Many IBS sufferers, have what can only be described as a strained relationship with the medical profession. With no known ‘cure’ and very few definitive answers, some IBS sufferers experience a less than satisfactory outcome as a result of their time with a doctor. The net effect is that many will opt to follow a natural route of healing.
We feel it is one of the key issues for any sufferer to wrestle with, a bad experience with either will lead many to draw a line under their experience and decide that there is only one conclusion. Like everything in life, we do not believe it to be that simple. Being dismissive of either could rob you of a treatment that just may help.
Science is slowly coming to terms with IBS. Anyone who has studied or looked into the digestive process will understand that this is one of the most complex processes the body undertakes. Any malfunction in this process may be very difficult to isolate and to diagnose, hence science and medicine has a very difficult job to create a medicinal cure for IBS. Some drugs are available, for example some drugs work on the spasms generated by the gut, however at present most medicine for IBS is very similar to that of the common cold, they treat symptoms rather than cure or prevent them.
With that said, in the last few years two major developments have seen a vast improvement in the way the condition is managed. Firstly the ubiquitous FODMAPs, we have devoted a number of pages to this particular research because its success rates suggest that finally a greater scientific comprehension of the problem may follow. FODMAPs manage the symptoms rather than cure them, however it is a natural approach to treating IBS.
Scientists have also been working on a process to transplant the healthy bacteria of one person into the body of someone who has difficulty generating sufficient friendly bacteria. So far the results have been promising, in what is clearly a fusion between science and nature. This treatment does not involve any synthetically created medicine or unnatural processes.
The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.
Long Term Sufferers
New IBS Sufferers
Life Long Sufferers
Natural medicine is a highly divisive topic. Those who like facts, think it nonsense, those that like to be open minded like to give it a try. That is not to say that all users of natural medicine remain open minded, there are many who take a position regarding natural medicine and do not budge, in the very same way the medical community do not retrench their views.
There have been a number of ‘I told you so’ moments for natural medicine with regards to IBS. Friendly bacteria, largely in the form of Acidophilus has been a feature of natural treatments for IBS going back many years. This goes before the time that it became accepted that it was a key factor in the fight against IBS. By the very same token a number of products have had wildly overblown claims.
The Issue of Proof
The issue in regards to natural medicine relates largely to the issue of proof. UK journalist Ben Goldacre (loathed by Homeopaths and other exponents of natural medicine) makes some salient regarding the use of natural medicine. In particular the need to reign in on some of the wild and wonderful claims that actually put seriously ill people in harms way.
What Goldacre also goes on to say, is that pharmaceutical companies are often no better and that many medical studies are actually horrible flawed. So by no means is the natural health industry any worse than its competitors. This however is not a the key issue, the fundamental problem with natural medicine is the time factor.
If you are following a natural path you must be patient as very few treatments will provide a swift answer to your problems. It is then a fine line between waiting for a treatment to work and acknowledging that it has not. Being able to genuinely know that a product has worked for you is often difficult with such a slow process.
To the anti-science brigade we ask them to look at the average life expectancy to see the good that science has achieved. To the anti-natural therapy brigade we ask you to look at the good friendly bacteria has achieved for IBS sufferers despite years of reticence. To both parties we ask you to moderate your view that there is only one way.
Sadly we can no longer truly trust anyone, we have to make the very best informed decisions we can, and moreover believe what we seen and feel to be true. Frequently science has provided us with dubious results, cash can buy you the conclusion you desire for certain theories. However medicines take years to come on to market and require great tracts of research and can not be so easily dismissed.
We must remember that we are being sold visions by both Scientific and Natural Practitioners, and it is largely not for the good of their own health. When making decisions about what is right for you, always trust your own instinct, their is no right or wrong way for everyone, but there is a right or wrong way for you. This is a very weighty issue, which we have barely touched upon here, please keep you eye out for further articles on this subject.
Many IBS sufferers have had wonderful results from natural medicine, many of at IBS-Health swear by natural healing, so please so not think of us as dismissive. We think that a number of products simply lack the research in the way that ‘Friendly Bacteria’ has received. IBS sufferers have such an array of different symptoms and different things work for different people, so we urge you to let common sense rule. If it works for you, if it alleviates or helps then fantastic, but we must not assume it would work for everyone.
There is only one nature - the division into science and engineering is a human imposition, not a natural one. Indeed, the division is a human failure; it reflects our limited capacity to comprehend the whole.
Bill Wulf quotes