What Causes IBS? Am I at Risk?


The gastrointestinal condition called IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can affect your daily life in many ways. Causing issues in the large intestine, stomach, and surrounding areas of the digestive tract, irritable bowel syndrome often leads to painful and (at times) embarrassing symptoms.

At GI Alliance of Illinois, we understand the uncomfortable effects irritable bowel syndrome can have on your daily health, comfort, and quality of life. Our gastrointestinal providers routinely treat IBS in Chicago, Elgin, and Peoria, IL adults and are here to help you to reduce its symptoms. Read below to learn what’s at the root of this GI condition and learn if you are at risk.

How does irritable bowel syndrome develop in me?

The cause of IBS is not well understood. It’s believed to result from an interruption between the brain (which is in charge of gut function) and the gastrointestinal system, which is why many professionals call it “the brain-gut disorder.” This disconnect could lead to passage issues within your gastrointestinal tract, causing the muscles to move food through your digestive system either too quickly or too slowly. IBS is also called “spastic colon” because of the spasms in the colon that often accompany this condition.

A variety of elements may trigger IBS, including:

  • Stressful situations
  • Bacterial or viral gastroenteritis (intestinal infection)
  • Fluctuations in your hormones
  • A diet containing spicy and fatty foods
  • Consuming too much caffeine
  • Changes in the microbial makeup of the intestines
  • Alcohol consumption

Understanding IBS triggers and your chance of developing this condition can help you better manage your body’s reaction if you get irritable bowel syndrome.

What are the risk factors of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome is an involved GI ailment. As such, multiple components might blend together to create IBS’s inception or return. Some factors that may magnify one’s risk of IBS comprise:

  • Lifestyle: A bad diet, not exercising, tobacco or alcohol use, and obesity can increase your chances of getting irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Age group: Individuals of just about every age may have the condition, but it most commonly develops during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is less common to develop in those 50 and older.
  • Family history: Some individuals could be biologically predisposed to developing irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Being female: Irritable bowel syndrome is about twice as frequent among women than men.
  • Mental health: Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, can increase your risk of getting this condition.

If you believe you could be at risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome or any other GI issues, we want you to request an appointment at a GI Alliance of Illinois location in your area.

What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

IBS symptoms will differ between each person. In fact, IBS symptoms in women typically differ from IBS symptoms in men and usually even vary in severity. Most people experiencing the condition will experience minor effects. A great deal of the common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome involve:

In the event you have any one of these signs or recognize a difference in your bathroom habits, you may want to schedule an appointment with a physician. Our GI team in Illinois can go over your symptoms and concerns to see if irritable bowel syndrome is to blame.

How can irritable bowel syndrome be treated?

Even though preventing irritable bowel syndrome isn’t always possible, action can be taken to minimize its consequences. Treating IBS often involves managing IBS symptoms to help control it. Alleviating your symptoms and living with this condition could include lifestyle adjustments — starting on a high-fiber diet, making sure you get plenty of water, exercising daily, and understanding and staying away from standard IBS triggers. Some medicines may also help alleviate symptoms, like anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, antidepressant, and anticholinergic medications. Laxatives and fiber supplements may suggested to help manage associated issues that often provoke the disorder.

Get IBS treatment in Illinois

More than causing uncomfortable symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome makes many people feel discouraged and without hope. It is, however, possible to find relief from this often-chronic ailment. Our team at GI Alliance of Illinois offers the proper care for IBS and is ready to guide you to a better quality of life. To find out more about, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, and to locate a GI doctor who provides treatment for IBS in Chicago and surrounding areas, call a location in your community to request a consultation.

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