Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS for short, is a condition that many people have heard about. This is because it is a very prevalent disease in various populations around the world. According to statistics from Health Direct, IBS is more prevalent among women than men. Statistics estimate that IBS affects nearly 15% of the Australian population.
The IBS Landscape
IBS comes in several forms. These include IBS-C, IBS-D, IBS-M, sometimes known as IBS-A, Post-Infectious IBS, and Post-Diverticulitis IBS. Each type of IBS comes with its own set of specific symptoms, risks, prevalences, and treatment options. The most common causes of IBS include infection, food intolerance, dietary issues, medications, and emotional stress.
Signs of IBS
While each of the five forms of IBS comes with its own set of symptoms, some of the most common symptoms and signs of IBS that are prevalent across all forms include the following:
- • Nausea
- • Mucus in Stools
- • Abdominal Bloating
- • Sensation that Bowels Are Still Full Even After Having a Bowel Movement
- • Common Alternating Occurrences of Diarrhea and Constipation
- • Abdominal Cramping and Pain
When Should You Seek Help for IBS?
While many of the symptoms of IBS are also associated with other diseases and conditions, if you have one of these symptoms for a prolonged time or are at higher risk of developing IBS, it is vital that you seek medical help immediately and receive a formal diagnosis. If you have one of the symptoms listed above for a prolonged period and it is accompanied by a significant lack of appetite, sudden weight loss, the feeling of dizziness, discomfort within your joints, skin, or eyes, or includes pain that is progressively worsening, you should seek medical help immediately as these could be signs of a severe IBS flare-up.
How Is IBS Diagnosed?
IBS is diagnosed when the criteria known as the Rome IV are met. These criteria include recurrent abdominal pain occurring at least one day a week over the past three months, consistently accompanied by at least two of the following criteria: change in frequency of bowel movements, pain when having a bowel motion, a change in the consistency or appearance of bowel movements.
The Endocannabinoid System & IBS
Plant therapies are believed to help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system. This, in return, may result in viable treatment options for a plethora of diseases, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to a study published in 2010, therapeutic treatments, including those that involve cannabidiol (CBD), may have the ability to regulate bacteria and fungi along with other gut microbes that are thought to be one of the leading causes of IBS. A recent review of clinical research also showed that there is much promise in the area of CBD and THC treatments for IBS patients; these cannabinoids have been thoroughly researched and are attributed to relieving many of the common symptoms suffered by IBS patients, including but not limited to loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Traditional Treatments for IBS
The most common treatments for IBS include medications such as laxatives, antibiotics, nerve pain medications, dietary supplements, anti-diarrheal medication, and gut antispasmodic medications. Other treatments for IBS include self-care aspects such as exercise, stress management, and dietary changes.
Australian Clinical Trials – Plant Therapies for IBS
With a simple internet search, you can find a plethora of anecdotal stories of IBS patients finding relief through plant therapies. So far, the research performed in countries worldwide regarding the use of plant therapies in the treatment of IBS has also shown them to be quite promising.
Emerald Clinics is conducting an open-label observational study with eligible patients with IBS symptoms using medicinal cannabis treatments. Participants are eligible for the study if they are 18 years or older, meet the criteria for IBS of any subtype including IBS with constipation, IBS with diarrhea, mixed type IBS or unsubtyped IBS, have had symptoms for more than 6 months, and consent to participate in the study. To learn more about this registered trial, click here.
To see if you are eligible for plant based therapies, you can book a telehealth appointment with one of our specialist doctors through Cannatrek Access.