I have been a holistic gastroenterologist for over 3 decades. Basically I am in the business of preventing people from having bowel surgery.
These are some of the more common questions that my clients ask.
Q: Is IBS an Auto-Immune Disease?
A: No. In fact it is not a disease at all. The immune system does not attack the gastrointestinal tissue. On the contrary your immune system does its job trying to help you.
A good example is if I cut my finger. The immune system will jump into action locally to prevent infection and to aid in healing. Blood work will show an increase in immune activity. But it is a stretch to blame the immune system for cutting my finger.
The same concept can be applied to the colon. In as much as the immune system becomes active, it cannot be held responsible for damaging the colon lining. On the contrary, it tries to act to prevent infection while at the same time trying to facilitate the healing process. Yet they still prescribe drugs to suppress the immune system. How crazy is that?
Q: Can IBS be caused by NSAIDS?
A: No. Unless something prior had happened to damage the mucosal lining that protects the bowel wall they can do no damage. This would be the exposure to antibiotics in any of it’s many forms. Being anti-bacterial they kill the good bacteria that the mucosal lining is made of. This then allows anything-in this case NSAIDS to make direct contact with the bowel wall irritating it. So they are not the cause.
Q: Is IBD hereditary?
Not the way it is interpreted by today’s modern medicine. It does not just pop up out of nowhere as if you were genetically programed. We all have genetic strengths and weaknesses. If you have a weakness in your bowel tissue it is then susceptible to trauma from something that may ‘exploit’ that weakness. In the case of IBD this is the exposure to something that breaches the mucosal lining exposing the bowel tissue to things such as digestive acids and fibrous foods. These erode and inflame the tissue bringing about the symptoms we know as IBD. What does run in the family is immersion in our culture’s indiscriminate abuse of manmade-synthetic antibiotics that devastate the bowel mucosal lining. Remember this blog post and see if I am right 10-20 years from now.
Q: Some of my doctors are recommending the use of colonics or increasing my fiber. Is that an idea worth taking up?
A: This is not recommended because it will only worsen the situation. Considering the colon lining is already inflamed it is not a good idea to stick stuff up there. Also increasing fiber intake whether through diet or with supplements is 100% the wrong thing to do. Why would we want to drag rough stuff over already irritated tissue. This would make things worse. Lastly none of these address the source of the problem and the longer it goes without the proper care the worse it will get.
Q: Why is it hard for some naturopaths to fix irritable bowel syndrome?
A: For the same reason that your doctor can’t-they do not understand it. Naturopaths are good at treating most general problems. Problems that affect the colon are very complex and thus require naturopaths who specialize in them. I have been dealing with this for 30 + years to the point of developing my own methods.
Q: Do I have to live with IBS my whole life? Is there a cure?