When consulting with patients who have been suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the conversation is usually centered around how they feel.
The most common responses from those with irritable bowel syndrome are that they are feeling:
A patient may feel like they are in a state of anxiety or even panic while anticipating acute and cyclical attacks and some patients feel their body is shaking as though they have the chills or a fever.
In severe cases patients feel that they have lost control along with a limitation of their normal daily activities.
There are many symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A common thread are multiple symptoms at the same time:
- foul smelling gas
- painful and stabbing cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- right-sided abdominal pain
- lower and mid back pain
- constipation that lasts 3 – 4 days with large painful stools
- urgency with loose, mucousy stools.
So, what is going on? What is happening? Basically, your digestive system is out of balance. What does it mean to have a digestive system that is out of balance? It means that it lacks Homeostasis.
In medical terms, Homeostasis is the condition when your systems are in balance and regulating normally, responding to and handling the multiple stressors that are part of life. Recognize that each person has their own threshold for handling stress.But stress can overload the balanced system.
What happens when a system is overloaded and unable to regulate itself?
This dysregulation is communicated to you through what we call symptoms.
The digestive system has a very sophisticated regulation or communication system that has three parts: Immune system, Hormonal system, and the Nervous system. Think of it like a three-legged stool. When the legs are not the same length or very weak, it is hard to sit in a balanced way on the stool. For example, we know that stressors can be emotional, physical, or spiritual and these stressors will deplete the microbiome, the good bacteria in the gut. These bacteria are a very important component of the immune system and part of their role is crowding out pathogens like the bacteria E. coli or the fungus like candida. So when stress suppresses the good bacteria, the immune system is weakened and the stability of the regulatory system crashes.
Drugs and medications can temporarily suppress symptoms while the underlying stressors continue to keep the digestive system out of balance. The stressors as I mentioned before are physical, emotional and spiritual and are the obstacles to healing. Once these stressors are removed the body has a natural tendency repair itself and return to balance.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome feels like a never ending cycle:
- Symptoms are the way your digestive system communicates that it is out of balance
- The dysregulation of the digestive system is the result of multiple stressors
- Stressors are obstacles to healing and must be removed rather than suppressed
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