5 Root Causes Of IBS

5 Root Causes Of IBS

Even though it can happen to anyone, IBS is a serious women’s health issue—affecting more women than men and even leading to increased procedures like hysterectomy or ovarian surgery. 

IBS is called a functional digestive disorder because it disrupts gut function without any detectable changes in structure—through exam, imaging, or even a microscope. 

That makes it tricky for doctors to treat because they don’t see anything physically wrong. But anybody with IBS knows that it can tell you how stressful the symptoms can be. 

➡️ Gas

➡️ Bloating

➡️ Cramping

➡️ Constipation

➡️ Diarrhea

➡️ Bowel Urgency

➡️ Pain 

Here are the basics on IBS:

📋 Conventional knowledge says that IBS is caused by changes in the function of nerves and muscles that regulate sensation and gut motility. 

💊 Even though some medications have been approved to manage IBS symptoms, none of them work for everybody. 

🌱 Functional medicine looks deeper to understand WHY those functional changes are happening. Because we want to address the root cause. 

Do you think you should settle for a diagnosis of IBS and just deal with it? 

👉 I don’t think so. 

The only thing an IBS diagnosis tells you is that you have digestive issues that haven’t been explained yet. 

📋 With testing and assessments that most conventionally trained doctors aren’t using, we can dig deep to uncover issues that may be contributing to the symptoms of IBS.

Digestive Labs

Here are 5 common root causes underlying IBS to consider:

1️⃣ Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Statistics are all over the map on this one, but the most recent data showed that about 35% of people diagnosed with IBS test positive for SIBO. That’s more than 1 in 3.  

2️⃣ Gut Infections

Parasites, bacteria, or yeast infections can all disrupt gut health. A Mayo Clinic review found that 1 in 9 people who experience food poisoning go on to develop IBS.

3️⃣ Leaky Gut

‘Leaky gut’ (not a real medical term) means there’s a breakdown in the barrier of the intestinal lining. It’s linked with inflammation and gut issues. 

4️⃣ Food Sensitivities

The most common foods to aggravate IBS are those high in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs), but other foods can trigger problems in specific individuals. 

5️⃣ Stress

The gut is undeniably linked to the brain (ever heard of the gut-brain axis?). IBS is commonly linked with anxiety, depression, and high stress. 

Could more than one of these issues be going on at the same time? 

Absolutely ✅

Do we have natural approaches to address each of these underlying causes specifically and uniquely? 

Yes ✅

Functional medicine excels when it comes to making sense of and improving gut health. 

If you are struggling with IBS or other digestive issues and are looking for personalized guidance, I invite you to take advantage of a Free Session with Dr. Ryan. During this session, you will receive a Free Digestive Blueprint outlining the exact next steps you need to take for your gut health. Don’t let digestive issues hold you back any longer – take control of your well-being and embark on a journey towards optimal digestive health. Schedule your Free Digestive Blueprint Session with Dr. Ryan here and start feeling your best now.


Staller KD. Continuing Medical Education Questions: January 2021. Am J Gastroenterol. 2021; 116: 16. [link]

Shah A, Talley NJ, Jones M et al. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Case-Control Studies. Am J Gastroenterol. 2020; 115: 190-201. [link]

Klem F, Wadhwa A, Prokop LJ et al. Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome After Infectious Enteritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Gastroenterology. 2017; 152: 1042-1054. [link]

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