I'll be brief, I hope my thoughts/experiences might help others.
Since IBS is a nebulous condition, what I advise applies to me specifically, but a brief history.
Contracted a parasite abroad 3 years, took 6 months for me to report and get diagnosed.
Symptoms: fatigue, acid reflux, bloating, lots of wind, puffy face, lowered bowel control, undigested food in stool.
Took high dose of strong gut antibiotics
Suffered extreme microbial imbalance/diarrhea
Advised by Doctor to eat natural yoghurt and prescribed proton pump inhibitors (a drug which reduces acid production)
Slowly recovered over 12 months but never fully back to full health
One weekend I developed flu like symptoms followed by rapid decline in energy and increased bloating, puffy eyes which were hard to open in the morning and genereal foggyness.
Doctor tested for Celiac; B12 uptaker deficiency; ulcers.All these came back negative
Very low immune system with long protracted minor illness like colds and sore throat (advised by doctor that there were a lot of potent bugs in the community)
I asked Dr about the possibility of wheat intolerance- and this was dismissed since my Doctor believes Celiac is the only gluten related illness out there (yet emerging evidence contradicts this nature.com/ajg/journal/vaop...
I also advised the Doctor that had I read about candida yeast, this was also dismissed and being fan of the Scientific approach, I also dismissed all references to Candida.
In subsequent visits I was told I just have IBS and need to make lifestyle changes, if symptoms persist I could be put on a CBT course but waiting lists were long.
Finally I self diagnosed gluten and lactose intolerance VIA an exclusion diet, life then became more bearable
Due to faith in medicine and science, resisted possibility of candida
Life bearable, but still fatigued and not myself, loss of contact with friends. Very limited exercise due to fatigue, yet lots of injuries (tennis elbow, rotator cuff, Achilles tendeopathy)
Finally tried anti candida measures (low carb, low sugar, non lactose based prebiotics, herbal remedy)
Positive results and still mid course.
I don't believe in the candida phenomenon, I believe that I have a microbial imbalance and it is such imbalances that candida diets are addressing.
* Either modern medicine is behind or the teaching Doctors in relation to the power of microbes is sadly lacking
* Harried GP's are reluctant to pursue anything which can't be easily tested, some are enlightened ("we just don't know enough") and some are plain arrogant tossers who would have been scoffing in the face of Ignatz Semmelweis back in the 1840's when he was imploring Doctors to wash their hands between patients (http://www.freakonomics.com/2009/11/11/let-me-see-you-wash-your-hands)
* Only deviate from the GP once they have no more suggestions for you- they are still highly skilled professionals who have a feel for patients and lots of experience
* In my case stress is a factor, however it is my belief that the human body is remarkably robust and should be able to withstand quite a lot of stress. It is my belief that IBS is an indicator of other under lying problems which reduces the bodies capacity for dealing with stress.
*I should have probably tried to see a nutritionist sooner (via bda.uk.com/) once my GP had run out of ideas
* Be wary of the internet for information as it full of absolute guff
* Gut problems probably represent a significant long term threat to our health therefore lifestyle changes should be seriously considered (diet, stress etc)
Although I'm gettig better I really can't face slipping back again so I've ordered these two books:
J.O. Hunter , Elizabeth Workma
Solve Your Food Intolerance
Dr. John Hunter
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
In the long term I would be interested to know why healthy gut flora decline over time (if anyone has any ideas!?)