The Analyst™

Comprehensive diagnosis of your symptoms

Healthy

  Dysbiosis, Bacterial  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | It can lead to... | Recommendations

 

Altered microbial ecology in the gut may produce disease and dysfunction because of the intense metabolic activity and the antigenic nature of bacterial flora. Bacterial enzymes can degrade pancreatic enzymes, damage the intestinal absorptive surface, release toxins that had previously been bound by conjugation and alter the intestinal milieu in numerous ways, some of which can be easily measured in a properly collected sample of stool. Bacterial antigens may elicit dysfunctional immune responses which contribute to autoimmune diseases of the bowel and of connective tissue. Effective treatment of dysbiosis with diet, antimicrobial substances and bacterial replacement or support must distinguish among patterns of dysbiosis. The failure of common approaches utilizing fiber and Lactobacilli alone is a strong indication of small bowel bacterial overgrowth, a challenging disorder which demands a radically different approach from a dysbiosis of the large intestine. Stool examination generally reflects large bowel bacterial colonization. Other testing means are required for uncovering bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.

Based on available research and clinical data, there are four general causes of intestinal dysbiosis: putrefaction, fermentation, deficiency and sensitization.

  1. Putrefaction
    Putrefaction dysbiosis results from diets high in fat and animal flesh and low in insoluble fiber. This type of diet produces an increased concentration of Bacteroides (sp.) species and a decreased concentration of Bifidobacteria sp. in the stool. It increases bile flow and induces bacterial urease activity. Putrefaction dysbiosis is corrected by decreasing dietary fat and flesh, increasing fiber consumption and feeding Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus preparations.
  2. Fermentation
    This is a condition of carbohydrate intolerance induced by overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and beginning of the large intestine. Bacterial overgrowth here is promoted by hypochlorhydria, by stasis due to abnormal motility, physical/surgical abnormalities, by immune deficiency or by malnutrition. Gastric bacterial overgrowth increases the risk of systemic infection.

    Carbohydrate intolerance may be the only symptom of bacterial overgrowth, making it indistinguishable from intestinal candidiasis; in either case dietary sugars can be fermented to produce endogenous ethanol. Chronic exposure of the small bowel to ethanol may itself impair intestinal permeability. British physicians working with the gut-fermentation syndrome have tentatively concluded, based on treatment results, that the majority of cases are due to yeast overgrowth and about 20% are bacterial in origin. The symptoms include abdominal distension, carbohydrate intolerance, fatigue and impaired mental function.
  3. Deficiency
    Exposure to antibiotics or a diet depleted of soluble fiber may create an absolute deficiency of normal fecal flora, including Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus and E. Coli. Direct evidence of this condition is seen on stool culture when concentrations of Lactobacillus or E. Coli are reduced. This condition has been described in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerance. Deficiency and putrefaction dysbiosis are complementary conditions which often occur at the same time and call for the same treatment regime.
  4. Sensitization
    Aggravation of abnormal immune responses to components of the normal intestinal microflora may contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disease, spinal arthritis, other connective tissue disease and skin disorders such as psoriasis or acne. The responsible bacterial components include toxins which can cross-react with human tissues.
Treatment
Putrefaction dysbiosis is usually managed with a diet high in both soluble and insoluble fiber and low in saturated fat and animal protein. These dietary changes work to lower the concentrations of Bacteroides and increase concentrations of lactic acid-producing bacteria (Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus and lactic acid streptococci) in the colon.

Supplementing the diet with defined sources of fiber can have variable effects on colonic dysbiosis. Insoluble fiber decreases bacterial concentration and microbial enzyme activity. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, tends to elevate bacterial concentration and enzyme activity, at the same time raising the levels of beneficial short chain fatty acids. This disparity may explain the superior effect of insoluble fiber in the prevention of colon cancer.

Dairy products have a variable effect and fermented dairy foods such as fresh yogurt are occasionally helpful. Experimentation and careful observation of symptoms may be required to determine whether these foods will help or harm.

Fermentation dysbiosis, conversely, can cause starch and soluble fiber to exacerbate the abnormal gut ecology. When the upper small bowel is involved, simple sugars are also contraindicated. A diet free of cereal grains and added sugar is generally the most helpful. Fruit, fat and starchy vegetables are tolerated to variable degree in different cases. Oligosaccharides found in some vegetables, carrots in particular, inhibit the binding of enterobacteria to the intestinal mucosa.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Dysbiosis, Bacterial:
 
 
Personal Background  History of/current GI infection/parasite

Symptoms - Allergy

  (High) intolerance of sugars

Symptoms - Bowel Movements

  (Very) frequent stools or normal stool frequency

Symptoms - Gas-Int - General

  General flatulence
  Meal-related bloating

Symptoms - General

  Constant fatigue
 
 

Conditions that suggest Dysbiosis, Bacterial:
 
 
Allergy  Allergy / Intolerance to Foods (Hidden)

Autoimmune

  Ankylosing Spondylitis
 Intestinal overgrowth of an organism called Klebsiella plays a role in determining who is affected by ankylosing spondylitis and how severely. Research by doctors at King's College has uncovered a tissue similarity between this organism and the spine. In an autoimmune reaction to excessive amounts of Klebsiella, the immune system attacks the spine. Controlling this dysbiosis by diet reduces symptoms of the disease.

  Microscopic Colitis (Collagenous Colitis / Lymphoc
 Extensive data from animals (mainly rodents) suggest that colitis is the result of the body's immune system setting up an unusual attack on the bacteria living in the colon. If the balance of less immunogenic bacteria (good bacteria) and more immunostimulatory bacteria (bad bacteria) favors the latter, inflammation can result.

  Crohn's Disease
 During the early 1980s, exaggerated immunologic responses to components of the normal fecal flora were proposed as possible mechanisms behind inflammatory bowel disease. Little progress has been made in confirming or disproving this theory, although bacterial overgrowth of the jejunum has been found in 30% of patients hospitalized for Crohn's disease, in which it contributes to diarrhea and malabsorption. The demonstration of increased intestinal permeability in patients with active Crohn's disease and in healthy first degree relatives suggests the existence of a preexisting abnormality, such as dysbiosis, that allows an exaggerated immune response to normal gut contents to occur.

Elimination diets can induce remission in Crohn's disease as effectively as prednisone. The primary bacteriologic effect of elemental diets is to lower the concentration of Lactobacilli in the stool drastically without altering levels of other bacteria.

  Chronic Thyroiditis
 There is a correlation between abnormally high levels of certain bacteria (Yersinia enterocolitica and Borrelia burgdorferi) in the digestive system and autoimmune hypothyroidism. [Thyroid. November 1, 2004, 14(11): pp. 964-966]

  Autoimmune Tendency

Circulation

  Anemia, Megaloblastic
 Abnormal bacterial populations may consume cobalamin, contributing to B12 deficiency states and resulting in megaloblastic anemia.

Digestion

  IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
 Some bacterial infections of the small bowel increase passive intestinal permeability. IBS has been studied in patients with diarrhea, cramps and specific food intolerances. Abnormal fecal flora has been a consistent finding, with a decrease in the ratio of anaerobes to aerobes, apparently due to a deficiency of anaerobic flora. Previous exposure to antibiotics - metronidazole in particular - was associated with the development of this disorder.

Infections

  Helicobacter Pylori Infection
 The speculation on validity of restoration of the gastric microecosystem has been demonstrated by therapeutic effects of Lactobacilli Bulgaricus (LBG) administration on H. pylori-associated diseases (invitro). But whether Lactobacilli inhibit H. pylori-LPS-induced IL-8 production through blocking H. pylori-LPS-activated TLR4 pathway hasn't been well researched. A research article published on August 28, 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question.

This evaluation of LBG as a probiotic model revealed an important and novel relationship between H. pylori-LPS-activated TLR4 signaling and selective microflora. This report adds to our understanding of the signal pathways in the gastric epithelia involved in inflammatory responses that are regulated by probiotics and pathogenic bacteria composing the gastric microecosystem.

Musculo-Skeletal

  Rheumatoid Arthritis
 Immunologic responses to gut flora have been advanced by several authors as being important causative factors of inflammatory joint diseases. It is well-known that reactive arthritis can be activated by intestinal infections with Yersinia, Salmonella and other enterobacteria. In some cases bacterial antigens have been found in synovial cells and may enter the circulation because of the increased intestinal permeability associated with the intestinal infection. Increased intestinal permeability and immune responses to bacterial debris may cause other types of inflammatory joint disease as well.

Organ Health

  Pancreatitis
 Supplementation with a specific Lactobacillus strain prevented the development of serious complications in people with acute pancreatitis. The group treated with live Lactobacilli had an 85% reduction in the number of pancreatic infections severe enough to require surgery. In addition, the average duration of hospital stay was 36% lower in the treated group than in the placebo group.

Normal intestinal bacteria rapidly disappear in cases of acute pancreatitis and are replaced by potentially disease-causing organisms. Beneficial bacteria can compete with the disease-causing organisms, thereby preventing them from gaining a foothold in the intestines and infecting the inflamed pancreas.

Different probiotic strains have different effects in the body. Therefore, one cannot assume that other commonly used probiotics (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus GG) would have the same beneficial actions as Lactobacillus plantarum 299, used in this study. Supplementing with the appropriate probiotic strain may not be enough, as probiotic organisms must be also supplied with the food they need to thrive. Oat fiber was used in this study. [Br J Surg 2002;89: pp.1103–7]

Pain

  Low Back Pain / Problems
 Autointoxication or intestinal toxemia (self-poisoning) from poor digestion and by and overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria can cause low back pain.

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Eczema
 Fecal and duodenal flora in patients with atopic eczema have been studied. Evidence of small bowel dysbiosis and subtle malabsorption phenomena was found in the majority of cases.

  Adult Acne
  Psoriasis
  Pruritus Ani
 Tetracyclines, erythromycin and other broad-spectrum antibiotics can trigger anal itch by disturbing the normal ecology of the intestines.

Tumors, Malignant

  Colon Cancer
 A putrefaction dysbiosis is accompanied by an increase in fecal concentrations of various bacterial enzymes which metabolize bile acids to tumor promoters.

  Breast Cancer
 Epidemiologic and experimental data implicate putrefactive dysbiosis in the development of colon cancer and breast cancer. A putrefaction dysbiosis is accompanied by an increase in fecal concentrations of various bacterial enzymes which metabolize bile acids to tumor promoters and deconjugate excreted estrogens, raising the plasma estrogen level.
 
 

Risk factors for Dysbiosis, Bacterial:
 
 
Digestion  Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency

Infections

  Parasite Infection
 Small bowel parasites may predispose a person to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.

Supplements and Medications

  (Past) PPI antacid use
 Research suggests that gastritis and ulcers are triggered by bacterial overgrowth, rather than by stomach acidity. Long-term treatment of patients with potent acid blockers (proton pump inhibitors) which produce a more alkaline environment that is unfriendly to acid-tolerant bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, may actually allow the overgrowth of other types of bacteria in the stomach, including Lactobacillus, Enterobacter, Staphylococcus and Propionibacterium which can result in inflammation, gastritis and ulceration. [Gastroenterology, Jan 2002]

  Current/current long term antibiotic use
  Tetracycline use

Counter-indicators:
  Using probiotics
 
 

Dysbiosis, Bacterial can lead to:
 
 
Autoimmune  Ulcerative Colitis
 A variety of bacterial pathogens can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, fever or abdominal pain. In addition, many of these intestinal microbes can exacerbate or cause flare-ups of symptoms in patients who already have ulcerative colitis.

  Crohn's Disease
 During the early 1980s, exaggerated immunologic responses to components of the normal fecal flora were proposed as possible mechanisms behind inflammatory bowel disease. Little progress has been made in confirming or disproving this theory, although bacterial overgrowth of the jejunum has been found in 30% of patients hospitalized for Crohn's disease, in which it contributes to diarrhea and malabsorption. The demonstration of increased intestinal permeability in patients with active Crohn's disease and in healthy first degree relatives suggests the existence of a preexisting abnormality, such as dysbiosis, that allows an exaggerated immune response to normal gut contents to occur.

Elimination diets can induce remission in Crohn's disease as effectively as prednisone. The primary bacteriologic effect of elemental diets is to lower the concentration of Lactobacilli in the stool drastically without altering levels of other bacteria.

  Ankylosing Spondylitis
 Intestinal overgrowth of an organism called Klebsiella plays a role in determining who is affected by ankylosing spondylitis and how severely. Research by doctors at King's College has uncovered a tissue similarity between this organism and the spine. In an autoimmune reaction to excessive amounts of Klebsiella, the immune system attacks the spine. Controlling this dysbiosis by diet reduces symptoms of the disease.

  Chronic Thyroiditis
 There is a correlation between abnormally high levels of certain bacteria (Yersinia enterocolitica and Borrelia burgdorferi) in the digestive system and autoimmune hypothyroidism. [Thyroid. November 1, 2004, 14(11): pp. 964-966]

Musculo-Skeletal

  Rheumatoid Arthritis
 Immunologic responses to gut flora have been advanced by several authors as being important causative factors of inflammatory joint diseases. It is well-known that reactive arthritis can be activated by intestinal infections with Yersinia, Salmonella and other enterobacteria. In some cases bacterial antigens have been found in synovial cells and may enter the circulation because of the increased intestinal permeability associated with the intestinal infection. Increased intestinal permeability and immune responses to bacterial debris may cause other types of inflammatory joint disease as well.

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Eczema
 Fecal and duodenal flora in patients with atopic eczema have been studied. Evidence of small bowel dysbiosis and subtle malabsorption phenomena was found in the majority of cases.

  Psoriasis

Tumors, Malignant

  Breast Cancer
 Epidemiologic and experimental data implicate putrefactive dysbiosis in the development of colon cancer and breast cancer. A putrefaction dysbiosis is accompanied by an increase in fecal concentrations of various bacterial enzymes which metabolize bile acids to tumor promoters and deconjugate excreted estrogens, raising the plasma estrogen level.

  Colon Cancer
 A putrefaction dysbiosis is accompanied by an increase in fecal concentrations of various bacterial enzymes which metabolize bile acids to tumor promoters.
 
 

Recommendations for Dysbiosis, Bacterial:
 
 
Animal-based  Probiotics / Fermented Foods
 One of the ways to help reestablish a balanced bacterial population in the GI tract is the use of probiotics. There are many products on the market containing a variety of organisms and a general approach could be taken using a broad spectrum probiotic formula. However, a better method is to discover the type of imbalance by testing and then supplementing those specific bacteria that are needed. Bringing these normally-occurring bacteria into balance will help prevent the overgrowth of more pathogenic organisms.

Bifidobacteria are the predominant lactic acid bacteria of the colon with a concentration that is 1000 times higher than Lactobacilli. Administration of Bifidobacterium brevum to humans and animals reduces fecal concentrations of Clostridia and Enterobacter species, ammonia, and toxin-releasing bacterial enzymes including beta-glucuronidase and tryptophanase. Bacillus laterosporus, a novel organism classified as non-pathogenic to humans, produces unique metabolites with antibiotic, antitumor and immune modulating activity. This organism is available as a food supplement in the United States. It has been found to be an effective adjunctive treatment for control of symptoms associated with small bowel dysbiosis in a number of patients.

Fructose-containing oligosaccharides (FOS), found in vegetables like onion and asparagus, have been developed as a food supplement for raising stool levels of Bifidobacteria and lowering stool pH.

Botanical

  Grapefruit / Citrus Seed Extract
 Citrus seed extract may be a desirable first line of treatment because of its broad spectrum of antibacterial, antifungal and antiprotozoan benefits. The usual dose required is 600-1600mg per day. Animal studies have shown no toxicity except for intestinal irritation producing diarrhea at very high doses. The mechanism of action is not known; there is no evidence of systemic absorption.

  Robert's Formula
 If inflammation is present from this over-population of harmful bacteria, the regular use of Robert's Formula may help soothe the intestinal lining, and reduce pain.

  Bayberry (Myrica californica)
 Bayberry leaf (or other sources of the alkaloid berberine) appears to kill enterobacteria, yeasts and amoeba. The control of dysbiotic symptoms usually requires several grams per day.

Drug

  Antibiotics
 Antibiotic drugs may either cause or help control dysbiosis, depending upon the drug and the nature of the disorder. Where contamination of the small bowel by anaerobes is the problem, metronidazole or tetracyclines may be beneficial. When enterobacterial overgrowth predominates, ciprofloxacin is usually the drug of choice because it tends to spare anaerobes. Herbal antibiotics may be preferred because of their greater margin of safety and the need for prolonged antimicrobial therapy in bacterial overgrowth syndromes.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs

  Test for Microbiological Imbalance, Stool
 A microbiological assessment of bacterial populations in the GI tract is important for determining the nature of the imbalance when dysbiosis is suspected. Repeat testing should occur after treatment to ensure that the imbalance has been corrected.

The most useful test for large intestine dysbiosis is a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) which includes an evaluation of many different aspects of digestion as well as a report on bacterial growth.

Nutrient

  Kombucha Tea
 The claimed benefits of drinking Kombucha tea may be derived solely from its ability to help improve an intestinal flora imbalance.
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Acidophilus:  A microflora (good bacteria) that acts as a digestive aid and lives in your intestines helping your body fight disease.

Acne:  A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).

Acute:  An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

Alkaline:  A solution having a pH greater than seven.

Anaerobic:  Of, relating to, or being activity in which the body incurs an oxygen debt (for example weight training or resistive exercises) and does not immediately burn off a lot of calories and fat.

Anemia:  A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.

Antigen:  A substance, usually protein or protein-sugar complex in nature, which, being foreign to the bloodstream or tissues of an animal, stimulates the formation of specific blood serum antibodies and white blood cell activity. Re-exposure to similar antigen will reactivate the white blood cells and antibody programmed against this specific antigen.

Antimicrobial:  Tending to destroy microbes, hinder their multiplication or growth.

Arthritis:  Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.

Atopic:  Genetically predisposed toward developing immediate hypersensitivity reactions to common environmental allergens.

Autoimmune Disease:  One of a large group of diseases in which the immune system turns against the body's own cells, tissues and organs, leading to chronic and often deadly conditions. Examples include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, Bright's disease and diabetes.

Bacteria:  Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.

Bile:  A bitter, yellow-green secretion of the liver. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and is released when fat enters the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) in order to aid digestion.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Candidiasis:  Infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any species of candida, usually Candida albicans. The infection is usually localized to the skin, nails, mouth, vagina, bronchi, or lungs, but may invade the bloodstream. It is a common inhabitant of the GI tract, only becoming a problem when it multiplies excessively and invades local tissues. Growth is encouraged by a weakened immune system, as in AIDS, or with the prolonged administration of antibiotics. Vaginal symptoms include itching in the genital area, pain when urinating, and a thick odorless vaginal discharge.

Carbohydrates:  The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Cobalamin:  Vitamin B-12. Essential for normal growth and functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow (red blood cell formation), gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, it prevents pernicious anemia and plays a crucial part in the reproduction of every cell of the body i.e. synthesis of genetic material (DNA).

Colitis:  Inflammation of the colon.

Colon:  The part of the large intestine that extends to the rectum. The colon takes the contents of the small intestine, moving them to the rectum by contracting.

Crohn's Disease:  Chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, and diarrhea. Rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever may also occur. Bleeding may be serious and persistent, leading to anemia.

Diarrhea:  Excessive discharge of contents of bowel.

Duodenum:  First portion of the small intestine between the pylorus and jejunum.

Eczema:  Swelling of the outer skin of unknown cause. In the early stage it may be itchy, red, have small blisters, and be swollen, and weeping. Later it becomes crusted, scaly, and thickened.

Enzymes:  Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.

Estrogen:  One of the female sex hormones produced by the ovaries.

Fatty Acids:  Chemical chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that are part of a fat (lipid) and are the major component of triglycerides. Depending on the number and arrangement of these atoms, fatty acids are classified as either saturated, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated. They are nutritional substances found in nature which include cholesterol, prostaglandins, and stearic, palmitic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosapentanoic (EPA), and decohexanoic acids. Important nutritional lipids include lecithin, choline, gamma-linoleic acid, and inositol.

Gastritis:  Inflammation of the stomach lining. White blood cells move into the wall of the stomach as a response to some type of injury; this does not mean that there is an ulcer or cancer - it is simply inflammation, either acute or chronic. Symptoms depend on how acute it is and how long it has been present. In the acute phase, there may be pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting. In the chronic phase, the pain may be dull and there may be loss of appetite with a feeling of fullness after only a few bites of food. Very often, there are no symptoms at all. If the pain is severe, there may be an ulcer as well as gastritis.

Gastrointestinal:  Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Helicobacter Pylori:  H. pylori is a bacterium that is found in the stomach which, along with acid secretion, damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing inflammation and peptic ulcers. Although most people will never have symptoms or problems related to the infection, they may include: dull, 'gnawing' pain which may occur 2-3 hours after a meal, come and go for several days or weeks, occur in the middle of the night when the stomach is empty and be relieved by eating; loss of weight; loss of appetite; bloating; burping; nausea; vomiting.

Hypochlorhydria:  The condition of having low hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, often the cause of digestive disorders.

Hypothyroidism:  Diminished production of thyroid hormone, leading to low metabolic rate, tendency to gain weight, and sleepiness.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:  (IBS) A condition that causes upset intestines for a long period of time. It is very unpleasant to the sufferer but tends to be harmless and usually does not lead to more serious complaints. The symptoms vary from person to person and from day to day. In order to be diagnosed with IBS, a person must have at least three of the following symptoms: pain in the lower abdomen; bloating; constipation; diarrhea or alternating diarrhea and constipation; nausea; loss of appetite; tummy rumbling; flatulence; mucous in stools; indigestion; constant tiredness; frequent urination; low back pain; painful intercourse for women.

Jejunum:  The lower end of the small intestine.

Metabolism:  The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Motility:  Capacity for spontaneous movement, frequently in reference to the intestine.

Mucosa:  Mucous tissue layer lining tubular structures (nasal passages, ear canal, etc.).

Pancreatitis:  Inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms begin as those of acute pancreatitis: a gradual or sudden severe pain in the center part of the upper abdomen goes through to the back, perhaps becoming worse when eating and building to a persistent pain; nausea and vomiting; fever; jaundice (yellowing of the skin); shock; weight loss; symptoms of diabetes mellitus. Chronic pancreatitis occurs when the symptoms of acute pancreatitis continue to recur.

Parasite:  An organism living in or on another organism.

Placebo:  A pharmacologically inactive substance. Often used to compare clinical responses against the effects of pharmacologically active substances in experiments.

Probiotic:  Derived from the Greek word for "life." Probiotic refers to organisms and substances which contribute to intestinal microbial balance. They are beneficial or "friendly" intestinal bacteria.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Psoriasis:  An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.

Saturated Fat:  A type of fat that is readily converted to LDL cholesterol and is thought to encourage production of arterial disease. Saturated fats tend to be hard at room temperature. Among saturated fats are animal fats, dairy products, and such vegetable oils as coconut and palm oils.

Spondylitis:  Inflammation of one or more vertebrae.

Stomach:  A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.

Thyroid:  Thyroid Gland: An organ with many veins. It is at the front of the neck. It is essential to normal body growth in infancy and childhood. It releases thyroid hormones - iodine-containing compounds that increase the rate of metabolism, affect body temperature, regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate catabolism in all cells. They keep up growth hormone release, skeletal maturation, and heart rate, force, and output. They promote central nervous system growth, stimulate the making of many enzymes, and are necessary for muscle tone and vigor.

Ulcer:  Lesion on the skin or mucous membrane.

Ulcerative Colitis:  (Colitis ulcerosa): Ulceration of the colon and rectum, usually long-term and characterized by rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, frequent urgent diarrhea/bowel movements each day, abdominal pain.

Yeast:  A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.