IBS. It is a big problem with a little name, and it is hideous.
I know, I had first hand experience of this horrendous condition for over 20 years and I'm far from being alone.
The current NHS statistics tell us that one in five people in the UK experience it at some point in their life with half that being diagnosed as "having IBS" That's six million people. Despite the prevalence, the current NHS offering of support is distinctly lacking.
People diagnosed with IBS have few options; there is some medication that can be offered but only if you have a specific form of IBS. FODMAP diets can be recommended, but again these only work for a few people and that's the sum total of the NHS offering. Distraught clients often tell me that their Doctor was rude or dismissive adding to their suffering.
From the GP's perspective, I see the frustration, they have waiting rooms full of people with IBS, they have little time and nothing to help, which must be soul destroying.
Having had the privilege of meeting with Senior Consultants about this condition I have learnt the following: IBS lives in the bowel, therefore it is a Gastrointestinal issue, however one of the underlying causes or contributing factors of IBS can be hormonal disturbances, meaning that it can be an Endocrinology issue, but Endocrinologists aren't working with the bowels therefore there is a huge void that isn't being filled by either department.
According to this article in the Daily Mail a new drug is being introduced to people who are "constipation dominant", sadly no new "miracle cure" is on the horizon for those who aren't. The drug, Currently called "Tegaserod" is expected to hit the market in October, it works by stimulating serotonin receptors in the bowel and whilst this sounds like exciting stuff my clinical and personal experience is that IBS is more complex than this.
Other than hormonal disturbances IBS has many other contributing factors such as Lifestyle choices, food intolerance, psychological factors and malfunctioning ICV to name a few. A pill isn't going to sort out that entire list. It might force the bowels to move but it isn't fixing the problem.
Some people's diet can also be a glaringly obvious issue, modern diets are low in the right type of fibre and good fats, processed food is high in sugar, salt and preservatives and that's before we even get started on the "wheat" issue.
And then there is the social aspect, as if griping pain, diarrhoea, constipation, cramping, bloating, nausea and emotional stress weren't enough it's harder to deal with because nobody likes to talk about it, therefore support can be minimal.
Even in IBS awareness month the media wasn't awash with information, the problem is that this is a condition where you can have problems with your poo. This is not sexy to discuss, its not easy dinnertime conversation. So it's kept a bit secret and this can really add to what I like to call the " IBS spectrum of suffering"
It is hard to find celebrities speaking out however, Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon has bravely spoken about her condition but bearing in mind the statistic of one in five people being diagnosed, there must be a lot of people in prominent positions who aren't talking.
IBS needs to be discussed openly, honestly and with no holds barred. It needs to be looked at in the wider context of what stressful lives and high sugar and processed diets are doing to the human body. It cant be looked at from the perspective of a "quick fix pill" but the reality is this is a "functional" disease that doesn't cause the body real harm therefore the NHS cannot and will not spend time, money and energy creating a real and lasting solution.
This is where alternative therapies can be really beneficial.
With kinesiology we look at all of the factors mentioned before, from food sensitivity testing to Ileo-Caecal Valve manipulation and a whole host of other tools and techniques to boot. As such we have huge success with IBS and other digestive issues.
Isn't it time therefore to stop the ridiculous "them or us" stand off between alternative therapies and the NHS and find ways to work together?
Six million people might just thank us for it.
Check out IBS Free Website for more information.