Treating the Root Cause of IBS: Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth

April 1, 2015 9:31 PM

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Rosie is a 30-year-old banker with very long work hours who came to see me with symptoms of gas, bloating and constipation. She had stomach cramps after eating, stubborn acne and a weight gain of 10 pounds in the last couple years despite a good diet and exercising regularly. A visit to a gastroenterologist had yielded the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) after testing that included an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, blood work, and an MRI -- all of which were essentially normal. Rosie's doctor prescribed Amitiza, a drug typically given for constipation, which caused her nausea and abdominal pain. She stopped taking it after a few days. Rosie expressed her frustration to me: How could everything show up normal on tests? Was this all in her head? She didn't want to take medications that made her feel worse. She was at the end of her rope: She had stopped socializing for fear of the terrible gas pain that came when she ate out and felt depressed and isolated.

Rosie is a typical patient that ends up in my office: a hard-working urbanite with a busy social life who takes her health seriously, always reading and staying educated on the latest in nutrition and wellness. Why, then, could she not control these unmanageable digestive symptoms? Being strict with...

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