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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Causes Behind it

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, DNB - Internal Medicine, DNB - Gastroenterology
Gastroenterologist, Delhi  •  24 years experience
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Causes Behind it

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS includes a group of medical symptoms. These include abdominal pain and changes in the pattern of bowel movements. The symptoms mostly continue for a long period of time and are divided into four types depending on diarrhoea or constipation symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome causes several negative effects on our health and should be treated as soon as possible. IBS is caused because of various reasons and factors. They are as follows:

  1. Digestive problems: Food is moved through the digestive system with the help of squeezing and relaxation movement of the intestinal muscles in a certain rhythm. In case of IBS, this process is altered and food moves through the digestive system very fast or very slow. When the food moves too fast, diarrhoea is caused as there is not enough time for absorption of water from food. In case of slow food movement, constipation occurs as a result of too much absorption of water. Disorders such as malabsorption of bile acid may also cause IBS in some cases.
  2. Psychological factors: Psychological factors also play a vital role in IBS. When a person is overtly emotional or is suffering from intense stress or anxiety, then these emotions trigger chemical changes in the body which affect the proper functioning of the digestive system. This is not likely in all people who get IBS. People who did not have IBS before, may undergo changes in bowel movements because of immense stress and tension. Many people who have undergone a traumatic experience such as abuse, neglect or a childhood disease can get IBS. These traumatic events or experiences in the past made these people more sensitive to stress, which may result in IBS.
  3. Several triggers of IBS: There are several food items and drinks, which may trigger the symptoms of IBS in a person. These triggers vary from person to person. The most common ones include alcohol, aerated drinks, chocolates, drinks which contain caffeine like coffee or cola, processed snacks such as crackers and biscuits and fried foods, which contain a lot of fat. You should maintain a food diary for identification of triggers that may lead to IBS in your everyday diet. Stress is also an important trigger which may lead to IBS. You should try to find ways to get rid of stress and must avoid over stressing.

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS results due to several reasons which may be physical or psychological. If you experience symptoms of IBS, you must try to detect or diagnose the reason and then look for proper treatment while consulting with gastroenterologist.

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