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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I get cross when I see 'labels' like IBS - gut disturbance of 'unknown etiology'.It's the 'unknown' bit that is the teller here. At the end of the day, the Medical Profession are very good at giving things 'labels' when they can't diagnose the problem. "We can't figure out why so we will give it a name, give you ". Yeah, like that actually achieves anything?!There is a reason for everything. Nothing happens without cause.Just because they can't find the cause (or more likely, aren't actually looking in the right place!) doesn't mean that there isn't one.Most people 'develop' IBS. In other words, they aren't usually born with it. What has happened to make it develop?There may be many factors. Starting from the beginning, it is possible that people who weren't breastfed have not had the benefit of the immune-building nutrients found in breast milk so have already started their life with a compromised immune system. Unless the Mother followed a very good natural diet with few processed foods and low sugar and carbohydrate consumption, it seems that the quality of breast milk may diminish with each subsequent baby so those subsequent children may also have compromised immune systems.Then add into the mix the doses of antibiotics that people have been given through their lives - doses that are known to damage the gut flora balance and leave the digestive system vulnerable to attack from pathogenic microbes and/or parasites. Most people end up with thrush or other Candida issues after taking them - that is because the gut defenders have been destroyed. Kill the soldiers and the city is undefended. It seems that there are well over 5,000 different strains of bacteria living in our gut. Apparently one course of antibiotics can destroy 30% - many of them protective microbes that we can never get back....With a compromised flora and immune system we are then also vulnerable to parasitic attack. The Medical Profession is not looking for parasites. They are viewed as 'tropical' issues, but the reality is that we have enough home-grown parasites that are problematic. Besides, the World is so cosmopolitan these days that many of the 'tropical' parasites are now, and have for years, been brought to us............Because the testing procedures are pretty basic at best they are notoriously difficult to find. It seems that even stool tests don't always find them, and may need to be repeated several times over several days, or weeks, before anything is found. Parasites are a lot easier to pick up than people realize and you don't have to be a dirty person to be infested by them. They can range from things like tapeworm which can be several feet in length to one-celled protozoa.It is estimated that between 80% and 90% of the World's population is carrying some kind of parasite/s. It is a horrible subject, and not something that most people want to consider - but unfortunately neither does the Medical Profession. Gone are the days when people realized the necessity of taking regular 'de-worming' potions. These days, ironically, we are more likely to 'de-worm' our pets than we are ourselves. In reality the dog might have passed them on to us - and it is also possible that we might have given them to the dog!Food Intolerances are a growing problem and indeed the Western diet is very high in sugars and carbohydrate - both of which feed pathogens (and cancers). Much of those sugars and carbohydrates are also in highly processed food and some of that will also contain damaging stuff like high-fructose corn syrup.Sometimes it may be due to the amount of sugar and carbs consumed encouraging the growth of pathogens and sometimes it could be exacerbated by dehydration. Although we drink, most of our modern drinks are very dehydrating in their own right. Tea and coffee are diuretic, sugar and anything that turns to sugar in the body (carbs) are dehydrating as are chemical sweeteners and alcohol (as indeed is any drug or chemical that has to be processed). Not to say that having some is a problem but if that is all we drink then we are gradually eating into our hydration 'bank'. We are about 75% water. The body needs all of its quota to deal with all its processes. If it falls below that level then it has to impact on our health sooner or later. The more dehydrated the body becomes, the less able it is to fulfill certain processes, including digestion. This is not about how much drink is going through the kidneys each day, this is a gradual undermining of hydration at cellular level.There may be other factors at stake that I haven't considered (and I am sure others will come up with a few more), but this are those which I know have impacted on my health over the years. They are all good, and quite viable reasons for us to be suffering the vagaries of the IBS 'label'. Any one of them could potentially be a factor - for some of us perhaps even all of them.
 

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I'm not sure how completely and totally unknown the origins of IBS really are, although a lot of people like to claim no researcher has ever found anything to suggest whatever they want as the cause.While they usually can't prove it for any given individual (because most of us don't go to the doctor for a diagnosis for every last GI bug when we know they will tell us to get rest and push fluids because often it is a virus and you can't do anything else).If you look at people who were diagnosed with Salmonella a year later they are 4-20X more likely to have IBS than matched controls.If you look at the GI tract of animals who had inflammation similar to what you get with a GI virus or Food Poisoning you find damage to the nerves in the GI wall.If you look at people with chronic inflammation of the gut (IBD) a good percentage of them develop IBS symptoms over time.GI inflammation and the damage that causes the nervous systems seems to be a major contributing factor to IBS. There are other ones as some twin studies show that some people seem to be more genetically likely to get it, just like some of us are genetically more likely to drop dead of heart attacks or get diabetes. (most every disease is a combination of environment and genes, so this isn't really shocking news for IBS.) It also seems that childhood trauma and abdominal surgery also tend to set you up for IBS (or other functional problems in the cause of trauma)In addition the inflammation damages nerves (which seems to be why some people are a bit oversensitive to food triggers and such for a few weeks after any GI infection...and why you need 6 weeks of symptoms to get an IBS diagnosis) there are biomarkers of that damage to the nerves in the blood that can be detected in IBSers and are different from the biomarkers you find in the blood from other GI diseases. These biomarkers are the basis of a relatively new test that actually can rule IBS IN as a diagnosis rather than just rule other things OUT.Now there do seem to be colon flora differences in IBSers vs non-IBSEers but that is really a chicken-egg thing right now rather than we know the bacteria in the colon just randomly change on any given day and by themselves can screw things up enough to cause the damage we see in the nervous system of IBSers.The problem with a lot of the theories is they may contribute to triggering symptoms, but don't seem to be enough to cause the damage that starts the process. GI infections and surgery for sure are very able to cause the damage we know is there. Severe trauma seems to cause changes in the nervous system that makes people more prone to a lot of things. None of them are seen only in trauma victims, so you can't diagnose a trauma because someone has symptoms, but some things that are seen in 5-10% of people with no history of trauma are seen in 50% of people with a trauma in their past.IBS may not be the best name, but in the last couple of decades there really has been a lot of good and fruitful research into why people have it, how you can detect it, and how to treat it. We have a long way to go, but it isn't the unknown thing that it was when they changed the name back about 1970 or so from other names that were even worse at describing a very common cluster of symptoms. Spastic Colitis isn't a better name as you can't see the spasms (even if it feels like spasms from some people's descriptions) and you don't see any overt inflammation in the gut (even if we now have detected minor changes in the immune cells that are part of controlling the normal functioning of the gut, the nervous system and immune system do have some overlap in functions).
 

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Good list.There was a long running comic in the papers, over here, called Pogo, which I read religiously during my adolescence. One of his most famous phrases is "We have met the enemy and he is us."I started my life on formula. I was raised with the usual amount of foods from highly refined raw materials, had the usual amount of "myacins" that were useless for the viruses I was exposed to, and ate way too much sugar. My diet was also influenced by the chemical industry which had taken over food production for much of North America out of the now depleted California valleys. Of course, I have also breathed in way too much polluted air, with its load of oxidized free radicals; but what can you do? This was all post WW 2 culture and I/we are products of that, for better or worse. What is really remarkable is how well my immune system functioned through all of that. What did me in was the pack of cigarettes that I was never without for some 30 years. IBS (or whatever it is) did not develop out of my long deteriorating digestive system until I was in my mid-40s. From the first attack after my morning cigarette, the triggers spread rapidly through most of the foods I was eating. It has taken me years to put my finger on the basic inflammation that seems to be at the core of my problem and it's relationship to the cardiovascular problems I also experienced. From what I have read in the past year, undetected inflammation would seem to be a major factor in much of the food intolerance problems we experience. I have no doubt that inflammation may also be a result of harbouring all of those pathogens and parasites you speak of. On an entirely different tack, there was a study I used to cite to possibly explain my case (and my recovery) that found a 100% statistical correlation between IBS symptoms in CFS/ME sufferers and blood brain perfusion. My suspicion is that this, much like dementia, again gets back to diet and habits that encourage blockages to form; however, I have no proof of that. While there is no way of knowing how different my life would have been had I not smoked, given the other factors which contributed to my condition, I guess I finally have to admit that I would have been better off listening to my parents for advice than taking my cues from movies and Marlborough ads.Glad you are on the road back. I was about 53 when I accidentally found a supplement to address this. These have turned out to be the best 10 years since my 30s. It sounds as though it will be the same for you. Mark
 

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Hi KathleenYes, but the thing is that the triggers aren't necessarily the same. What triggered your IBS is not necessarily the same thing that triggered mine.It is the fact that whatever the cause, the label is the same. IBS is a great 'catch-all' that makes the Medical Profession feel better because they have 'diagnosed' your problem, but doesn't actually do anything about finding out why you have it!You are right that not that many people bother to go to the Doctor with it. I didn't - purely because I knew that I would just be told it was 'IBS' and would be given yet another drug and be sent on my way.The main problem with it is where do you start. What ever you start with is never the real reason. It's like the layers of an onion. Just when you think you have discovered the reason, you realise that that reason is triggered by something else.Mine was triggered by gluten and dairy intolerance. But hang on......what triggered the gluten an dairy intolerance? Well, I now discover that I am very dehydrated. That goes a long way to explain why I can't cope with the gluten and dairy, but why am I dehydrated? No, I didn't drink enough. I have never drunk enough, and certainly not water, but is that the whole picture?I wasn't breastfed as a child. I had a weak immune system from the off. I had the ubiquitous childhood illnesses, for which I was plied with plenty of (and probably in most cases totally unnecessary) antibiotics which then further weakened my immune system and rendered it vulnerable to pathogenic attack.I now believe that at some point in my childhood I picked up parasites. Most of my life they just lived in the background, gradually impacting here and there on my health. It is only now that they have started to outgrow their home that my health is being seriously impacted.Where did they come from? I suspect from one or the other of my parents. I also suspect my Dad passed them on to my Mum. He, his Mother, and two of his three siblings all had/have type 2 Diabetes. Genetic, or parasitic? Not too long after they started courting my Mum developed Type 1 diabetes. No one knew where it came from. There was no history of it in her family. Was it from bugs passed to her by my Dad? Did they impact on her in that way because her body was weaker or more vulnerable than his?I sometimes feel that the genetic thing is a bit of a red-herring. How often is the phrase 'scientists think they have discovered, or may have discovered' tagged on to different genetic 'discoveries'? 'Think' or 'may' are not definitives.Yes, families share genetics, but they all share their bugs with each other too. I am type 2 diabetic, my husband is borderline type 2, we are also both gluten intolerant. We are not genetically related. A couple we know, both the husband and wife have Ankylosing Spondylitis. Why? They are not genetically related. It seems that a possible link between AS and Klebsiella has been discovered. Have they shared that with each other and with one of their sons who also has the 'disease'? Perhaps the other children don't have it because their immune systems have been able to deal with it before it took hold? Perhaps though, as yet, the AS has not reared its head so far.What really concerns me with the IBS label is that whilst the Medical Profession is able to stick that label on, they are not bothered about looking at what is really causing the issue. Whilst they are sticking the label on they are missing the bigger picture. They are missing the REAL causes - some of which may eventually be too late to deal with.But then when is the Medical Profession actually interested in finding the REAL reasons for anything? Heaven forbid that they should actually CURE anyone!!!
 

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I suppose you can say all the research in the last couple of decades into the initial cause (even if I may be triggered by eating any meal and you may only be triggered when you eat a specific food or only by stress) and all the efforts by all the people thwarted by the FDA to get effective drugs for IBS on the market and the research that led to the development of a test for IBS was totally useless, but I do not.Unfortunately what we find is that whatever the cause of the damage (infection or surgery or trauma) generally the results in the biology are the same so we probably won't need a specific treatment for those who had sexual abuse compared to those with Salmonella or those who had abdominal surgery, etc.Twin studies are fairly definitive in determining if something is wholly or partly genetic.Unfortunately just finding a gene (if you find the exact gene which they haven't yet done for IBSers but they have some lead) does not mean an effective treatment must be made within a year.I know it is distressing when decades of research doesn't lead to a perfect cure but that doesn't mean no one is doing anything and no one every will.Yes, all the various things in our environment has an impact on overall health but it is often very hard to pinpoint one exact thing at one point in time that lead to the one clot that damages your heart or damages your brain or how many GI infections you can tolerate before you get into trouble.Some things may not be easily fixable in the human body, it is way too complex, but I'll settle for effective treatments if we can just convince the FDA that losing all quality of life from IBS is even half as bad as the quality of life issues you get from acne or erectile dysfunction.Now there are some bad doctors that never read any of the current research, but that doesn't mean that all researchers and all doctors are just out to harm as many people as possible with bogus diagnoses.
 
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