According to the National Institutes of Health, Irritable bowel syndrome – IBS – “is a group of symptoms that occur together, including repeated pain in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both.”
In other words, IBS is defined by its symptoms rather than its cause. There’s good reason for that. The root cause hasn’t been defined. Medical science has not yet been able to pinpoint why IBS occurs, only that it does for some people and that the symptoms of those who are affected are very real. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, it’s estimated that 10 to 15 percent of adults in the United States are plagued with IBS symptoms, though fewer have been diagnosed: only 5-7 percent.
The symptoms associated with IBS vary from person to person, but all occur in the gut area. Some people may have constipation while others are plagued with diarrhea. If you have IBS you will notice definite changes in relation to bowel movements and you shouldn’t necessarily expect to have one symptom over the other. In fact, you could experience both diarrhea andconstipation, depending on the type of IBS you have. Though there’s not been a definitive cause associated with the syndrome, doctors have been able to differentiate between types of IBS. Again, the types of IBS are simply defined by the symptoms.
- IBS that presents with constipation
- IBS that presents with diarrhea
- IBS that presents with both diarrhea and constipation
Who Is Affected?
There are a number of factors that contribute to IBS. You may be affected if:
- You have had food poisoningor contracted diarrheawhile traveling.
- You are a woman. Twice as many women than men are affected by IBS. Doctors aren’t sure why, though it could have some connection to changing hormones.
- Heredityplays a part in who is affected by irritable bowel syndrome. If it’you’re your family tree, chances are higher you might have it.
- Ageis also a factor, though IBS can affect people of all ages, it is often most prevalent in people who are between their teens and forties.
- Stressmight be a reason that some people have IBS, however it’s a sort of chicken and the eggscenario, deciding which came first. It’s unclear. Mental disorders may be a result of the IBS or vice versa.
- If you have food allergiesor sensitivities to certain foods and digestive issues appear following their digestion, then it may be a result of IBS.
Some foods that might negatively affect IBS are:
– Fatty foods
– Drinks that are carbonated
– Sugar substitutes
Some medications have also been known to contribute to the symptoms of IBS. Persons taking anti-depressants and antibiotics may find they suffer from digestive issues.
How IBS is diagnosed
Doctors will take your family and medical history to assist in diagnosing whether or not your symptoms are a result of irritable bowel syndrome. You should also expect to undergo a physical examination that includes a palpitation of the belly area. Tests may also be ordered, including a complete blood test workup, a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy that allows the doctor to examine the rectum or to view the colon through a scope.
Doctors at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates are well-versed and experienced in diagnosing and treating the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. The friendly staff at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates welcomes your call and looks forward to serving you. We proudly serve the areas of Carlisle, Boiling Springs, Newville, Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, Shippensburg, Chambersburg, and central Pennsylvania.
If you have any questions about our Gastroenterology servicesor your treatment, or to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (717) 245-2228or use our secure online appointment request form.