Gut health IBS IBD

Functional Digestive Disorders VS IBS VS IBD

I’m going to be educating everyone all about how to manage and address functional gut issues that honestly just debilitate you and make you feel like crap. And I’m here because I am a specialist in digestive disorders, because I have personally experienced them myself, going through IBS and SIBO and tons of different types of food intolerances which really made it difficult to live my life. And so I went through the process of educating myself, getting my master’s degree in nutrition and my certified nutrition specialist credential to be able to offer other people in the world the same exact beneficial modalities that helped me heal.

Now, as a Disclaimer, anything that I say in this blog is definitely not to replace any of the advice given by your professional physician or by any other healthcare provider.

Now today I want to talk all about the difference between functional digestive disorders, IBS and IBD. Right. These are different diagnoses. And it’s important to understand the difference because a lot of people out there are starting to self diagnose. And I have patients all the time that think they have IBS when they really have a functional digestive disorder.

And sometimes they actually have something more severe like IBD. And so I want to go through and explain the differences that really help you understand and differentiate between the three.

Functional Digestive Disorders

Now, functional digestive disorders encompasses the typical symptoms that most people experience. Right. Like bloating diarrhea or even just loose stools or constipation or the incomplete evacuation or even just acid reflux and indigestion.

These are all considered symptoms of a dysfunctional gut, right. And so when it happens on a chronic basis, it’s happening every day or multiple times a week. And you’re realizing that something is definitely wrong, then that’s when it becomes a functional digestive disorder. Right. Something within the function of your digestive system is off.

And so now you’re developing these particular symptoms on a regular basis. Now, when this is something that happens acutely, meaning really fast, really short period of time or out of nowhere, then it can be something more serious. So it’s definitely important to get a second opinion from a doctor. If this is something that’s happening to you within the last week or month, it’s something that you should definitely get evaluated because they can be serious symptoms, especially in an acute setting. Now once it’s become a chronic issue, typically it’s reflective of something going on within the digestive tract, whether that is dysbiosis, food sensitivities, maldigestion, or stress.

It’s really a matter of getting down and dirty and evaluating what’s going on so that you can figure out how to restore the function of your gut.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Now, IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. And it’s a little bit different than functional digestive disorders because it also involves pain, pain that is either relieved or made worse by bowel movements such as diarrhea or constipation or both. Right.

And so it’s really taking a functional digestive disorder like diarrhea or constipation and adding a really intense stomach pain. And it usually involves some kind of issue with the way that that individual’s pain perception mechanisms are working. And that could be an issue with the brain, and that could be an issue with neurotransmitters like serotonin in the gut. It could also be genetic. It could also be just a number of different inflammatory factors.

And so it’s important to understand that difference because those individuals really need a specific protocol of trial and error to figure out what’s causing that issue with their pain perception. And so anybody that is experiencing a functional digestive disorder, like chronic diarrhea or chronic constipation without pain, technically does not have IBS. They just have an issue within their digestive system that’s producing those types of symptoms. And it’s not necessarily considered an irritable bowel. So that’s the difference between IBS and functional digestive disorders.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Now, for IBD, IBD is a much more severe condition. It stands for inflammatory bowel disease, and this is when the gut is actually experiencing an inflammatory reaction, meaning the immune system is overreacting to something. And that could be an infection that could be just from genetics and having a poor immune system off the bat. It could also be a combination of different factors, from toxicity to dysbiosis to genetics to stress and different food sensitivities. But either way, it produces this really strong inflammatory reaction that begins to take a toll on the epithelial layer that causes damage in their actual gut tissue.

And so people with IBD really struggle to absorb nutrients, and they also experience tissue damage. And so they’ll have more severe symptoms like really chronic severe diarrhea or even blood in their stools. They might lose weight and they might experience a lot of fatigue. And so people that are at this point really need to make sure they go see a doctor and screen for IBD with a colonoscopy or an endoscopy and see if they have any of that facilitate damage or if they’re experiencing the signs that really would point to inflammatory bowel disease, because in that situation, you really need to address it with a very particular antiinflammatory protocol to make sure that you alleviate those symptoms without making them worse.


So I hope that explains the differences between functional digestive disorders, IBS and IBD, whereas one is really just more about chronic digestive issues, one involves really intense stomach pain, and then one is more severe, involving really serious issues that need a diagnosis in a specific protocol in order to resolve it.

Just remember that this information is not meant to diagnose. It’s just there to give you information about what could be going on in your body so that you can go get the best support that you need. Now if you’re interested in learning more about functional digestive disorders, which is my specialty, then I would highly encourage you to check out my website where you can find my webinar and ideally watch that so that you can get more information about what different causes and issues could be happening behind each functional digestive disorder order and also my best recommendations for diet supplement and lifestyle strategies to be able to support that and to get some relief now.

Thank you so much for reading!


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