What is IBS?

If you are struggling with digestive issues chances are you are very familiar with the term IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  You may have been diagnosed by your doctor or you identify with some or all of the symptoms below. 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation 
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating 
  • Distention 
  • Gas 

The symptoms tend to be very broad and experienced differently by each person.  They can have a huge impact on your daily life and how you operate.  It is common to experience a change in frequency of bowel movements and have increased sensitivity leading to pain and/or discomfort.  


There is a lot of research to support various reasons for why someone would be experiencing these symptoms. Possible causes  include:

    • Imbalances of microbes in the gut:
      • You may have heard of this referred to as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO.  There is usually more to it than just SIBO and with a stool test, we can find specific microbes that are known to contribute to IBS like: Morganella, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, and Proteus to name a few 
    • Carbohydrate malabsorption:
      • An inability for you to break down your carbohydrates in your small intestine leading to increased fermentation from bacteria which can result in gas and bloating.
  • Fungal infections
  • Parasitic infections
  • Pancreatic insufficiency:
    • An inability to make enzymes that help to break down your food properly.
  • Sensitivity to histamine or excessive Mast cell activation

The great news is that we now have a way to test for a lot of these potential causes that is not available with conventional testing.  Oftentimes patients with IBS have never actually had a stool test done.  This additional testing and investigation leads to greatly improved treatment outcomes.  It also allows us to be very targeted and create a treatment plan individualized to YOU.

While IBS can feel like a daunting diagnosis there is so much we can do to optimize how your digestive tract functions and to minimize symptoms.  The key is uncovering your triggers and optimizing your individual digestion.  It is not a one size fits all scenario with IBS. 

One of the most common questions we get is around food sensitivities and whether or not that could be the cause.  For most people, food reactions are a symptom of a dysfunctional GI tract and not necessarily the cause.  Typically, we start by looking at the microbes in your gut and some markers of intestinal health through a stool test. 

At Aumakua, all of our Naturopathic Physicians have a focus in digestion and are committed to keeping up with the most current research for our patients and for providing education to other practitioners in the field.  

If you are struggling with IBS or IBS-like symptoms we are here to help!  We welcome you to book a 15 minute meet and greet with any of our naturopathic physicians to see how we can support you.  

This article was written by Dr. Amber Sereda, ND of Aumakua Integrated Wellness Clinic.  We are a virtual online clinic that has a focus on digestive health and we are continually receiving top reviews from our patients.

Get in touch with us:

Main webpage: https://www.aiwclinic.com/

Booking link: https://aiwclinic.janeapp.com/

Reception email: [email protected] 

More information on digestion: https://www.aiwclinic.com/digestive-health 


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