What Are the Causes of IBS? Am I at Risk?


The GI condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can affect your life in many ways. Causing discomfort in the large intestine, stomach, and other areas of the digestive tract, irritable bowel syndrome typically leads to unpleasant and, at times, embarrassing symptoms.

At Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates, we understand the difficult effects IBS might have on your overall health, comfort, and quality of life. Our gastrointestinal specialists commonly treat irritable bowel syndrome in Lubbock, TX patients and can help you manage its symptoms. Keep reading to learn what factors might contribute to this GI condition and determine if you could be at risk.

How does irritable bowel syndrome develop?

The actual cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known. Doctors believe it results from a disconnect between the brain (which is in charge of gut function) and the gastrointestinal system, leading GI specialists to refer to it as “the brain-gut disorder.” This disconnect could lead to motility issues within the gastrointestinal tract, causing the muscles to move food through the GI system too quickly or slowly. IBS is also referred to as “spastic colon” because of the spasms in the colon that are associated with this condition.

Several factors may trigger irritable bowel syndrome, such as:

  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Intestinal infections, such as bacterial or viral gastroenteritis
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Changes in the microbial makeup of the intestines
  • Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and soda
  • Spicy or fatty foods
  • Stress

Being conscious of IBS triggers and your chance of developing irritable bowel syndrome can help you better manage your body’s reaction if you are diagnosed with the condition.

What are IBS risk factors?

IBS is a complex gastrointestinal condition. As such, many attributes may combine to elicit the condition’s onset or return. Factors that can elevate the risk of IBS are:

  • Family history: Some individuals may be genetically susceptible to irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Mental health: Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, may increase the risk of the condition.
  • Being female: Irritable bowel syndrome is twice as prevalent among women than men.
  • Lifestyle: An unhealthy diet, not enough exercise, use of tobacco and/or alcohol, and being overweight may all amplify the risk of developing IBS.
  • Age: Patients of almost all ages can get IBS; however, it typically arises during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is less frequent in those 50 and older.

If you fear you may be at risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive issues, we encourage you to request an appointment at one of our Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates locations.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms often differ among patients. Traditionally, IBS symptoms in women are usually not the same as IBS symptoms in men and even range in severity. Many individuals experiencing irritable bowel syndrome have mild effects. Some of the more common symptoms of IBS are:

Should you have any of these signs or symptoms or notice a change in your bathroom habits, it’s essential to consult a gastroenterologist. Our GI doctors in Lubbock, TX can evaluate your concerns and symptoms to determine if IBS is to blame.

How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?

Even though avoiding IBS may not be possible, steps can be taken to help reduce its effects. Controlling IBS often involves the long-term management of associated symptoms. Minimizing symptoms and discomfort and managing irritable bowel syndrome might include changes to your everyday life, such as eating a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty of water, having a weekly exercise routine, and avoiding the IBS triggers. Some medications could also help alleviate its effects, like anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal, antidepressant, and anticholinergic medications. Laxatives and fiber supplements may help address health conditions that might provoke the condition.

Get IBS treatment in Lubbock, TX

In addition to causing unpleasant symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome leaves many feeling hopeless and defeated. However, it is possible to find relief from this often-chronic problem. Our team at Lubbock Digestive Disease Associates provides personalized care for irritable bowel syndrome and can help usher you and/or your loved one to a better quality of life. To learn more about your risks, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, and to connect with a GI doctor who can treat IBS in Lubbock, TX, please contact one of our locations to request a consultation.

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