A healthy microbiome is key to living a healthy life. When it comes to gut health and the 5 lbs of bacteria that reside in your body, researchers continue to make discoveries about its connection to a variety of diseases and conditions, from anxiety and mood to obesity and – today’s topic – Irritable Bowel Syndrom, commonly referred to as IBS.
We tapped our friends at Onegevity to collaborate and weigh in on the matter.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder of the large intestine.
IBS is a global issue, with some countries experiencing higher prevalence rates than others. Across the map, IBS can affect upwards of 35.5 percent of the population1; here in the U.S., it is estimated that around 20 percent of the population has IBS.
The issue with this syndrome is that the signs and symptoms can easily be confused with regular gastrointestinal problems unless you are aware of their severity and frequency, and triggers causing them. And there is no definitive test to diagnose it.
Many doctors agree IBS stems from dysbiosis (or a microbial imbalance) in the gut.
Luckily, analyzing your entire gut microbial population, including the ratios and balances of bacteria, and if your gut is hosting bad bacteria that is causing your GI issues, is convenient and easy to do; this test can help you understand which bad bacteria are thriving in the gut and if it’s putting you at risk for IBS or other health issues.
Fear not, these GI conditions in many cases can be managed entirely through appropriate nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes. The Gutbio test provides a full, easy-to-read report with personalized suggestions for you to optimize gut health based on your results.
The first step includes recognizing the signs your gut needs a check-up. Our partners at Onegevity Health put together this list of signs that are common in those with have IBS and need a gut rebalancing.
5 Signs You May Have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
1. You feel bloated or distended.
Do you find it difficult to button your pants? Bloating can be a result of a bacterial imbalance in your gut.
Certain “bad” bacteria in the gut ferment foods and sugars and produce gas and hold fluids in your intestines.
Abdominal distention or bloating due to fluid or air in the lower part of your stomach can cause discomfort. If it doesn’t resolve itself in a few days or after a week or two or regular exercise, it’s a classic sign something is up.
Bloating for more than three months is a warning sign you may have IBS, but most would agree that you shouldn’t wait the 90 days before seeing a professional or getting your gut checked.
2. You have pain or cramping in your abdomen.
Different from discomfort, three out of every four people with IBS report feeling pain in the lower abdomen. The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders says IBS pain may be acute, constant, or recurring frequently and can last for extended periods.
Pain is so unpredictable and can change from day to day and over time.
The sensory feeling of pain usually occurs after eating or when stool is being formed and can worsen after the bowel movement. If you are unsure if what you’re feeling is pain, many describe the feelings of a combination of cramping, stabbing, aching, sharp, or throbbing.
3. You pass gas more than others.
Passing gas is perfectly normal. Sometimes we swallow air, or our GI tract ferments the foods we eat, and it creates gas bubbles that need to get out. While everyone has their own ‘normal’ because of their diet, it seems the average healthy adult passes gas more 5-15 times a day.
In addition to frequency, the smell of your gas can be a sign. There are certain bacteria in the gut that produce methane, a greenhouse gas that produces a foul odor. Ideally, you would not want these bacteria to be in high abundance or be thriving because of the foods you’re eating.
4. You are experiencing loose stools or diarrhea.
Someone with IBS-D (the D stands for diarrhea) has frequent loose stools or even liquid stools. Loose stools are generally soft, shapeless, or mushy. They may also experience gurgling or rumbling in their gut between bowel movements, too.
Anything more than a sporadic episode of diarrhea is considered abnormal; those with IBS or other GI issues may have diarrhea daily or multiple times a day. It’s unfortunate because this scenario makes it difficult for someone to go to work in an office, plan a road trip or fly on a plane, exercise, or do daily activities that healthy adults may take for granted.
5. You are constipated.
IBS-C (the C stands for constipation) is a type of IBS too. Less than three bowel movements a week can suggest you are experiencing constipation. Constipation also results in feeling “unfinished” after having a bowel movement.
It’s not uncommon for someone to go from having diarrhea to being constipated. Physiologically, it makes sense. These people suffer from what is called IBS-M, where the “M” means mixed. Dehydration is not the only cause of constipation; motility issues can be gut bacteria related too.
The most common symptoms of IBS include cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, but individuals with IBS, whether or not they know it yet, tend to experience these symptoms more often than the average adult. In a healthy individual, GI issues do not typically cause them any inconvenience, embarrassment, or debilitation.
In honor of #IBSAwarenessMonth (April), we encourage you to take control of your health!
If you are experiencing unpleasant and unwanted GI issues, consider trying Gutbio – the most advanced gut microbiome test from Onegevity. As a special offer this April, get $20 off a Gutbio kit using the code IBSMONTH
This will allow you to measure every microorganism in your gut. You can also learn if your gut bacteria amounts and ratios are off-balance, and what you can change in your diet and lifestyle to rebalance it. When you optimize the right bacteria in your gut, you can decrease your risk for diarrhea, constipation, inflammation, and other health conditions.
our report will provide personalized recommendations for diet, supplementation, and lifestyle to improve the beneficial bacteria, so you can focus on adding good habits, maintaining a healthy gut, and improving overall health.
Having a comprehensive picture of what your body is up to empowers your to fully understand the impact your habits are having on your overall health, and help inform you on what new habits to build. From there, it’s up to you to take action.
Onegevity is working to help us all understand the microbiome better, by delivering science-based, consumer-friendly recommendations for customized nutrition, clinically-studied supplements and pre- and probiotics to improve health outcomes.
1. Sperber AD, Dumitrascu D, Fukudo S, et al. The global prevalence of IBS in adults remains elusive due to the heterogeneity of studies: a Rome Foundation working team literature review. Gut. 2017;66(6):1075-1082.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.