What Are the Causes of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)? Who Is at Risk?


The gastrointestinal (GI) disorder known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can significantly affect your life in many ways. Causing symptoms in the colon (large intestine), stomach, and other areas of the digestive tract, IBS often leads to unpleasant and embarrassing symptoms.

At Digestive Health Specialists, we understand the harrowing effects this condition might have on your health, well-being, and overall quality of life. Our gastrointestinal providers regularly treat IBS in Kansas City, MO patients, and can help you minimize and manage its effects. Keep reading to learn more about irritable bowel syndrome and if you may be at risk of developing this digestive disease.

How does IBS develop?

The precise cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known. Researchers believe it’s the result of an interruption between the brain (which is in charge of gut function) and the gastrointestinal system, leading many GI doctors to reference it as “the brain-gut disorder.” This disturbance can lead to motility problems in the gastrointestinal tract, causing the muscles to move food through the large and small intestines either too quickly or too slowly. Irritable bowel syndrome is also referred to as “spastic colon” because of the colon spasms that commonly accompany this condition.

A number of factors may trigger IBS, including:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Consuming too much caffeine
  • Spicy and fatty foods
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Changes in the microbial makeup of the intestines
  • Stress
  • Intestinal infections (bacterial or viral gastroenteritis)

Being conscious of IBS triggers and your chances of experiencing this condition can help you better manage your body’s reaction if you are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.

What are the risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a complicated GI problem. Therefore, a variety of elements might combine to result in the condition’s onset or reoccurrence. Factors that could increase the risk of IBS include:

  • Mental health: Mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, may increase the chances of developing IBS.
  • Family history: Some patients might be genetically susceptible to irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Being a woman: Irritable bowel syndrome is twice as frequent in women than men.
  • Lifestyle choices: A poor diet, not exercising, use of tobacco and/or alcohol, and being overweight may amplify the chances of IBS.
  • Age group: People of about every age can get irritable bowel syndrome, but it generally develops during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is not as frequent in patients 50 and older.

If you may be at risk for developing IBS or other digestive concerns, request an appointment at a Digestive Health Specialists location in your area.

What are the common symptoms of IBS?

IBS issues may fluctuate among individuals. However, IBS symptoms in women generally differ from IBS symptoms in men and can range in severity. Many patients experiencing the condition have minor symptoms. Common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:

Should you have one or more of these symptoms or recognize a change in your bathroom tendencies, it’s essential to consult a digestive health expert. Our team of GI doctors in Kansas City, MO can evaluate your concerns and determine whether irritable bowel syndrome is to blame.

How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?

While preventing irritable bowel syndrome may not be possible, action can be taken to help reduce its effects. Treatment for irritable bowel syndrome often involves the long-term management of symptoms to help control the condition. Alleviating symptoms and managing irritable bowel syndrome might require changing your lifestyle. This may include eating a high-fiber diet, drinking a lot of water, following a weekly exercise routine, and understanding IBS triggers. Select medications can also help alleviate its symptoms, including anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, antidepressant, and anticholinergic options. Laxatives or fiber supplements may be prescribed to help manage underlying issues that often provoke the condition.

Receive IBS treatment in Kansas City, MO

Beyond causing uncomfortable symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome makes many people feel discouraged and helpless. Rest assured, however, that it is possible to get relief from this chronic condition. Our team at Digestive Health Specialists offers care for this condition and can guide you and/or your loved one to an enhanced quality of life. To hear more about the disease, learn about irritable bowel syndrome self-care, or find a GI doctor who treats IBS in Kansas City, MO, request a consultation at a location near you.

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