IBS emotive term or truth?
By Dr. von Rosen - article published in the Reform Rundschau 6/2012. Translation by Ute Eden
Oh, how good do we doctors have it sometimes with our diagnosis; when we are stuck and don’t really know how to carry on, we find a new disease. What means new - many new diseases already are very old indeed. They suddenly just have a new name. Over 2000 years ago Hippocrates already knew a lot about very modern disorders and allocated the course of treatment: "Your food shall be your medicine".
So now we have a new invention of an ancient disorder. The very modern disease irritable bowel syndrome. The famous Swedish doctor Axel Munte, published a very interesting book in 1931 "The Story of San Michele". He described a then-fashionable disease of French society namely "Colitis", an inflammation of the colon.
In French society in 1930 the fashionable disease of the fine ladies who had overeaten on cakes and sweets was called "Colitis".
Many ladies in the best circles were glad when they were given this diagnosis. This gave them an ‘alibi’ for all sorts of complaints; which were mainly related to over eating, too much sweets, too much cake and rich evening meals. Of course they didn't want to change their lifestyle when the errors in their diet were pointed out. However, when given the diagnosis "colitis" they were much more willing to adhere to a strict ascetic diet.
"Irritable Bowel Syndrome" (IBS) is nothing more than the former "colitis", an inflammation of the colon. Except that today it is not a fashionable disease of wealthy people, but rather affects everyone, no matter which position in society. This is mainly because today everyone can afford an adequate diet. Cakes, sweets, excessive evening meals and overindulgence are now possible for everyone. It is not a privilege of the rich any more. In recent years this old disease has spread again under a new meaningless name.
So what does ‘Irritable Bowel’ mean? Simply an irritated bowel. In this sense one could also speak of skin irritation, nasal irritation, eye irritation, shoulder irritation, knee irritation, etc.. Though only no one has ‘invented’ those names yet. Perhaps this could be a suggestion for the modern medical illness-viewfinder - as new names require new therapies. And new therapies or so-called ‘innovations’ bring a lot of money into our saggy purses. This is how the economic cycle works. Everyone wants to live and something like an irritable bowel syndrome is just good for business.
Of course I must be a bit more serious now, because there really are a lot of people who suffer from this disorder. Most suffer from severe bloating, frequent diarrhea or constipation, usually feel weak, have stomach pain and almost always a thick coating on the tongue. At times suffer from insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite. Also not rare are either obesity or underweight. The clinical picture is quite diffuse and the usual tests rarely help.
We doctors usually do not ask seriously about the causes, but frequently prescribe a colonoscopy. And immediately afterwards often a gastroscopy because it can not hurt if inspected as well, even though it has not really anything to do with irritable bowel syndrome. On top of this we give medication like cortisone, also because it is the fastest way to calm down the patient. We believe the cause is almost always due to excessive stress, excessive demands on the job, or the popular "bullying". And then there's also the "genes". As the mother, grandmother or aunt also had gut problems.
Our patients are pleased now. Since their symptoms now have a name. Doctors have taken their illness seriously, extensive investigations were made and therapy with medication initiated.
Now the misery often just begins. The prescribed medication is usually only helpful at the beginning and sometimes not at all. Then the cause is certainly due to the "nerves" and the patient is given a sedative or even prescribed antidepressants.
We doctors are very generous in prescribing such drugs. Because then patients complain and whine not quite so much. But real help so far has the patient still not received. That he can’t get with the preceding measures, also because the causes of the disease have not yet been found.
The causes lie, like in the rich French ladies of the late 1800, in over-eating of sweets, cakes and heavy evening meals. So basically nothing much has changed. In the past, these women have moved about very little - just like today. They have made mistakes in their diet and rarely were seriously interested to remedy that - just like today.
In the early days we had little medication, so perhaps a rather strict diet was more likely adhered to. Today, people swallow pills without giving much thought or being concerned about the side effects. Even the modern responsible patient is still passing the responsibility for his health to the doctor. He pays for health insurance. So yes, therefore it is his right to then receive comprehensive medical care. Because it is his right - he does not have to think.
The solution of the "irritable bowel" problem is relatively simple. But it is dependent on the perception and cooperation of the patient. If these two notions are met then you as a doctor just need to do the right tests and inform the patient about his responsibilities and tasks.
However, there is a limitation. Everything is much more difficult when a prolonged colon is present with many loops and turns ("Colon elongatum). The extended colon then leads to extension of the passage time and causes stool delay. This leads more easily to absorption of toxic substances. The patient must often laboriously learn with which foods or intestinal aids he gets along with best. This is often tedious and challenging.
Despite all the problems the most important thing is always a reliable test
for food allergies.
Not conventional medical tests - because they are ridiculous and totally inadequate. But a test carried out with naturopathic methods, e.g. Bio-resonance, kinesiology, blood test or similar. Subsequently the patient must - as difficult as it may seem - try to keep to the test and avoid all foods to which he responded to. Sometimes he must avoid all gluten-containing grains, sometimes all dairy products (lactose intolerance), sometimes all fruits (fructose intolerance), and sometimes all three. The consequent avoidance of many popular foods can be quite difficult. So perseverance is needed to change around the anguish. If the patient assists seriously then you can eliminate the "poltergeist" often in a few weeks.
Due to the sedentary lifestyle gut fermentation problems occur relatively frequently. Especially with a diet high in carbohydrates with relative large amounts of bread, sugar, cereal, potatoes and fruit. Most of these foods are okay. But because we eat too fast and often chew too little, they can quickly move into a state of fermentation.
I elaborated on these problems extensively in my book, "Natural Medicine for Everyone". In his book "Chew yourself healthy" the well-known author Jürgen Schilling (speaker at the Gersfelder Health Days 2012) presents the causes and solutions for irritable bowel problem consequently. Even though many find it difficult to eat slowly, this problem must be solved by everybody themselves. There is no solution on prescription.
Quite frequently we also find that our patients are troubled by “disturbed sleeping places” (geopathic or electromagnetic stress). The self-healing power of these patients is often severely impaired through such disturbances. I have described this problem sufficiently in my book also.
Eating to fast, food allergens and sleeping place disturbances are stressors which are almost never found by orthodox medical doctors. Consequently they can not be eliminated. All drugs prescribed by doctors usually do more harm then they do good. In addition to the irritable bowel damage, significant adverse reaction to drugs often develops, without the patient having received any kind of help. We see such "problematic cases" almost every day in our practice; often with a history of many years of suffering.
Naturopathic therapy or treatment are patients only willing to seek when the suffering has become unbearable enough (the disease become quite severe or lasted a considerable length of time). As it is inconvenient and must be paid for. In contrast, conventional medicine is easy and costs little. Though that thereby the patients get sicker than before - in the long run - recognize only a few. Of course patients first think about convenience and their money and only much later about their precious health. Instead they like to moan when they are not doing so well. Looking for the causes brought on by stress, bullying or their genes. And almost never consider the errors of their own lifestyle.
A 77 year old farmer's wife went for treatment because of stomach problems and knee pain from a knee joint endoprosthesis. She already has an artificial hip and is also overweight. Therefore she has ‘ spent’ much of her basic health already. However, since she has been working in agriculture and got a lot of sun, oxygen and organic foods, she is still reasonably proficient. Her bedstead is fine, but she has a lot of food allergies.
She keeps strictly to the allergy test, even though she can not eat potatoes for several months. After five weeks already had not only her considerable abdominal discomfort disappeared (cramps, restlessness, bowel grumbling, diarrhea and constipation), but also her knee problems. And as a side effect, her lower leg edema which previously needed constant treated with diuretics, had vanished also. Most interesting though is that even her bladder weakness that caused her to constantly wear pads had incidentally also improved.
Thus the alternative treatment of her irritable bowel had some surprising side effects. In addition to the intestinal problems also the knee pain and lower leg edema were eliminated and the bladder weakness improved. More can not be expected. This improvement has now lasted for 2 1/2 years. For this woman the commitment has definitely paid off.
Health is a birth gift that is wasted over the years and decades. Only when the majority of it is consumed, will few of us become aware that there might be more options to maintain health. Only then are most willing to attempt a personal financial effort; even though without a guaranteed improvement or still a cure of their suffering.
Treatment with natural medicine is indeed always right in such cases. However, it depends very much on the skills of each practitioner, whether the therapy is successful. The patient therefore carries a certain risk that he will remain ill, even though he has invested his own money. However he will always recuperate and regain part of his health through a naturopathic treatment. Although, only at the end of the therapy will he know whether the chief complaint - why he sought treatment in the first place - will also significantly improve or even disappear.
Nevertheless, an attempt is almost always worthwhile.
Translation from German by Ute Eden.
Published with permission from Dr. von Rosen