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Charles - A Case of IBS

by Judith Price(more info)

listed in ibs, originally published in issue 68 - September 2001

Charles had severe digestive problems and pain for some years, which he had been told was irritable bowel syndrome. He had what he called an 'acid stomach', bloating, flatulence and mildly painful diarrhoea. He was quite underweight because he had found that eating caused him severe stomach pain and had become phobic of certain foods. He was eventually diagnosed with Helicobacter pylori.

This bacterium attaches itself to the stomach wall and causes all sorts of problems, notably stomach ulcers. It can cause severe stomach pain and acidity as the body tries to flush out the bacteria. I have encountered several clients with this bacterium who have had gall bladder disease, such as gallstones. Sometimes, other infections such as candidiasis co-exist with it.

The GP prescribed antibiotics for Charles and after completion of the therapy Charles was re-tested and found to be clear of the bacteria. However, he was very demoralized to find that the therapy had little effect on his general health and digestive symptoms. The doctor then prescribed a proton pump inhibitor to suppress Charles' stomach acid. It was at this point that Charles contacted me for advice. I asked how his doctor diagnosed the high stomach acid because I felt that more probably he had low stomach acid after a lengthy infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. I suspected that Charles also had candidiasis and possibly another parasite or bacterium. On this basis, I suggested he have a laboratory stool analysis.

A friend of his who had suffered from a digestive disorder had found this test to be of great help in diagnosing what was wrong.

Charles had been ill for ten years, had tried various diets and wanted to find out exactly what was going on in his digestive tract. He decided to do the test.

The Stool Test Results

I had been correct in my estimation that he had Candida overgrowth and low stomach acid. The other significant revelation was that Charles had a bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. He had a very high bacterial dysbiosis index of 17 out of a possible 20. Other things suggested by the test were:

• Charles quite likely had insufficiency of enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCL);
• His short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were low. These are produced as a result of microbial fermentation of fibre, the undigested carbohydrate part of plant foods. As he had good levels of fibre in his diet and short transit time, I assumed this to be caused by inadequate commensal flora in the gut combined with a fast transit time;
• In particular, butyrate was low. This is vital for the replenishment of the epithelium of the intestine.

Dietary Changes

I explained to Charles that he would need to follow an anti-Candida diet in order to reduce the food available for the yeast. This essentially is a diet where sugars in all forms including fruit, yeast and fungi, alcohol, coffee, tea and dairy products are avoided.

Charles had an excellent diet by most people's standards. He always ate fresh vegetables, fruit and wholefoods. He liked to buy organic food when he could afford to. He had not eaten sugar for many years. He did not drink because he had become intolerant of alcohol and it made him feel unwell. He had also had his amalgam fillings removed some years before in an attempt to resolve his health problems.

I advised him to incorporate certain beneficial foods with antibacterial and antifungal effects into his diet: garlic, onions, leeks, chives, oregano, pau-d'arco tea, and beneficial foods such as cinnamon, turmeric, peppermint, cardamom, dandelion, Aloe vera, coriander, parsley, ginger, olive oil and seaweed. I recommended he have plenty of beans, peas, pulses, lentils, garlic and onions for the high sulphur content, as this is detoxifying. I advised he eat oily fish frequently, at least three times a week, and to supplement with two dessertspoons a day of organic cold-pressed hemp or flax oil. This provides essential omega-3 fatty acids to support the repair of tissues, improve immune function and reduce inflammation. I advised him to avoid fruit for a month but to see if he could reintroduce a little after this time. I also told him that he must drink 6-8 glasses of water a day and to make a commitment to stop coffee drinking completely. I emphasized the effect of fibre in gut motility as well as for soaking up toxic wastes and providing fructo-oligo-saccharides for the friendly bacteria to use to make butyric acid to heal the gut lining.

Nutritional and Herbal Supplements

In the stool test, certain drugs and botanicals were tested for effectiveness against the Candida and the Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Although Charles had wanted to follow a non-drug treatment, he decided to ask his doctor to prescribe Nystatin, which had been shown to be effective against Candida on the stool test. The programme of nutritional supplements and the antiparasitic and antifungal herbs required were beyond his financial capacity as he was unemployed. Charles took the course of Nystatin, which seemed largely ineffective as Charles did not worsen or improve as one would have hoped. He decided to follow a reduced supplement programme that we negotiated and to have an extremely careful and excellent diet.

In the stool analysis, the laboratory had found that his candidiasis was sensitive to garlic, plant tannins and uva ursi. His Pseudomonas aeruginosa was sensitive to plant tannins, uva ursi and oregano. I advised him to take these herbal supplements, as well as digestive enzymes, HCL and pepsin, multivitamins and minerals, extra vitamins C and E, and acidophilus.

The Outcome

After a month or so, his digestion and general health were significantly better. Month by month he improved; his digestion felt better and he had less pain and bloating. He had experienced a severely stressful few years with divorce and money worries; as the months passed, his domestic problems began to resolve. He also met a woman and fell in love, and this had a marked effect on his recovery. I believe that in Charles' case, stress was a major factor in his illness.

Two years later, he has a contented life, with a new wife, child-care issues happily resolved with his ex-partner, and his health enormously improved. He still has to be cautious with certain foods, such as alcohol and sugar, and starts to feel unwell if he does not stick to his healthy diet. I advised him to have a retest to see if his stools were clear but he would not do this because he said he knows he feels better and he knows what to do to stay well. He is much more relaxed about food now and feels more energetic, happy and healthy than he has for many years.


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About Judith Price

Judith Price R Cert NC, ITEC, RIPHH (Hons) trained in Nutrition at the Raworth Centre and Guildford College. She is a registered Foresight Preconception Clinician, and a qualified hypnotherapist, believing that the body and the mind need to be in balance before healing can be fully achieved. She can be reached on Tel: 01424 436587

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