The Gut-Bowel Connection: Is a Disrupted Microbiome to Blame for Your IBS?

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The human body is home to countless microscopic living organisms, many of which aid in maintaining the regular function of different organs. Bacteria, in particular, are found in various parts of the body, including the skin, the mouth, the nose, and the gut.

In the gut, trillions of bacteria, together with viruses and fungi, make up what is called the microbiome. The microbiome is responsible for a lot of things such as digestion.

The microbiome found mostly in the pocket of the large intestine called the cecum is inherited from the mother in the womb, but factors in the environment at birth and the person’s lifestyle growing up will have an impact on these living organisms within the body.

When the Gut Microbiome is Disrupted

The gut microbiome is important to the body’s regular processes, but there are things that people do that damage the community of organisms in the body. Taking antibiotics during an illness, although necessary, kills the good bacteria that live in the gut, too. Studies have shown that people who consume a diet that is high in sugar are also throwing the gut microbiome into chaos. In addition, stress and sleeplessness threaten the gastrointestinal tract.

When the gut microbiome is disrupted, it is bad news.

The Connection Between Gut Microbiome and IBS

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There are researches that link irritable bowel syndrome, better known as IBS, with disturbances in the gut microbiome. According to researchers, there is a significant number of patients who developed irritable bowel syndrome months after an acute bacterial infection in their digestive system. Up to 25% of individuals reported having unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms six months after their initial recovery. One in 10 of those who had severe symptoms went on to develop IBS.

Treatment from IBS focuses on major dietary and lifestyle changes. Many have found relief through homeopathy.

But, what is homeopathy and how does it work among patients with IBS?

Homeopathy believes that the body can heal itself. A person who practices homeopathy uses natural substances like leaves to encourage the body to recover on its own. Although the consensus about its efficacy is mixed, there is evidence that proves that it helps some patients.

Another possible treatment is probiotics.

IBS Relief by Introducing Strains of Good Bacteria into the Gut

Two strains of bacteria have given patients relief from symptoms of IBS. A number of studies have shown that introducing probiotics from Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium infantis into the gut microbiome can alleviate diarrhea, a common symptom of IBS.

Because the evidence supporting the benefits of probiotics in IBS is scant, health regulators and doctors cannot formally prescribe it as a cure for the ailment. Those who have been struggling with symptoms of IBS can try to increase their intake of probiotics by eating yogurt or taking supplements that contain live or active cultures of bacteria.

However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate these products. Consumers should be careful to only purchase from established and trusted brands to ensure that they are getting their money’s worth.

Feeding the Gut Microbiome

The public can also improve the health of their gut microbiome through the food they eat. Aside from yogurt, there are many types of food from around the world that introduce good bacteria into the body. Kimchi, a popular South Korean side dish, is made from fermented vegetables and delivers not just nutrients but also strains of probiotics. Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage from Germany, offers the same benefits. Kombucha, a fermented tea drink from Japan, is also a great source of probiotics.

There are also prebiotics or foods that feed the good bacteria in the gut. Many fruits and vegetables provide the fiber that keeps the gut microbiome happy and thriving. Your morning oats, for example, have high amounts of beta-glucan fiber that has been linked to a healthy gut microbiome. On the other hand, an unripe banana has resistant starch which is also good for the survival of the living organisms that aid in the process of digestion.

Other foods that serve as prebiotics include onion, garlic, leeks, asparagus, apple, seaweed, flaxseeds, barley, and wheat bran.

IBS is a rather complicated illness, and it can negatively affect a person’s daily life. It can prevent a patient suffering from it to go out and enjoy life because they are in pain, or they are unsure when a symptom of the illness will suddenly appear. It also stops them from consuming certain types of food to avoid flare-ups. That said, patients who experience symptoms should consult their doctors,

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