IBS is the most common gastro-intestinal disorder reported to GPs and up to 50% of referrals to gastroenterologists are for IBS (see research 11). It has been proven that stress can exacerbate this unpleasant condition (see research 22) and there are usually underlying problems in the digestive tract as well. Most of the patients seen at the Gastro Clinic have had problems with their digestive system for many years. Our approach to IBS is to identify the underlying problem, which is fuelling the IBS, and this is done through non-invasive testing in a medical laboratory. Herbal Medicine along with dietary modification is usually very effective at helping this condition and attains a very high rate of clinical success measured by our outcome studies. Patients may suffer recurrent abdominal pain, allergies and severe bloating with diarrhoea and/or constipation. It is more common in women, especially between ages 20-40 years. Symptoms include pain low down on the left and/or right of the abdomen. There is often discomfort just below the stomach. There are usually loud bowel sounds and patients can experience nausea and gas. There is usually quite a dip in energy as well, with patients feeling tired a lot of the time. Depending on the test results, a herbal prescription is formulated to meet the patient's unique needs. Every patient's experience of IBS is different so a prescription tailored to the patient's condition works far better than a one-size-fits-all approach. This is an inflammatory condition so it is very important to address the source of the inflammation rather than merely mask the symptoms. On average and in our experience, it usually takes around 7-10 days to start noticing an improvement and herbal medication continues until the underlying issues are resolved with retesting, where necessary, to check progress. A special nutritional programme, specifically designed for the patient, is an important part of this approach.
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