Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often a diagnosis of exclusion and treatment is conventionally directed to manage symptoms as opposed to getting to the root cause.

Stress, age, drugs, illness and diet can all influence our intestinal mucosa and lead to an unbalanced situation or dysbiosis. Antibiotics per se is a serious culprit for disturbing the gut microflora and it can take months for the gut flora to correct itself without the help of probiotics.

The intestine has a surface of 400m² and is herewith the largest body surface of the human organism. It contains about 1,014 micro-organisms, which perform important metabolic, secretory and immunological tasks.

The intestinal flora contributes to the development of the mucosa and intestinal immunity. It is involved in the production of group B and K vitamins, plays a role in the modulation of the intestinal mucosa metabolism and in its motility, and protects us against harmful pathogen colonisation.

Many exogenous and endogenous factors influence the quantitative and qualitative composition of the gastrointestinal flora. An imbalance of this composition can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and promote endogenous infections as well as numerous other diseases.

Faecal analysis of the gastrointestinal flora is highly recommended in cases of uncertain gastrointestinal symptoms and immunologic or allergic diseases. It is also ideal for patients who suffer with acute and chronic diarrhoea, malabsorption or most generalised gut symptoms.

A faecal analysis will allow an evaluation of invasive alterations of the gut mucosa and permeability issues, as observed e.g. in cases of gastrointestinal chronic inflammatory diseases and tumours.

It can give an extended quantitative bacteriological analysis of aerobic and anaerobic growth and this will allow for precise identification of harmful bacteria, fungi or parasites, that can lead to symptoms compatible with irritable bowel syndrome.

If the permeability of the gut is disturbed, food particles, toxins and bacteria can pass through the gut and have a negative systemic effect. An increased permeability can be found with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease, IBS and food allergies.

Successful treatment of IBS patients with probiotics has been demonstrated in many studies. A targeted approach for treatment is now achievable due to the availability of a comprehensive analysis of your gut ecology system.

For further advice and to arrange an appointment please call the Medical Clinic on 01243 771455.