Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder affecting the large intestine. It affects an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population worldwide. However, despite how prevalent the condition may be, it can vary widely from one patient to the next. Symptoms can range from bloating and gas to cramping and diarrhea. These symptoms may be mild for some and severe for other. Furthermore, the underlying cause of the condition can also differ for each sufferer. While not all potential causes are understood, researchers have identified several factors that can contribute, including the following.
IBS and Intestinal Muscle Contractions
With IBS can come changes in the usually rhythmic contraction of muscles within the intestinal walls. These contractions are designed to keep digestion moving at a healthy pace. However, in patients with IBS, this process may move faster or slower than normal, contributing to the commonly observed side effects.
IBS and Bacterial GastroenteritisIBS and Bacterial Gastroenteritis
Bacterial gastroenteritis is a common infection that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. In most patients, the condition resolves over time. However, in others, it can develop into IBS. This is known as post-infection IBS and occurs in anywhere from 4 to 32 percent of patients following bacterial gastroenteritis.
IBS from Food Sensitivity
Food sensitivity or intolerance is commonly seen across the majority of IBS patients. Common culprits include high-carb foods, sugary drinks, caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol. Most IBS sufferers come to quickly identify any foods that worsen their symptoms. However, there are other food options like prunes or fiber which may actually prove beneficial to consume.