Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also referred to as spastic colon, is a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that occurs in several forms. If IBS is not closely managed, it causes long-term intestinal cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other GI issues.
What Causes IBS?
The primary cause of IBS is unknown, but several factors may play a role in its development. These include:
- Muscle Contractions in the Intestine: Smooth muscle surrounds the intestines and is responsible for moving food through the digestive tract. Individuals who experience strong, prolonged muscle contractions may suffer from gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Comparatively, those who experience weak muscle contractions may struggle to digest food, and this may lead to hard, dry stools.
- Nervous System Issues: Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and intestines may cause the body to overreact to changes in the digestive process. The result may be alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea, accompanied by pain.
Intestinal Inflammation: Individuals who are dealing with IBS may experience an increase in the number of immune system cells in the intestines. This sometimes causes intestinal inflammation and irritation, leading to diarrhea and pain.
- Infection: IBS often develops after an individual experiences gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Additionally, IBS has been associated with pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria overgrowth.
- Gut Bacteria Changes: The beneficial (“good”) bacteria that live in the intestines, play key roles in maintaining gut health and overall well-being. Normally the beneficial bacteria crowds out the pathogenic bacteria, but problems may arise if the pathogenic bacteria begin replicating without restraint.
- Antibiotics: Broad-spectrum antibiotics destroy both pathogenic and beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome, which impedes the normal breakdown of complex foods, and synthesis of vitamins and nutrients. If normal gut flora is destroyed, the gut may become inflamed, irritated and abnormally permeable.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs damage the gut lining. With continued use, the gut lining is unable to repair itself and may become increasingly permeable (“leaky gut”).
Common symptoms of IBS include excess gas, mucus in the stool, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain and cramping.
What Triggers IBS?
There are some notable IBS triggers, including:
Food: Food allergies rarely cause IBS, yet certain foods and beverages may cause an individual’s IBS symptoms to worsen. High fat foods and red meat are harder to digest. Dairy products, citrus fruits, milk, carbonated drinks, and wheat are among the foods and beverages that have been linked to IBS symptoms.
Alcohol and Caffeine: Just one alcoholic beverage can trigger an attack of IBS and caffeine can stimulate your kidneys to release more water into your bladder.
Hormones: Women often are more susceptible to IBS symptoms than men. Also, IBS symptoms in women are generally worse during or around a menstrual period.
Stress: There may be a direct correlation between increased mental/emotional stress and IBS symptoms. Stress does not cause IBS per say, but it can exacerbate symptoms.
There are also personal risk factors associated with IBS, such as:
- Age: People under the age of 50 may be more susceptible to IBS.
- Gender: IBS is more common in women than men.
- Family History: IBS sometimes occurs due to factors in a family’s environment or a combination of a person’s genes and environment.
- Mental Health: Those who are dealing with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders may be at greater risk of IBS
IBS is a health concern that should be addressed as quickly as possible. Failure to do so may lead to weight loss, rectal bleeding, vomiting, persistent pain, and other long-term health issues.
How Is IBS Treated?
Because IBS is not well-understood, there is no surefire cure. In some instances, people use one or more of the following treatments to alleviate IBS symptoms:
- Counseling: Studies show psychotherapy sometimes helps a person modify his or her responses to stress, resulting in a reduction or elimination of IBS symptoms.
- Biofeedback: Biofeedback involves the use of electrical sensors that enable a person to receive information about muscle tension, pain, heartrate, body temperature, and other bodily functions. Then, a person can utilize relaxation or visualization to augment their body’s functioning to address their IBS symptoms.
- Relaxation Exercises: Specific exercises designed to relax muscles throughout the body may help a person minimize stress, and when practiced regularly, overcome IBS symptoms.
- Mindfulness Training: Learning to stay in the moment and avoid worries and distractions may help a person limit stress that is commonly associated with IBS.
Removing certain foods from the diet may alleviate IBS symptoms. Anyone with bloating or gas may want to limit his or her consumption of alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine, raw fruits, and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Some research suggests that gluten found in barley, rye, and wheat may cause IBS symptoms, so avoidance may help.
In certain instances, medications may be used to treat IBS. A doctor may recommend one or more of the following:
- Fiber Supplements: Psyllium (Metamucil) and other fiber supplements help reduce constipation.
- Anti-Diarrheal Medications: Over-the-counter medications like loperamide (Imodium) help treat diarrhea.
- Pain Medications: Pregabalin (Lyrica) and other pain medications help reduce pain or bloating.
Unfortunately, IBS medications may have no effect, causing unwanted side effects, or causing symptoms to get worse. Many doctors and patients have reported success with bovine colostrum, a safe, effective, and all-natural alternative to traditional IBS medications.
Bovine Colostrum for IBS: Here’s What You Need to Know
Colostrum is the “pre-milk” a newborn receives from its mother. Colostrum is a rich combination of vitamins, minerals, immunomodulators, growth factors, and other health-enhancing nutrients that promotes optimal growth and development in newborns. Beyond infancy, bovine (cow) colostrum is the only natural remedy proven to help people eliminate intestinal pathogens and manage chronic gut infections. Simultaneously, colostrum promotes the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria for good digestive health.
The immunomodulators that destroy gut pathogens and help the immune system modulate inflammation include:
Antibodies: Neutralize pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Antibodies help protect the GI tract against both enteropathic and enterotoxic Escherichia coli, Cryptosporidium parvum, rotavirus, and Shigella flexneri.
Immunoglobulins: Recognize and destroy bacteria, viruses, and other antigens. Immunoglobulins contain antibodies that drive immune response. They are important parts of the immune system and have been shown to help people lower their risk of various autoimmune, infectious, and idiopathic (unknown cause) diseases.
Lactoferrin: Protects the body against bacterial and viral infections. Lactoferrin is an antioxidant that is commonly used to treat intestinal ulcers and diarrhea. It also stimulates the immune system, promotes the growth and development of healthy intestinal bacteria, and regulates how the body processes iron.
Proline-Rich Polypeptides (PRPs): Refer to short chains of amino acids that help stimulate an underactive immune system or suppress an overactive one. PRPs help regulate the thymus gland and eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses. They also deliver an anti-inflammatory effect and help calm the immune system if it overreacts to a harmless substance like an allergen or food.
The growth factors in colostrum help heal damage to the intestinal lining caused by ingested pathogens, gut-damaging medications, herbicides and other toxins. Epithelial (skin) growth factor helps repair the GI lining so that the cellular junctions remain tight, thereby preventing pathogenic microbes, undigested food particles, and toxins from entering the bloodstream via a leaky gut.
Colostrum-LD® is clinically proven to help individuals heal and prevent Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), one of the leading causes of IBS and autoimmune conditions. LGS occurs due to an intestinal tight-junction malfunction. Tight junctions control what passes through the gut wall and either prevents or allows ingested materials, once they are broken down, to enter the bloodstream. But when tight junctions stop working properly, foreign particles can enter the bloodstream. When this occurs, the immune system reacts with an inflammatory response; chronic inflammation due to a leaky gut increases one’s susceptibility to developing IBS and other digestive health problems.
LGS is frequently associated with allergies and autoimmune conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease. Limiting damage and reversing the effects of an autoimmune condition depends on the healing of the gut lining. Whereas most LGS treatments just suppress symptoms, Colostrum-LD® offers a viable long-term treatment option to help bring the body back into balance. It contains high levels of immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, PRPs, and growth factors. Plus, Colostrum-LD® has a protective phospholipid coating that safeguards the colostrum’s healing components from digestion and ensures the delivery of nutrients to the cells in the lining of the intestine.
A preventative dose of Colostrum-LD® is one teaspoon mixed in 6 to 8 ounces of plain water taken twice daily taken on an empty stomach approximately 20 to 30 minutes before a meal. A therapeutic dose of Colostrum-LD® is two teaspoons twice daily taken in the same manner. Colostrum-LD® should be used to compliment a healthy lifestyle that includes stress management. Whether you have IBS or another digestive health issue, people of any age can benefit their “internal plumbing” by using colostrum every day.