The Connection Between Stress And Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Very few gastrointestinal disorders affect as many people around the world as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. At some point during their lives, at least 20% of the population will experience this painful condition. It affects men, women, and children, but women tend to experience this disease in greater numbers.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Common symptoms of IBS can include recurring constipation and recurring diarrhea. Certain patients will suffer from both constipation and diarrhea at different times.

Other symptoms include bloating, stomach pain, nausea, and gas. IBS tends to come and go, and many patients may go weeks or even months before another bout emerges.

In addition to the waxing and waning of symptoms, many people experience different levels of severity with IBS. The symptoms can range from mild, extremely painful, and even debilitating and can interfere with everyday life.

Individual suffering from this disorder quite often need to use the toilet urgently, and this can cause problems with relationships, at work, as well as being quite embarrassing. Sufferers of constipation can be inconvenienced just as much from difficulty with moving, pain, and general discomfort.

What are some causes of IBS?

Even though irritable bowel syndrome affects so many people, the exact cause of the disorder is still a medical mystery. This being said, many people that suffer from IBS can tie the onset of it to a particular date or event such as a bout of food poisoning or a surgery in the abdominal region. Other individuals can trace their symptoms back to a course of antibiotics, or a situation of extreme stress in their past .

How is IBS diagnosed?

Because there is no specific medical test for IBS, doctors tend to try to rule out other similar gastrointestinal diseases as a way of diagnosing IBS. In some cases, patients are given a colonoscopy, in which a very small camera is put into the intestines in order to search out any possible abnormalities.

It is important to note that patients not try to self diagnose IBS. This is because IBS often masquerades as other similar illnesses, and because of this it is nearly impossible for a lay person to diagnose this disease on their own.

How is IBS treated?

In many cases, the first stage of any irritable bowel syndrome treatment involves using medications like antispasmodics. These kinds of medications relax the soft muscles in the walls of the gut, and thus help in providing relief. In some cases, a low dose of an antidepressant is prescribed, as this can help to reduce the associated pain.

Dietary fiber supplements like Normacol or Selevac can often help to add mass to the school, and this can be helpful for curing diarrhea and constipation. In addition to this, diarrhea sufferers often use calcium carbonate tablets in some cases, and magnesium tablets can be helpful to deal with constipation.

The connection between IBS and stress

Even though IBS isn’t as officially classified as a psychological disorder, it can be and has been closely linked to stress and anxiety because of the close neural connection between the brain and the gut. For example, even those who don’t currently suffer from IBS may find that they may need to use the bathroom during times of anxiety and stress.

This special connection means that sufferers of IBS can be easily inconvenienced by stress and anxiety. This can be compounded by the fact that many who have suffered from this disorder may have needed a bathroom but couldn’t make it in time. Once this unfortunate situation has taken place, suffers made experience severe anxiety when easy access to a toilet is not available.