Causes of IBS

The exact cause of IBS is unknown – IBS has been linked to food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly, stress and oversensitive nerves

IBS Specialists as featured in the Guardian

Male IBS patient discussing symptoms with IBS specialist

What are the causes of IBS ?

The exact causes of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) are still unknown, this is one of the reason’s why the NHS is ill-equipped to deal with patients.

However, the good news is that there are a number of areas that your GP may not have explored that our IBS clinic can help you with.

One of the problems in treating patient’s with IBS is that there are at least six or more conditions that may be causing symptoms of IBS. In fact one test is unable to address all of these conditions at the same time.

Underlying conditions of IBS may be linked to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, Food intolerances including dairy and gluten intolerance, Candida, parasitic infections and Stress.

Please scroll down to read up on each of these or contact us for more assistance.

Possible causes of IBS

Food Intolerances may cause symptoms of IBS

We are seeing an increasing number of patients whose symptoms of IBS are linked to food intolerances. The most common foods we see patient’s reacting to at our IBS Clinic are Gluten, Dairy and Yeast- the latter is found in bread, marmite, beer and pizza. This is often a very difficult area to diagnose as food intolerance may have a delayed reaction. You may eat a plate of pasta today and feel perfectly well but experience bloating and pain in 3-4 days after having eaten the offending food. Other symptoms of food intolerances include fatigue, skin problems and joint pain. Food intolerances can be tested for via blood looking at IgG antibodies – we offer this at our clinic and have had remarkable results.

Is a Fungal Overgrowth - Candida Albicans, the cause of your bloating and fatigue?

Do you have symptoms such as bloating, sugar cravings, brain fog, fatigue, constipation, diarrhoea, thrush, or fungal toe-nails?

Candida Albicans is a type of yeast that we all have. In small amounts, it does not cause any problems. However, it can grow and proliferate if you have had a history of taking several antibiotics as a child or have consumed a high sugar or high yeast diet including foods such as bread, stock cubes, soya sauce balsamic vinegar or alcohol.

This is an area we have a special interest in and will certainly be able to help you.

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

One of the causes of IBS may be linked to a condition know as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) – this is a condition that prevalent in IBS, it remains unclear whether SIBO causes IBS but certainly many patients who have IBS test positive for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.

The most common symptoms of SIBO are flatulence, wind, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea. We can test for this at our clinic using a hydrogen breath test.

If you would like to read an article on SIBO Victoria Tyler wrote recently for Positive Health magazine, please visit this link: Positive Health Online.

Lactose Intolerance and IBS-D

Lactose intolerance is also very common among patients with IBS- particularly with patients who have IBS-D. (Source)

Lactose is a type of sugar that is normally broken down by an enzyme called Lactase.

Typical symptoms of lactose intolerance include wind, gas and diarrhoea soon after drinking a food with large amounts of lactose such as milk. We can also test for this at our clinic.

Parasitic Infections

These are another common cause of IBS D and IBS-C. Patient’s typically display symptoms including Diarrhoea, constipation , gas and abdominal pain as well as gurgling or churning. More than 30% of our patients have tested positive for a parasite. Parasite testing can easily be conducted using a stool test.

Parasites can be picked up through foreign travel (India, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Mexico are common destinations. However, they may also be picked up in the UK.

Lack of Digestive Enzymes or Stress

If you are lacking the ability to produce and secrete digestive enzymes including stomach acid you may be experiencing feeling of fullness after eating, bloating diarrhea and constipation. You can test for pancreatic enzymes via a comprehensive stool test and our IBS specialists will also recommend pancreatic enzymes to help you break down and absorb your food.

Psychological factors such as stress may also play a part in IBS.

The Real Causes of IBS by Michael Franklin

If you would like to read the cover story article Michael Franklin wrote recently for Positive Health magazine, please click here.