With each passing year, more and more people find themselves suffering from chronic conditions such as IBS. People are recognizing that modern medicine is wonderful in its treatment of emergency conditions and its ability to save a patient under difficult situations. But when it comes to actually healing chronic conditions modern medicine is designed based on a treatment methodology and based around areas of specialty that treat one specific condition rather than trying to heal underlying causes. There is now a new type of medicine called Functional Medicine that is designed to treat the whole body and to heal the causes which will lead to the chronic condition dissipating.

What Is Functional Medicine And How Does It Differ From Modern Medicine?

Ibs symptoms and diagnostic tretamentDespite all the advances in science and medicine over the last century, there is an ever-increasing amount of chronic disease and illness that society suffers with. There is no place that I would rather be than the best hospital with the most advanced equipment and trained doctors and surgeons if I have a medical emergency. But when it comes to treating everyday chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or conditions like IBS, then the only thing I can hope for from allopathic medicine is that I’m given a prescription that I’ll need to refill again and again for the rest of my life.

Modern medicine looks to simply treat a condition and keep it within levels that allow for life to continue but does nothing to heal the condition. If you go to a regular modern doctor and you have high blood pressure they will give you medicine that helps keep your blood pressure within acceptable limits. But modern medicine has no methodology for finding the underlying reasons for the high blood pressure or for treating those underlying issues in a way that heals the high blood pressure.

It’s exactly the same thing when it comes to a condition such as IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that is suffered by as many as 40 million people in the US alone. Two-thirds of those are female and another 1/3 or male. IBS is a condition that people of all ages can have but most who have it are under 50. Almost half of all visits to a gastroenterologist are directly related to irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable BowelHow functional medicine approaches these conditions differently from allopathic medicine is that it searches for the underlying causes of a condition and seeks to treat those and in turn heal the condition. To further demonstrate this difference an allopathic doctor would seek to treat the symptoms of IBS such as pain and cramping, constipation, gas and bloating, as well as fatigue or insomnia. The allopathic doctor would simply prescribe medications that would be designed to reduce those symptoms without any effort or thought into looking at the root causes of those symptoms and treating them in a way that would lead to the body healing.

Functional medicine, on the other hand, seeks to look at what is causing the pain and cramping, or constipation, or the fatigue and insomnia. By understanding what is causing those symptoms and by treating them, functional medicine can address the root cause which then allows symptoms to dissipate and the body becomes truly healed.

What Causes IBS?

The first step in healing the body is understanding what is causing the symptoms. Some of the known causes of IBS include food allergies and hypersensitivity to certain foods. Many of those who have this condition do not have as many digestive enzymes or enough stomach acid and this too can be part of the problem. An imbalance of microbial flora is also another issue commonly experienced by those who have IBS. A condition known as leaky gut causes inflammation which also leads to irritable bowel syndrome.

How Functional Medicine Treats IBS

Because food allergies and hypersensitivity are common causes of this condition, functional medicine will usually start with something known as an Elimination Diet that removes foods that are commonly found to cause allergic reactions. The purpose of this is to discover which food or foods the person is having an allergic reaction to. This means that this is a two-step process that requires first removing all of the foods for a period of time and then reintroducing them one by one to determine which foods are causing a problem.

Most food allergies can be overcome by simply removing the food for a long enough period of time and by doing other things that can bring your body to a greater state of health and then those foods can often be slowly reintroduced back into your daily diet. Very often the reason that a person develops an allergy to certain foods is due in part to the lack of microbes and healthy bacteria. Functional medicine will treat IBS by reintroducing those microbes and bacteria.

A number of supplements, herbs, and probiotics will be used in order to bring your overall condition back to a good state of health. Things such as digestive enzymes, herbs that help cleanse the body, magnesium to help those who are constipated and other things like ginger are used. We usually only think of the gut as just something that receives the food that we eat but it is a complex system that helps us in many ways.

How The Gut Helps Us

The gut has the job of breaking down all the food we consume so that the body can receive the food’s nutrients and it plays a role in preparing certain parts of the food that we do not need to be removed and it even plays a part in killing some types of disease. When we develop irritable bowel syndrome it is a clear sign that something has happened to the gut that is making it unhealthy. When we can help it return to a state of good health, then the condition or symptom known as IBS will dissipate. Treating IBS with Functional Medicine is a way to actually heal the condition instead of just treating it.