What Are the Causes of IBS and Am I at Risk?
The digestive disorder irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, can impact your life in many ways. Causing inflammation in the large intestine, stomach, and other areas of your digestive tract, irritable bowel syndrome often leads to uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms.
At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, we understand the unpleasant effects irritable bowel syndrome could have on your daily health, well-being, and standard of living. Our GI doctors routinely treat IBS in adults throughout Texas and can work with you to reduce its effects. Keep reading to learn what might be at the root of this GI condition and determine if you may be at risk.
How does IBS develop?
The cause of IBS is unclear. Doctors believe it results from a disruption between the brain (which is in charge of gut function) and the gastrointestinal (GI) system, leading GI specialists to nickname it “the brain-gut disorder.” This disconnect could lead to motility issues within the GI tract, causing the muscles to move food through your large and small intestines either too fast or too slowly. IBS is also referred to as “spastic colon” because of the colon spasms associated with IBS.
A number of factors could trigger irritable bowel syndrome, including:
- Changes in the microbial makeup of your intestines
- Alcohol use
- Intestinal infections (bacterial or viral gastroenteritis)
- Fluctuations in hormones
- A diet containing fatty and spicy foods
- Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda
Being aware of IBS triggers and your chances of developing the condition could help you better manage your body’s response if you are diagnosed with IBS.
What are irritable bowel syndrome risk factors?
IBS is a complicated digestive problem. Therefore, many factors may combine to result in irritable bowel syndrome’s development or recurrence. Factors that could magnify your risk of this condition may include:
- Age: Patients of nearly every age could get the condition; however, it often begins during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is not as frequent in patients over 50 years old.
- Mental health: Depression and anxiety may increase the chances of developing IBS.
- Lifestyle choices: A poor diet, not exercising, tobacco or alcohol use, and obesity can amplify your risk of getting IBS.
- Family history: Some people might be biologically susceptible to getting irritable bowel syndrome.
- Being female: IBS is about twice as frequent among women than men.
If you are worried you may be at risk of developing IBS or have other digestive concerns, please schedule a consultation at a Texas Digestive Disease Consultants location in your area.
What are the common symptoms of IBS?
Irritable bowel markers may differ in patients. Traditionally, IBS symptoms in women are generally different than IBS symptoms in men and can vary in severity. Many individuals experiencing the condition have moderate symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are:
- Cramping in the abdomen
- Sticky stool, or mucus in stool
- Abdominal discomfort
If you notice these symptoms or a difference in your bathroom habits, it is essential to consult with a GI specialist. Our Texas GI doctors can assess your concerns to determine if irritable bowel syndrome is the cause.
How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?
Though avoiding irritable bowel syndrome won’t always be possible, steps can be taken to lessen its effects. Treatment for IBS often involves managing its symptoms to help control this condition. Limiting symptoms and living with irritable bowel syndrome could require daily changes, such as eating a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising, and avoiding known IBS triggers. Select medications can be prescribed to also help alleviate its effects, including antidepressant, anti-diarrheal, anti-nausea, and anticholinergic medicines. Laxatives and fiber supplements may be used to help control underlying issues that often elicit the condition.
Receive IBS treatment in Texas
In addition to causing unpleasant symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome makes many feel hopeless and defeated. Rest assured, however, that it is possible to experience relief from this GI issue. The Texas Digestive Disease Consultants team offers care for IBS and is here to help usher you to better health. For more information about IBS, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, and to find a GI doctor who treats irritable bowel syndrome in Texas, contact your nearest location to request an appointment.