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Navigation: Home  > Conditions  > Acid Reflux  > Here

Why IBS Is On the Rise

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By Andrew H. Jardine,
Associate Editor and Featured Columnist


September 12, 2008, last updated June 19, 2016








Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),
Crohn's disease, colitis --these diseases
are on the rise. In the US, it is estimated that over 20 million people suffer
from the conditions characterized by irregular bowel movements,
constipation, diarrhea, intolerance of a range of foods, and vomiting.

These diseases were almost unheard of a generation ago. Why now?

There are several theories. Some doctors believe, wrongly, that it's all in
our heads. Others, having seen the debilitating effects of IBS up close,
know that the condition is real and can be life-wrecking.

The key to why we now suffer so much more from nervous stomachs may
be found in how we are raised. Our intestines are home to many forms of
bacteria. These bacteria are essential to the normal functioning of our
bowels.  They help to break food down, allowing our bodies to absorb the
nutrients it needs.  Think of these bacteria as welcome and essential guests
in our body's home.

However, with IBS, researchers believe, our bodies start to treat these
guest bacteria as hostile invaders. The body then starts to attack them, to
expel them.  It tries to make us vomit them out or expel them through
violent diarrhea.

In other words, our immune system starts to treat them as invaders. Why?



























Some researchers believe the clue comes from our childhoods. Generations
ago, our grandparents and their grandparents were raised more or less
shoeless.  They spent a significant part of childhood running around
barefoot.  As a  result, their bodies became accustomed to hosting many
forms of bacteria. Their bodies learned to not be alarmed at the presence
of bacteria.  

“Almost everybody had worms up until the 20th century,” says Dr. Joel
Weinstock, a lead researcher at the Tufts-New England Medical Center,
Division of Gastroenterology. . “As a result of better hygiene – wearing
shoes, sidewalks – children are growing up without the influence of
worms.”

“My background is in basic immunology, and I’ve studied immune
parasitology, how the host immune system reacts with parasites,” says
Weinstock. “Immunology is an area that is always new, is always exciting.
It’s a very dynamic field. Immunological diseases are on the rise in
industrialized countries, and understanding why this is happening is an
interesting challenge.” Immunological diseases include Crohn’s disease,
ulcerative colitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1
diabetes."


This research on worms such as helminths may provide one explanation for
the increase in immune disorders. Parasitic worms can live in the animal
host’s gastrointestinal tract or bloodstream. To survive within the host, the
worms must interact with and change the host’s immune system.  Because
previous generations of Americans and Europeans grew up on farms or ran
around barefoot more often as children, their digestive tracts grew
accustomed to these parasites.

Our child hoods were different. We grew up in a far more sterile world. We
were taught always to wear shoes outside. We didn't play in dirt. We
played on neat sand boxes in tennis shoes.  We washed our hands with
anti-bacterial soaps.  

As a result of all this hyper-neatness, our stomachs and intestines have
become fussy. IBS, nervous stomachs and a host of other maladies are, in
a real sense, the cost of progress.

So, how do we remedy IBS?   Here is a natural home remedy for IBS. Take
your shoes off. And walk outside in the dirt. Having suffered from IBS for
several years, I can tell you what works for me. It may not work for you.
We have been raised indoors and have developed fussy stomachs and
intestines as a result. So, what I would recommend is walking outside once
a week in your back yard or in a park barefoot. (Read more
natural
remedies for IBS.)

It helps.































































Related Links
Irritable Bowel Syndrome -Foods and Other Remedies That Help
Bowel Movements Indicate Your Health
Top Ten Ways to Detoxify Your Life
Sugar--The Disease Connection
Inflammation and its Role in Disease
Bowel Color--What It Tells You About Your Health
Stop Night Time Leg Cramps
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Researchers now think we need to
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