What Causes IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)? Are You at Risk?


The gastrointestinal condition irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, can largely impact your life in many ways. Causing inflammation in the large intestine (colon), stomach, and other areas of the digestive tract, IBS often leads to uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms.

At Adult Gastroenterology Associates, we understand the unpleasant effects irritable bowel syndrome may have on your health, well-being, and quality of life. Our providers routinely treat IBS in Tulsa, OK patients and can help you reduce its effects. Keep reading to learn what might be behind irritable bowel syndrome and whether you may be at risk.

How might IBS develop?

The actual cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown at this time. It’s believed to result from an interruption between the brain (which is actually in charge of gut function) and the gastrointestinal (GI) system, leading gastroenterologists to reference it as “the brain-gut disorder.” This interference could lead to functional complications in the digestive tract, causing the muscles to move food through the intestines either too fast or too slowly. IBS is also called “spastic colon” as a result of the spasms in the colon that may occur with the condition.

A variety of components may trigger irritable bowel syndrome, such as:

  • Intestinal infections (bacterial or viral gastroenteritis)
  • Fatty or spicy foods
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Stress
  • Fluctuations in hormones
  • Changes in the microbial makeup of the intestines

Understanding IBS triggers and your chance of suffering irritable bowel syndrome can help you better manage your body’s response if you're ever diagnosed with this condition.

What are the risk factors for IBS?

IBS is a complex GI concern. As such, a variety of factors might work together to cause IBS’s beginning or recurrence. Factors that can magnify the risk of irritable bowel syndrome include:

  • Family history: Some people may be biologically more susceptible to getting irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Those who are female: Irritable bowel syndrome is twice as frequent among women than men.
  • Lifestyle choices: A poor diet, not enough exercise, alcohol and/or tobacco use, and being overweight may heighten the risk of developing IBS.
  • Age: Patients of about every age group could experience irritable bowel syndrome, but it most commonly develops during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is less common in adults over 50 years of age.
  • Mental health: Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, can increase the chances of getting the condition.

If you think you might be at risk of developing IBS or have other digestive issues, request a consultation at an Adult Gastroenterology Associates location near you.

What are the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel issues can fluctuate in patients. Traditionally, IBS symptoms in women differ from IBS symptoms in men and usually even range in intensity. The majority of individuals experiencing the condition generally have minor symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms of IBS include:

If you have any of these symptoms or notice a change in your bathroom habits, it is vital to consult a gastroenterologist. Our GI doctors in Tulsa, OK can review your symptoms and concerns to determine if irritable bowel syndrome is the culprit of your issues.

How is IBS treated?

Though avoiding IBS is not always possible, steps can be taken to reduce its consequences. Treating irritable bowel syndrome often involves managing associated symptoms to control the condition. Reducing symptoms and managing IBS might involve changes in everyday life, which could include eating a high-fiber diet, making sure you drink a lot of water, exercising, and avoiding common IBS triggers. Certain medications may also help alleviate your symptoms, such as anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, antidepressant, and anticholinergic medications. Fiber supplements and laxatives are often prescribed to manage underlying issues that may contribute to the disorder.

Find irritable bowel syndrome treatment in Tulsa, OK

Beyond causing uncomfortable symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome makes many people feel discouraged and hopeless. Rest assured, however, that finding relief from this ailment is possible. The team at Adult Gastroenterology Associates offers the necessary care for irritable bowel syndrome and can lead you and/or your loved one to better health. To learn more about the condition, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, or to find a GI doctor who treats IBS in Tulsa, OK, contact our team to request an appointment.

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