There are three types of IBS:
- IBS-D - Dominant symptom is diarrhea
- IBS-C - Dominant symptom is constipation
- IBS-A - Symptoms alternate between diarrhea and constipation
Roughly 15% of the U.S. population has IBS at some point in their lives. It often starts in adolescents or young adults. It affects almost twice as many women as men. IBS is usually associated with stress. IBS can be painful, but it does not damage the bowel or cause cancer. However long term IBS can cause depression or hemorrhoids.
What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Doctors think that IBS might be caused by a neurological problem. Signals are sent between the brain and the intestines. If you are under stress your brain fires either too many or too few signals to intestine muscles. This problem causes the intestine muscles to move food through the intestines too quickly or too slowly. That results in painful cramps and diarrhea or bloating and constipation. IBS is strongly associated with stress, anxiety and sleep disorders.
IBS attacks are triggered by one or more factors:
- Stress and pressure at work, home or school
- Stressful events or major changes in your life
- Anxiety, depression or panic disorder
- Large meals
- Consumption of certain trigger foods (this varies from person to person)
- Medications such as antibiotics
- Alcohol or caffeinated drinks
- Hormonal changes in women during their periods