Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract leading to symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. There is no lab test or exam that can be used to diagnose IBS because there are no changes in the tissues- IBS is a result of dysfunction in the digestive tract. While there are many things that can contribute to digestive dysfunction including stress, most patients that I treat with IBS have a combination of food sensitivities or intolerances and dysbiosis which is an imbalance of the healthy gut flora and the potentially harmful gut flora. Oftentimes, flooding the system with healthy bacteria or probiotics is enough to rebalance the flora but sometimes it is necessary to actively kill off the harmful bugs. If you have IBS, try keeping a food diary for 2-3 weeks to see if your symptoms get worse with a specific food. If they do, remove the food from your diet for at least 2 weeks and take a probiotic (kefir is a great food source) to see if you notice any improvement. Determining food sensitivities can often be tricky; your naturopathic doctor can help you figure out if you are reacting to any foods and can advise you on the best way to rebalance your gut flora.