IBS and IBD: The Facts

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are two conditions of the intestinal tract. They share some common symptoms such as pain and discomfort, urgency and bloating, and alteration of bowel habits. Both IBS and IBD can lead to an unhealthy build-up of toxins in the GI tract, the effects of which can range from neurological impairment to altered immune and gene function.

Facts about Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — which is also called spastic colon, spastic colitis, mucous colitis, nervous stomach and nervous diarrhea — is the number one digestive disease in America, affecting as many as 50 million people.

It is typically characterized as a functional disease or syndrome, with a diagnosis made on a cluster of symptoms in the absence of notable structural abnormalities. IBS isn’t picked up on an X-Ray or in blood tests. Also, the combination of symptoms associated with IBS do not respond well to medications or surgery.

Known triggers of IBS include social and physical stressors, as well as an unhealthy diet. Examples include a diet of unhealthy and/or junk food, and continual emotional stress, whether brought on in a social setting or work-related situation.

Facts about Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBD is characterized by inflammation or ulceration, i.e. “organic” changes in the small and/or large intestines, which are not associated with IBS. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is classified into two different diseases — Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Crohn’s Disease is characterized by inflammation involving all layers of the bowel wall in any part of the gastro-intestinal tract, most commonly the small intestine, colon and stomach. Abdominal pain is common and may be mistaken for acute appendicitis. Stools are often non-bloody. The distal colon is not involved. Weight loss and fever are common.

Ulcerative Colitis is characterized by chronic inflammation of the colon and does not involve the small intestine, rectum & recto-sigmoid area.

Probiotics provide a unique method of detoxification of the gut both during and after healing. Not only can the probiotics assist with clearance of foreign matter, but they also aid in a number of other important processes such as re-establishing a correct bacterial population ratio between the various parts of the GI tract.

Probiotics may beneficially affect both Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the following ways:

  • assist in decreasing the inflammatory process
  • reestablish correct gut motility
  • correct altered gut motility
  • decrease gaseous bloating due to infections
  • increase immune response to parasites (infections)
  • exclude parasites and pathogens