Dr. Taylor Green N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
4 min|Dr. Taylor Green

Navigating IBS: Uncovering the Root Cause When You're Feeling Stuck

Health, Gut Health
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a multifaceted condition diagnosed on a constellation of symptoms such as excessive chronic bloating, gas, abdominal cramping & pain, nausea, and altered bowel habits. It is considered a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning a diagnosis reached by ruling out other conditions such as Celiac disease, Crohn’s, colitis, GERD and pancreatitis. IBS is not just a disorder of the bowels, but encompasses a broader range of symptoms that may manifest as anxiety and/or depression, disrupted sleep patterns, joint discomfort, skin complaints, and hormonal imbalances.

Those with IBS often feel deflated, left with limited treatment options. A naturopathic perspective delves deeper into the root causes, viewing IBS as a reflection of the intricate connections between various body systems, such as the gut-brain axis (think stress hormones) and microbiome state. It recognizes that each person's experience of IBS is unique, with different triggers, symptoms, and underlying causes.

Let’s dive into the possible underlying factors associated with IBS..

Dysbiosis: Individuals with IBS often have alterations in the diversity and abundance of gut bacteria. There may be an overgrowth of potentially harmful bacteria or reduction in beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. The presence of parasites or yeast overgrowth may also be to blame for symptoms.

Gut-Brain Connection: The gut microbiota plays a crucial role in bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain. This is known as the gut-brain axis. Imbalances in the gut microbiome can dysregulate this axis, leading to alterations in neurotransmitter signaling, immune response, inflammation, and visceral hypersensitivity (increased pain perception), all of which are implicated in IBS.

Intestinal Inflammation: Low grade inflammation of the gut mucosal lining is often present in those with IBS. This can be a result of food allergies or sensitivities, environmental toxins, bacteria, yeast/candida, parasites, chronic stress and certain medications. Long term inflammation can lead to a compromised intestinal lining, or ”leaky gut”.

Altered Gut Motility: Normal gut motility involves rhythmic wave-like contractions that facilitate the movement of food through the digestive tract for proper breakdown and absorption. Constipation indicates slower gut motility, while diarrhea is rapid movement. Dysbiosis and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), gastroparesis, medications, stress and hypothyroidism can all disrupt gut motility, leading to abnormal bowel movements and discomfort.

Insufficient Enzyme Production or Activity: Without adequate digestive enzymes released by the stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder, food entering the GI tract cannot be properly broken down and absorbed. Undigested food compounds can then ferment in the gut, creating gas and bloating. Moreover, the natural antimicrobial properties of stomach acid and bile aid in regulating the balance of good and pathogenic microorganisms in our gastrointestinal tract. Nutrient deficiencies, some medications like PPIs, hormones and stress can influence levels.

Stress: We have long known severe, prolonged, or unmanaged stress can intensify symptoms of IBS. Elevated stress hormones, such as cortisol, can decrease digestive capacity by reducing digestive enzyme levels, upsetting gut motility, and altering levels of healthy gut bacteria. Stress can come in many forms - mental, emotional, and physical.

How a Naturopathic Doctor can help to uncover causes & finally find relief..
  • Food sensitivity testing or temporarily modifying the diet can help to identify foods contributing to symptoms and causing inflammation.
  • SIBO Breath Testing and Comprehensive Stool Testing to rule out intestinal bacterial overgrowth, the presence of pathogenic bacteria, parasites, yeast/Candida, and assess digestive capacity, inflammation, and levels of healthy gut bacteria.
  • Heal gut inflammation using targeted nutrients and herbs such as turmeric, L-glutamine, and omega-3s.
  • Restore your microbiome with appropriate types of fiber, antioxidant rich foods, specific probiotics (type of strains matter and varies from patient to patient!), and postbiotics.
  • Symptom relief while addressing underlying causes using digestive enzyme formulas, soothing herbs such as fennel, peppermint, licorice and ginger, magnesium, and abdominal massage.
  • Working on stress management, hormones & sleep through testing if needed, IV therapy, breathwork, acupuncture, and lifestyle counselling.
A naturopathic approach to IBS offers holistic & comprehensive strategies that seek to heal the gut, restore balance, and improve quality of life. It underscores the importance of a personalized treatment plan, recognizing that each journey towards gut health and overall wellbeing is as individual as the person experiencing it.

Book an appointment with Dr. Taylor Green
 at Integrative to discuss your gut health concerns and start uncovering your path to wellness today.



1. Barbara, G., Cremon, C., Azpiroz, F., & Distrutti, E. (2020). Gut Microbiota, Brain-Gut Axis, and Neurogastroenterology. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 176, 119–136.

2. Camilleri, M. (2019). Leaky gut: mechanisms, measurement and clinical implications in humans. Gut, 68(8), 1516–1526.

3. Murray, M. T., & Pizzorno, J. E. (Eds.). (2013). Textbook of natural medicine (4th ed.). Elsevier.

4. Qin, H.-Y., Cheng, C.-W., Tang, X.-D., & Bian, Z.-X. (2014). Impact of psychological stress on irritable bowel syndrome. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(39), 14126–14131.

Dr. Taylor Green N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR

Dr. Taylor Green

Dr. Taylor Green has always been fascinated by the intricacies of nature, the human body and health sciences. For her, health is not defined by the absence of disease, but the balance between mind, body, and environment.

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