IBS is one of the most common digestion issues we work with in our functional medicine Naperville office. Successful IBS treatment requires a thorough assessment of the various systems of your body so that a comprehensive treatment plan can be created just for you. IBS is a functional gut issue. This means it is diagnosed based on your symptoms; it is not diagnosed by a colonoscopy or “IBS blood test.”

Because IBS is a functional gut problem, it calls for a functional-gut solution. Applying an integrated wellness approach, you can discover why your bowels are not functioning properly and how to restore balance again.

So how do you find a functional medicine doctor who can help you discover why you have IBS and how to reverse it? Well, you could do an online search for a functional medicine doctor near me, but you will also want to spend some time on that doctor’s website so you can gain a better understanding of how they treat IBS.

Not all integrated wellness doctors are the same and you want to make sure you work with someone who is a good match for your needs and has had years of clinical experience working with IBS.

Top 3 Causes

What are some of the most common factors that cause IBS? Let’s look at 3 common areas of dysfunction that may need to be evaluated. You will also see that all 3 of these root causes are related.  Since women are much more likely to suffer with IBS, let’s consider hormones first.


I see many young women in my office who develop IBS after they begin menstruating and I also see many women who develop IBS during perimenopause and after menopause. Then there is large group of women who begin suffering with IBS after they have been on birth control hormones for a few years. So what do all of these women have in common? Significant changes in their hormones! If you suffer with hormonal symptoms or if you are using birth control, then your hormones may be part of the problem. Hormone imbalances can affect the nervous system of your gut and make you more susceptible to food sensitivities through changes in your immune system.

Nervous System Chemicals

Another major cause of IBS is the nervous system. In fact, many of my patients with IBS also have anxiety or depression. For your bowels to work properly, the nerves of your gut and your brain need to produce balanced levels of chemicals called neurotransmitters. In functional medicine we call this the gut-brain connection. Common neurotransmitters produced by the gut and brain include serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA. If your digestive tract cannot maintain ideal levels of these neurotransmitters, it simply won’t function properly. These chemicals are influenced by several factors including; hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation and food sensitivities.


You have probably suspected that diet can play a role in IBS. When I consider diet and IBS I am usually looking at food sensitivities or food allergies. This is where food sensitivity testing can be very useful. Food sensitivity and allergy testing helps you determine which foods to avoid and which foods to eat. Without testing, it can be very difficult to create a diet that works for you. Again, you can do a search online for food allergy testing near me, but you need to work with a doctor who understand HOW to interpret the results and construct an appropriate diet based on your results. It is NOT as simple as avoiding the foods that come up positive on the test. This is a common mistake made by patients and practitioners alike. Food sensitivities and allergies are a common source of inflammation and leaky gut; both of which will make recovery from IBS difficult if not impossible. The inflammation caused by these foods can interfere with hormone regulation and neurotransmitter function.

As you can see, successful IBS treatment often requires the assessment and management of more than just the digestive tract. IBS is not just a bowel problem.

Are you looking for a better solution?

Contact my office and talk to Lisa, she is our functional medicine consultant and she can answer any additional questions you might have.

Our functional medicine Naperville office just might be the place you have been looking for.

I wish you success on your quest for health!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.