2. Convention vs. Functional Medicine
In reality, IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning you’ve had extensive lab testing, studies, and procedures done, but everything comes back normal, and doctors are unable to identify a diagnosable condition that would explain your symptoms. Because of this, conventional medicine focuses on managing the symptoms of the disease, usually with potent immunosuppressive medications and invasive surgeries.
In Functional Medicine however, we know that IBS isn’t just uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing, it is a sign that something is awry in your gut. We also know that treating the symptoms while leaving the underlying cause untreated can lead to even more serious problems, including an autoimmune disease.
What causes IBS?
So, what exactly are the underlying causes of IBS? The answer depends on the individual. Because IBS is not a single disease with a single cause, but rather, a complex collection of symptoms, it has several possible causes. And, while it isn’t officially classified as an autoimmune disease, it shares some of the same risk factors of autoimmunity, including leaky gut, dietary factors, toxins, infections, and stress, as well as an underlying inflammatory condition.
That being said, the latest research, as well as my own clinical experience, suggests that in most cases, there are six main underlying causes of IBS. People with IBS may have any one of these factors, or a combination of them. A functional medicine doctor can help you identify the specific cause (or causes) of your individual IBS symptoms.