What Are the Causes of IBS? Am I at Risk?
The gastrointestinal (GI) condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can affect your day-to-day life in many ways. With effects involving the large intestine, stomach, and other areas of the digestive system, irritable bowel syndrome often creates discomfort and, at times, embarrassing symptoms.
At Connecticut GI, we understand the unpleasant effects this condition can have on your daily health, comfort, and standard of living. Our providers routinely treat IBS in Connecticut patients and are ready to help you to manage its symptoms. Keep reading to learn what might cause IBS and how to determine if you could be at risk.
How does IBS develop?
The precise cause of IBS is unknown at this time. Researchers believe it is the result of interference between the brain (which controls gut function) and the GI system, causing GI specialists to dub it “the brain-gut disorder.” This obstruction could lead to motility issues inside the gastrointestinal tract, causing the muscles to move food through the digestive system too slowly or quickly. IBS is also called “spastic colon” because of the colon spasms that commonly occur with this syndrome.
Several factors may be IBS triggers, including:
- Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and soda
- Drinking alcohol
- Fluctuations in hormones
- Intestinal infections (bacterial or viral gastroenteritis)
- Changes in the microbial makeup of the intestines
- A diet high in spicy or fatty foods
Being conscious of IBS triggers and your likelihood of suffering irritable bowel syndrome can help you better manage your body’s response if you are ever diagnosed with IBS.
What are the dangers of irritable bowel syndrome?
IBS is a complex GI condition. Therefore, multiple elements might combine to cause its development or return. Common factors that increase the risk of this condition are:
- Lifestyle choices: A poor diet, lack of exercise, use of tobacco or alcohol, and being overweight can all amplify the risk of developing IBS.
- Family history: Some patients might be genetically susceptible to experiencing IBS.
- Being a woman: Irritable bowel syndrome is twice as common in women as in men.
- Mental health: Depression and anxiety may increase the chances of the condition.
- Age: People of nearly every age group may get IBS, but it typically begins during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is not as common in patients over 50 years old.
If you worry you could be at risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome or any other digestive concerns, we want you to schedule a consultation at a Connecticut GI location near you.
What are the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
IBS effects can vary among individuals. Commonly, IBS symptoms in women are usually different than IBS symptoms in men and often fluctuate in intensity. The majority of patients experiencing the condition will have mild symptoms. The common symptoms of IBS involve:
Should you have any of these symptoms or recognize a change in your bathroom habits, it is vital to visit a GI specialist. Our gastroenterology team in Connecticut can evaluate your concerns and symptoms to determine if IBS is to blame.
How is IBS treated?
While preventing irritable bowel syndrome is not always possible, action can be taken to lessen its effects. Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome often involves managing associated symptoms over time to take control of the condition. Addressing symptoms and discomfort and treating this condition might involve lifestyle changes. This might include eating food higher in fiber, getting plenty of water, exercising, and understanding and avoiding known IBS triggers. Select medications could also help alleviate its symptoms, like anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, antidepressant, and anticholinergic medications. Fiber supplements or laxatives are often prescribed to help address underlying issues that can elicit the condition.
Find irritable bowel syndrome treatment in Connecticut
Beyond causing uncomfortable symptoms, IBS makes many people feel defeated and dejected. Rest assured, however, that it is possible to find relief from this chronic digestive concern. Our team at Connecticut GI offers the necessary care for IBS and is ready to guide you or your loved one to better health. To learn more about IBS, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, and to find a GI doctor who can treat this condition in Connecticut, reach out to our team to request an appointment.