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


The digestive condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can affect your daily life in many ways. Leading to issues in the large intestine, stomach, and surrounding areas of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, irritable bowel syndrome results in uncomfortable and (at times) embarrassing symptoms.

At Utah Gastroenterology, we understand the unpleasant impact irritable bowel syndrome may have on your daily health, comfort, and quality of life. Our gastrointestinal doctors commonly treat IBS in patients throughout the Salt Lake City and St. George, UT areas and are ready to help you to help ease its effects. Keep reading to learn more about this GI condition and if you are at risk.

How does irritable bowel syndrome develop?

The cause of IBS is not known at this time. It’s thought to result from an interruption between the brain (which is in charge of gut function) and the GI system, leading many GI doctors to dub it “the brain-gut disorder.” This disruption can lead to motility issues throughout the digestive tract, causing the muscles to move food through their digestive system too slowly or quickly. Irritable bowel syndrome is also referred to as “spastic colon” due to the spasms in the colon that commonly accompany the condition.

Several factors may be IBS triggers, such as:

  • Foods that are fatty or spicy
  • Fluctuations in hormones
  • Drinking caffeinated beverages
  • Consuming alcohol
  • Changes in the microbial makeup of the intestines
  • Intestinal infections
  • Stress

Knowing IBS triggers and your chance of developing the disease could help you better manage your body’s response should it impact your health.

What are the risk factors of irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a complex digestive problem. Various factors might cause IBS to appear or recur. Factors that increase the risk of the condition include:

  • Family history: Some individuals could be biologically susceptible to irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Lifestyle: A poor diet, lack of exercise, alcohol and/or tobacco use, and obesity can all heighten the chances of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Being female: Irritable bowel syndrome is twice as prevalent among women than men.
  • Mental health: Depression and anxiety may increase the risk of the condition.
  • Age: Patients of almost every age group could get irritable bowel syndrome, but it typically begins during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is not as common in individuals 50 and older.

If you are worried you could be at risk of developing IBS or any other digestive concerns, please schedule an appointment at a Utah Gastroenterology location in your area.

What are the most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel effects often vary in people. IBS symptoms in women generally differ from IBS symptoms in men and can vary in intensity. Many individuals with IBS generally experience mild effects. The more common symptoms involve:

If you have any of these signs or symptoms or notice a change in your bowel habits, it may be time to consult a GI expert. Our team of GI doctors in Utah can evaluate your symptoms and concerns to see if irritable bowel syndrome is the culprit of your issues.

How is IBS treated?

Though preventing IBS isn’t always possible, action can be taken to lessen its consequences. Treatment for IBS often involves managing its symptoms to help control the condition. Reducing symptoms and living with this disease may require changes in everyday life, including adding high-fiber foods into your diet, drinking a lot of water, exercising daily, and understanding and avoiding standard IBS triggers. Certain medications may also help alleviate its symptoms, like anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, antidepressant, and anticholinergic medications. Fiber supplements or laxatives could be prescribed to address associated issues that are known to elicit the disorder.

Find irritable bowel syndrome treatment in Utah

Beyond causing frustrating symptoms, IBS makes many people feel discouraged and dejected. However, it is possible to attain relief from this chronic problem. Utah Gastroenterology can provide the proper care for this condition and help guide you to an enhanced quality of life. To learn about your risks, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, and find treatment for IBS in the Salt Lake City or St. George, UT areas, contact our team to request a consultation.

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