When you’re trying to figure out what caused your Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may be looking for just one trigger, or defining event. However, neither dis-ease, nor healing is usually that simple. Let’s go through a bit of a process here – stay with me, it’s useful, I promise – and then we’ll get the piece about what factors can cause IBS.

Is it possible to heal from gut disorders – even severe IBS (or widespread Crohn’s like I had)? Absolutely, but you need to realize that holistic healing is a long, winding path and there are no quick-fixes or silver bullets (like in drug therapy) that will get you there.

Start with a good foundation

The initial phase of your healing may take the longest and produce the least ‘visible’ results because you have to build your foundation first. You have to start at the roots of your illness and just like building a house, laying the groundwork and pouring the foundation don’t look like much, but they are of crucial importance. For example, let’s say you were born by Caesarean and never received that crucial first implantation of beneficial gut bacteria (as you were squeezed through your mother’s vagina), or your mother did not have much good bacteria to pass onto you. Then perhaps you were given antibiotics, which was never followed by probiotics.

So now, in addition to not having a healthy microbiome in your gut, you’re actually teeming with bad bacteria and yeast (Candida). Treating and resolving such an infection can take anywhere from three months to a year, but once you get that infection under control you’ll see improvement. By the time you completely eradicate that infection, you’ll probably have automatically eliminated your diarrhea, constipation or spastic colon.

You will also have restored the integrity of your intestinal walls, mucosal lining, and bacterial flora throughout your gut. Therefore, your digestive and absorptive abilities will now be up to normal. Because you have treated your whole body holistically, you will most likely have cleared up other health issues as well. By healing your past and present emotional woundings, you will now be creating a job and relationships that support you as a healthy, vibrant person – not as a sick, wounded person.

The holistic path

Remember that stress is a huge component of IBS and anything that causes you stress is not going to help you heal. Therefore, first and foremost, you must always follow your own gut and introduce change at a pace that feels right for you.

This merges all aspects of your body/self and allows you to tread the pathway of healing together – as a multi- dimensional but unified being, with all parts relating to and supporting each other. It releases you from viewing and treating your body or your intestines as something functioning independently of you and your desires.

Subscribing to the medical model will cause you to view the malfunctioning parts of your body with impatience and annoyance, even anger. If you see your body in this manner, you’ll just want to feed it the right pill and have it perform properly, dammit! But your body is not a machine, you can’t separate the parts from the whole. And what place has healing in the midst of anger and resentment?

The causes of IBS

I believe the causative factors of IBS are varied. If you go back over your own personal health history, I think you’ll find a mix of the following damaging events, that singly or in combination have degraded the health of your gut and immune system:

Vaccination – childhood, adult, flu vaccines, etc. Causes direct damage to b