Did you know that 60 million Americans suffer from IBS? Today I want to share 7 root causes of IBS.

IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. And it’s a collection of symptoms with an origin that cannot be identified.

It’s also a condition where, if you have it, your doctor or someone else has likely said to you,

It’s just IBS.

First, I want to give you some validation for your thoughts and feelings today.

“It’s Just IBS”

These three words are frustrating to hear, also not accurate.

  1. Not real

    I’d actually love to find an example of someone who spent their entire life digging and digging for a the root cause and never found it. If said person was to go to the top doctor in the entire world who tested them for everything (not reality, I realize this, just go with it for a second) would it sill just be IBS? No. Because again, IBS is simply a gut issue, presenting a collection of symptoms, that a doctor cannot diagnose. 

  2. Severity

    When someone says, “It’s just IBS” they are drastically undermining the severity. And I mean this from two viewpoints:

    1. Remember when I wrote, “Drinking Your Coffee Black is Hard?” This is what I’m talking about. How dare anyone try and tell you that your IBS is nothing to worry about, complain about or write home about. Your perception is reality. If you feel awful and miserable on a daily basis, then it’s not just IBS. 
    2. Because IBS isn’t an actual diagnosis, whatever is the root problem for that IBS could be extremely severe. I was told “it’s just IBS,” but it was SIBO. My dad was told, “it’s just IBS,” and it was Colon Cancer. Undermining the severity or deadly? Honestly. 

So no, no it’s “not just IBS.” And you can stand confident in knowing that.

They say “when everything else” has been ruled out, IBS is the diagnosis given.

I don’t buy the fact that everything else had truly been ruled out. p.s. Standard blood tests for Celiac and even getting scoped via a Colonoscopy and/or Endoscopy still might not find some of the root causes to IBS.

So unless everything else has been truly exhausted, keep fighting the good fight. You’re worth it.

Okay, now here are 7 root causes of IBS.

(All 7 of these were taken from the Gut Health Intensive at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.)

7 Root Causes of IBS

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7 Root Causes of IBS agutsygirl.com #ibs #irrritablebowelsyndrome #gut

Below are the 7 root causes of IBS. I’ve written about almost all of them so below the short statement found for each will be extra resources and articles I’ve written if you want to dig deeper.

  1. SIBO

    I have written at length on SIBO because I had it. SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The condition shares many IBS symptoms that get far worse when undiagnosed. 

    1. Reasonable SIBO
    2. 8 SIBO Signs and Symptoms
    3. Buyer’s Guide to SIBO Tests
    4. What is Hydrogen Dominant SIBO
    5. What is Methane Dominant SIBO
    6. ….and literally, if you just search ‘SIBO’ in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll find many more articles.
  2. Food intolerances

    A food intolerance is exactly as it sounds, being intolerant to a specific food or food group. When this happens, you might become constipated, have gas, bloating, diarrhea, and more. For example, you’ve been diagnosed with IBS, but you know for sure that every time you have dairy, you bloat and get gassy. This is a food intolerance (which is different than an allergy). However, I will also argue that a food intolerance is the manifestation of another underlying issue. In other words, if your medical provider says, “Your constipation is because you can’t tolerant FODMAP foods,” then it might actually be SIBO. If you test positive then to SIBO and follow a SIBO-healing protocol, you are likely to be able to tolerate FODMAP foods again.

    1. How to Food Journal to Identify Food Intolerances
    2. Food Intolerance or a Leaky Gut
    3. Food Sensitivity Health Tests from Home
  3. Leaky gut

    I wrote a book on leaky gut so I know a thing or two about it. To put it simply, leaky gut is when the junctions which are supposed to be tight lining the intestines loosen, causing food particles that should not seep through to seep through. And when they do, all sorts of problems can arise. But again, though this is a “root cause” it’s “technically” not much different than IBS. Leaky gut is actually leaky gut syndrome, so again, a collection of symptoms with an origin that cannot be identified. 

    1. Leaky Gut Meal Plan (4 Weeks to Detox and Improve Digestive Health)
    2. 28-Day Leaky Gut Email Series Course
    3. How Long Does it Take to Heal Leaky Gut
    4. Leaky Gut Causes
    5. 31 Specific Things to Heal a Leaky Gut
    6. Leaky Gut Syndrome
    7. ….and just like with SIBO, if you search ‘leaky gut’ in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll find many more articles.
  1. Parasites

    According to the CDC, “A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. There are three main classes of parasites that can cause disease in humans: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites.” Because I have not written much on parasites, except for as they relate to children’s gut health, I’ll share a couple articles others have written.

    1. Intestinal Parasites in Children
    2. 10 Signs You May Have a Parasite (Dr. Amy Myers)
    3. Know More about Parasitic Worms Present in Humans (The Science Times)
    4. All About Parasites — Best Supplements for Parasites (Episode 93 with Allyssa LaScala)
  2. Yeast overgrowth

    Candidiasis refers to an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. In other words, you’ll either hear “yeast overgrowth” or “Candida overgrowth.” Candida is a genus of yeasts that is typically found in small amounts in the mouth and intestines and on the skin. When it grows uncontrollably, it’s known as a Candida Overgrowth and is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans. Because I have only written one article about this as well, I’ll link to a couple more from others.

    1. Grocery List for the Candida Diet
    2. SIBO, SIFO, and Candida Overgrowth
    3. 10 Signs You Have Candida Overgrowth & How to Eliminate It (Dr. Amy Myers)
    4. Candidiasis (Harvard)
  3. Zinc or magnesium deficiency

    Both zinc and magnesium are essential minerals; and both are common deficiencies in those with gut issues. 

    1. Magnesium, Constipation and Digestion
    2. Leaky Gut Supplements
    3. Why Zinc is Important for Gut Health
  4. Heavy metal toxicity

    This one is not a common diagnosis, but when it’s not, wreaks havoc on the body. The NIH states, “Heavy metal poisoning refers to when excessive exposure to a heavy metal affects the normal function of the body. Examples of heavy metals that can cause toxicity include lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium. Exposure may occur through the diet, from medications, from the environment, or in the course of work or play. Heavy metals can enter the body through the skin, or by inhalation or ingestion.” Since I have yet to write on this topic, here a couple from others who have:

    1. Back to Basics: Metals Toxicity
    2. Heavy Metal Poisoning
7 Root Causes of IBS agutsygirl.com #ibs #irrritablebowelsyndrome

“Just” IBS + “Just” the Root Cause?

And here’s the truth, “magically” signs and symptoms disappear one-by-one when a real diagnosis is made, and healing protocol is implemented.

But here’s another truth: Many of the above go hand-in-hand. 

Sometimes they will go hand-in-hand and are coupled with something even more severe – an autoimmune condition, Cancer, etc. 

In other words, a typical timeline could go like this:

  1. IBS diagnosis.
  2. Things become worse, so you keep digging and go back in for more testing.
  3. Then, you are diagnosed with one of the above. And this time, you feel more relieved than ever. So you get serious about the xyz healing-protocol.
  4. You’re feeling far better, but something is still off.
  5. So you head back to the doctor with notes, thoughts, and ideas about what else might be happening based on symptoms (and that tight journal you’ve been keeping!)
  6. Eventually, you find out it was something even bigger. While there might be no cure for that something bigger, the treatment plan keeps you healthy, well, and vibrant and in remission. And now you know that your true root problem was contributing to the SIBO which made your gut leaky and body intolerant to all sorts of foods.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

And in the end, if it is “just” IBS. Well, then I believe you.

Your struggle is very real. You are not making it up, and it is not “all in your head.”

Those of you who are constantly and consistently being told these lies…..you are the women I adore helping most. 

Because nothing is ever “just.” And I will fight for that and for you until the day I die.

I believe you can (and should) get started on your gut healing journey today. Grab ‘A Gutsy Girl’s Bible: a 21-day approach to healing the gut’ on Amazon HERE. Or, download your copy instantly….

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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

  1. Beginner’s Guide to Digestive Health Testing
  2. Two Main IBS and IBD Triggers
  3. Diarrhea vs Constipation


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