Causes and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome


There are no findings which can enlighten on the actual cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. However, as per the experts, there are certain things which have lead to IBS in people. Thus, they believe, these reasons play major roles in developing IBS symptoms. The factors causing Irritable Bowel Syndrome are given below:

Physical Health Problems

  • Brain-Gut Signal Problems
    The signals between your brain, the small and large intestines as well as the nerves in your gut manage how the gut functions. Thus, if there is a problem with the brain-gut signals, it will cause IBS symptoms.
  • GI Motility Problems
    People with IBS do not have the kind of motility in their colon as other people normally have. They have either slow or fast motility. While slow motility causes constipation, fast motility causes diarrhea. Spasm is the reason behind the abdominal pain. If you suffer from IBS, there is a high chance of you experiencing hyperactivity which causes a significant increase in bowel contractions after you eat and when you feel stressed.
  • Pain Sensitivity
    People with IBS have extra sensitive nerves in their gut. This causes more pain and discomfort than usual when stool or gas is stuck in the gut. The brain processes pain indications from your bowel in a different way if you suffer from IBS.
  • Infections
    Bacterial infection in an individual’s GI tract may be a  cause of irritable bowel syndrome. However, researchers have still not been able to confirm why GI tract infections cause some people to suffer from IBS while others do not. There may be additional reasons for mental health problems and GI tract lining.
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
    Usually, there are a small number of bacteria found in the small intestine. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is referred to the change in the type of bacteria or increase in their number in the small intestine. These bacteria increase the production of gas and cause diarrhea as well as weight loss. Some experts are of the opinion that small intestinal bacterial growth results in IBS. Research is still being conducted to find out the link between both the conditions.
  • Neurotransmitters (Body Chemicals)
    People suffering from IBS have altered levels as far as neurotransmitters are concerned. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in your body which transmit nerve signals as well as GI hormones. However, their role in causing IBS is unclear. Younger women on their periods have more symptoms if they have IBS. However, post-menopausal women have fewer symptoms. These findings point to the fact that reproductive hormones worsen IBS problems.
  • Hormones
    It is a proven fact that women are twice as much at risk of developing and can be a cause of irritable bowel syndrome than men. Thus, it can be said that hormonal changes within an individual’s body play a great role in getting infected with this ailment.
  • Genetics
    It is still unclear whether IBS is a genetic ailment or not. Nobody can confirm that IBS causes to only those who have the same problem in their family. However, it is true that IBS is more commonly found in people whose family members have a history of GI issues.
  • Food Sensitivity
    There are certain foods that trigger IBS. These are fatty foods, spicy foods, carbohydrates, alcohol, and coffee. However, food sensitivity does not show any food allergy in people suffering from the condition. It is believed by the researchers that bile acids or poor absorption of sugars cause the symptoms.
  • Infectious Diarrhea or Gastroenteritis
    At times acute issues like gastroenteritis can trigger IBS as well.

Mental Health Problems

People having mental and psychological issues like anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression also usually have IBS. However, the link between IBS and mental health is unclear. GI disorders including IBS have been reported to present in people who have suffered sexual or physical abuse in the past. Experts are of the opinion that people who faced abuse in the past express their psychological stress by means of physical symptoms. Your colon would respond in extremity to even slight stress or conflict if you have IBS. Stress makes the brain more alert to your colon’s sensations. Symptoms of IBS can also increase your level of stress.

IBS Triggers
There are certain drinks and food items that can be a cause of irritable bowel syndrome. The triggers vary from person to person but some of the common triggers include:

  • Fizzy drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Fatty or fried food
  • Processed snacks like biscuits and crisps
  • Drinks containing caffeine like cola, coffee, tea

Treating IBS
In order to treat the symptoms of IBS, one must take care of their diet as to what they are eating. Ensure that you are aware of the various symptoms and causes of irritable bowel syndrome, this will help you prevent the disease altogether. They must try to understand which food items are triggering IBS in them and avoid those as much as possible. Reducing stress level, regular exercising, eating probiotics and taking medications as suggested by a reputed physician will help with the condition.