Are you wondering why do I have IBS all of the sudden, struggling with digestive symptoms upset stomach, bloating, etc? In this article, we look at how to narrow down where your IBS symptoms are coming from, why you have these symptoms, and what you can do about it.
If you ant to know what to do for sudden IBS, keep reading.
Why Do I Have IBS Suddenly?
Many people with digestive symptoms ask this question. In their experience, they didn't have IBS and then suddenly they have a lot of IBS like symptoms. This creates a lot of questions around why the sudden change and how did this happen? Often times people question their diet if it something they are doing differently. They might think it is a certain food they have become sensitive to, a change in diet, or something their body is reacting to. Because it seems to come on suddenly they think it's something that changed in their body. What can you do to figure this out?
Just like many health conditions, the actual problem typically starts long before you became conscious of it. Prior to having symptoms, there were things happening in your body that you were not paying attention or were happening on a subclinical level (without your knowledge and in the background). When those symptoms do appear, they are more intense and sudden.
In other cases the underlying problem and the symptoms really do come on suddenly. In these cases there is a clear connection to something new happening, such as having a gastroenteritis, some kind of bug, food poisoning, travelers diarrhea, the flu etc. As a side note, a similar phenomenon is occurring with some COVID-19 patients. Not all patients with COVID even have digestive symptoms whereas other people predominantly do have digestive symptoms. The bottom line is, many viruses and bacteria can create IBS symptoms that can be persistent long after an infection has subsided. This is referred to as post-infectious IBS.
Post-infectious IBS is the predominant reason why people actually have IBS. Whether you got IBS all of the sudden or it was gradual worsening of your symptoms over time, knowing why you have it is helpful for treatment. Because post infectious is the most predominant form of IBS, it really doesn't matter if it came on suddenly, over weeks, months, or years. There is an actual test for to determine if you have IBS from an infectious source or not. This test is called IBS smart.
What To Do For Sudden IBS- Testing
Most bacteria that cause IBS create a toxin known as 'cytolethal distending toxin B.' It is referred to as CDTB. When that toxin is secreted your immune system is going to create an antibody against it and that antibody is known as anti-cdtb. As your immune system is attacking this toxin and the bacteria that are present, in some cases, it creates antibodies against important proteins that hold your digestive cells together. There are different proteins that do that but one of the important proteins is called vinculin. When that protein is damaged the immune system can also create an antibody to it, in the process of fighting off the bacteria and CDTB. This antibody is known as anti-vinculin antibody. Because that is part of the proteins that hold your digestive cells together, it can lead to a lot of tissue damage and nerve damage in your digestive tract.
This damage is a key part of the symptoms of IBS. It is this damage and ongoing low-grade infection, that leads to a lot of the digestive symptoms. The ongoing damage also makes the makes it difficult for the body to fully recover and repair from this damage. The test actually looks at the anti-vinculin and anti-cdtb antibody. You can have both positive or one or the other positive. When both of these are positive, it suggests that part of your problem is coming from the damage and part from the infection. If one of them is positive, you may have a different treatment than if both are positive. With the information from this test we can design more targeted treatments.
As I mentioned this post-infectious IBS can come from viruses, parasites, and other sources as well. The test narrows the cause down to bacteria. It also tells us how much damage is occurring in your digestive tract. If the test is negative it does tell us that it's likely not from bacteria. However this is only one protein of many that could be damaged during this process. Simply because the anti-vincilin antibody is negative, doesn't mean you don't have damage. When positive, the test can tell us what's going. However, it can miss some people that have post-infectious IBS for bacterial reasons. It can also miss people with ongoing intestinal damage and their bodies are not making an antibody to this particular protein. The test is only looking for that particular protein. It will only be positive if there is damage to that protein and, more importantly, the immune system is actually attacking that protein. Some people have damage going on but the immune system doesn't attack that protein. Still doing a test like this or something similar, helps us rule things out and narrow down where your treatment focus should be.
It is common for people with IBS to struggle. These emerging tests can really help fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge and pinpoint what's going on in your particular situation. Not all IBS scenarios are the same, most are coming from an infectious source or chronic damage that your body needs help supporting or healing. However, taking antimicrobial agents either antibiotics, anti-fungals, or herbal antimicrobials in a hope to improve things can actually make things worse. In the case that you choose the wrong one, you can make another infections more problematic. If you take an anti-fungal and you have a bacterial issue, it can make the bacterial issue worse and vice versa. This is why it is important to test and narrow down where the problem is coming from.
That should give you a better understanding of what to do for sudden IBS. If you have questions about the content in this article, please ask it in the comment section below.
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