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Post Infectious IBS

Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) is a condition that develops after an acute gastrointestinal infection, such as bacterial or viral gastroenteritis.


Here are some key points to understand about post-infectious IBS:

  • Onset: PI-IBS typically occurs following an episode of acute gastroenteritis. The infection triggers an inflammatory response in the gut, leading to changes in gut motility, sensitivity, and microbiota composition, which can contribute to the development of IBS symptoms.

  • Symptoms: PI-IBS shares similar symptoms with other forms of IBS. Common symptoms include abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, altered bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or both), and a sense of incomplete bowel movements. The severity and duration of symptoms can vary among individuals.

  • Diagnostic Criteria: To diagnose PI-IBS, healthcare professionals often use the Rome criteria, which are clinical guidelines for functional gastrointestinal disorders. The criteria involve evaluating the presence of specific symptoms and ruling out other potential causes.

  • Duration: PI-IBS is characterized by symptoms persisting beyond the acute phase of the initial infection. Typically, symptoms may begin within three months of the infection and persist for at least six months.

  • Mechanisms: The exact mechanisms behind PI-IBS are not fully understood. However, it is believed that the initial infection leads to changes in the gut-brain axis, gut motility, intestinal permeability, and gut microbiota, which can contribute to ongoing symptoms.

Did you know?

After an episode of acute gastroenteritis or other gastrointestinal infections, some individuals may develop PI-IBS. SIBO, on the other hand, refers to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.

While the two conditions can occur independently, some studies suggest that there may be an association between PI-IBS and the development of SIBO.

If you have experienced the onset of IBS symptoms following an acute episode of gastroenteritis, it may be worth considering getting tested for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)


How Can We Help You

Our approach to post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) involves addressing the underlying factors contributing to symptoms and supporting the body's natural healing processes.

Here are key components of a functional medicine approach to PI-IBS:

  • Comprehensive Assessment: A thorough evaluation is essential to understand the individual's medical history, symptoms, and potential triggers. This may involve reviewing the history of the initial infection, assessing gut health, considering nutritional status, evaluating stress levels, and identifying any additional underlying imbalances.

  • Gut Microbiome Optimisation: Since alterations in the gut microbiome are often observed in PI-IBS, a functional medicine approach may focus on optimising the balance of beneficial bacteria. This may involve targeted probiotic therapy, prebiotics, or dietary changes to support a healthy microbial environment in the gut.

  • Elimination Diet: Implementing an elimination diet can help identify specific food triggers that may worsen symptoms. We may guide the individual through an elimination phase, followed by a systematic reintroduction of foods to identify problem foods and develop a personalised dietary plan.

  • Nutritional Support: Ensuring optimal nutrient intake is essential for gut healing and overall health. Nutritional recommendations may include anti-inflammatory foods, adequate fiber intake, healthy fats, and appropriate hydration. Specific supplements or nutrients may also be suggested based on individual needs.

  • Stress Management: Stress can significantly impact gut health and trigger symptoms in PI-IBS. Implementing stress management techniques, such as mindfulness practices, relaxation exercises, or counseling, can be beneficial in managing symptoms and supporting overall well-being.

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, and maintaining a balanced daily routine, can contribute to better overall health and potentially improve PI-IBS symptoms.

  • Individualised Treatment Plan: We understand the uniqueness of each individual, considering their specific needs and circumstances. Treatment plans are tailored to address the individual's symptoms, triggers, and underlying imbalances to promote healing and symptom relief.

  • Ongoing Support and Monitoring: Regular follow-up visits with us to provide ongoing support, monitor progress, adjust treatment as needed, and address any emerging concerns or challenges.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start in addressing your gut symptoms, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is here to help you navigate through the confusion and develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

We have experience in uncovering the root causes of gut issues and can guide you towards optimal gut health. Contact us today to begin your journey towards better digestive well-being.

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