"Naturopathic medicine supports the
body's innate ability to heal itself"
What is IBS?
IBS is essentially a diagnosis of exclusion. Meaning, that when you have a myriad of symptoms, it could be a number of different gastrointestinal conditions. After diagnostic labs and imaging have been done, and nothing pathological is found, your collection of symptoms are stamped Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. Within the conventional medical system, there is little to offer in terms of treatments, so many people are left feeling frustrated and unsure of what to do with their new diagnosis of IBS. People may go on to suffer with IBS for years with no relief.
Symptoms of IBS
The symptoms of IBS are varied, and the list can be quite lengthy. Some people have only a few symptoms at any one time, and others suffer with multiple symptoms, occurring all at once. Symptoms often wax and wane, and it can be difficult to determine what the cause(s) were for each and every exacerbation. Symptoms can include:
Natural treatments for IBS
I have treated IBS in my practice countless times. Naturopathic medicine offers so many treatment options for IBS, which have a very high rate of success. With little to offer from conventional medicine system, naturopathic medicine offers a tremendous amount of treatment options for those willing to make the necessary changes for their health.
With most conditions, inflammation is both a contributor and cause. Treating chronic inflammation can be addressed to a great degree with food, or the elimination of certain foods. When it comes to IBS, diet is absolutely essential. The foods you eat can either be your greatest asset, or the greatest detriment to your health. With IBS, there are no particular foods that cause a problem for everyone. However, there are common allergenic, inflammatory foods, most notably wheat and dairy, that are most likely contributing. There are often many other, less common food allergens, which could also be contributing to the inflammation in the intestinal tract. In order to discover which foods are an issue, an elimination diet can be done, whereby all major allergenic foods are eliminated, and then slowly one by one, are brought back into the diet, and you monitor to see if you experience any return of symptoms. This can be difficult, as it requires a close examination of what your body's normal is. Generally, people suffering from IBS have had the symptoms for so long, that they haven't experienced what a 'normal' healthy body feels like in years. The other option is food sensitivity testing, which most people prefer, as it is black and white in terms of what foods are causing an issue for them. Then, just those specific foods can be eliminated, as opposed to a more generic overall elimination diet.
Beyond diet modification, certain aspects of the body need to be supported to return the body to its intended normalcy. Enterocytes are the cells that line the majority of the intestinal system. These cells are injured during the insult of IBS. Helping them heal can include L-glutamine, probiotics, demulcent herbs, digestive enzymes, and fish oil.
Liver support is also important, as IBS creates a leaky gut picture. Our intestinal tract is meant to have tight cell junctions, allowing only essential nutrients to be absorbed via carrier transport proteins. With a leaky gut, various larger particles are absorbed into the blood, creating inflammation, the liver must filter these foreign molecules. The liver sends these to the digestive tract to be eliminated via stool. Thus a perpetual feedback loop exists where the liver is filtering the same toxins repeatedly. Herbs are a great way to help the liver detoxify. Some herbs to consider include; burdock, dandelion, artichoke, and milk thistle.
Stress is a major contributor to IBS flare ups. Ways to combat stress include; a proper sleep schedule (bed by 10:30pm), regular eating habits, balancing blood sugar throughout the day, social activities, exercise, and meditation. You can also support your adrenals with vitamins (ie vitamin C), minerals (ie magnesium), and/or herbs (ie rhodiola, ashwagandha, avena sativa, ginseng, etc).
Who Can Help?
IBS can be a complex multifaceted condition, and treatments differ for everyone. Consistency wins the race. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor how IBS is best treated for you.
When you know better, you do better!
Vancouver Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer
We are constantly being exposed to chemicals. Eating mostly organic (especially the dirty dozen) is a step in the right direction as we eat everyday. Another great step in reducing the chemical storm that is all around us, is avoiding chemicals in our skin care products! Some of these chemicals are known hormone disrupters, and in my practice, I see that this is a main problem in the majority of my clients.
There are so many things that we can not change, why not change the things we CAN?
Read this short article below to learn the 4 Big Bad chemicals in skin care products that you want to avoid!
Vancouver Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer
Everyone wants to smell good! Most people have several bottles of perfume. One thing that you may not know is that most perfumes are laden with harsh chemicals. So you're paying a lot of money to smell good with poison.
An alternative to that is to build your own perfume, naturally. You can use essential oils of your choice to mix and match and form your own unique fragrance.
Vancouver Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer
Eczema is a prevalent inflammatory condition of the skin. There are a few different types; atopic dermatitis being the most common. It is characterized by red, itchy, scaly, reoccurring patches that may ooze or bleed. Many cases often have concomitant asthma and/or seasonal allergies. There are many factors that aggravate the condition, however, a sole cause is unknown. Irritants include, abrasive materials; such as wool, chemical fragrances in topical creams, soaps, rapid extreme changes in weather, and existing dry skin.
Medical treatments typically involve topical corticosteroid creams, antibiotics, antihistamines, immunosuppressants, and topical immunomodulators. Most commonly prescribed are topical corticosteroid creams, which long term use can cause thinning of the skin, fungal and bacterial infections, and increased risk of osteoporosis.
Naturopathic approaches include identifying the underlying root causes and addressing those. Once those are established, barriers to healing are removed and targeted treatments are used. One major connection to eczema, even recognized by the medical community, is the correlation between certain food allergies and the worsening of eczema symptoms. Foods known to cause issues include; eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, nuts, and coffee. Eliminating these foods, as well as other person-specific allergies, are a key element in treating the underlying inflammatory condition. When it comes to food allergies, there is generally a barrier issue within the gastrointestinal system. Large particles are passing through into the blood stream, that wouldn’t normally under healthy conditions. That is where digestive enzymes can assist in breaking down foods that the body currently is not. Anothing key to treating the compromised intestinal barrier is via probiotics. They are key to modulating the immune system, as 70% of more of our immune system resides in the gastrointestinal system.
The Hormonal Connection
There is also a hormonal connection with eczema, whereby an imbalance has been associated with the development of, or worsening of symtoms. Whenever hormonal imbalances are concerned, great care of the liver must be given, as it is the main disseminator of our hormones. There are many natural treatments to generate proper production and elimination of hormones via the liver and other organ systems.
Naturopathic medicine offers treatments in the form of botanical herbs; which aim to detoxify the skin via the liver, kidneys, and intestines; which helps to detoxify the cells and surrounding matrix, and nutritional supplements. Vitamin A is essential in maximizing the cell turnover rate, and zinc is important in the healing of skin. Lastly, essential fatty acids are very beneficial in the treatment of eczema due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties and the moisturizing effects it has on the skin from an internal basis.
When it comes to treating eczema, avoiding food allergies is key, next is detoxifying the body, and finally, further adding nutrients to augment the healing process. There are many different naturopathic treatment options for eczema. Learn more from your ND.
Vancouver Naturopath: Vancouver Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer
Dr. Moyer Naturopath Vancouver