhealthy microbes. This leads to IBS, “an irritable brain,” allergies, arthritis, autoimmunity, and mood disorders.

The small intestine is meant to be sterile. When bacterial overgrowth occurs, the problem needs to be corrected.

Try these strategies to restore good gut health and function:

  • Take digestive enzymes with meals.
  • Remove sugary, processed foods mercilessly. Replace with real, whole fresh foods.
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, include foods like wild-caught salmon.
  • Take gut-healing nutrients like zinc, vitamin A, and glutamine.
  • Eat fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, or goat yogurt.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Reduce stress.

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