What Causes IBS and Am I at Risk?


The gastro condition irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, can affect your day in many ways. Stirring up issues in your large intestine, stomach, and other areas of your GI tract, IBS often creates discomfort and (at times) distressing symptoms.

At GI Alliance, we understand the harrowing symptoms IBS may have on your overall health, comfort, and life quality. Our gastrointestinal specialists often treat IBS and are ready to assist you in easing its symptoms. Read below to learn what’s the leading cause of IBS and learn if you could be at risk of IBS.

How might irritable bowel syndrome develop?

The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown at this time. Doctors believe it’s the result of an interruption between the brain (which controls gut function) and the gastrointestinal system, causing gastroenterologists to dub it “the brain-gut disorder.” This interruption might lead to passage issues within a person’s digestive tract, causing the muscles to move food through the digestive system at a pace that is either too fast or too slow. Irritable bowel syndrome is also referred to as “spastic colon” as a result of the spasms in the colon that may occur with irritable bowel syndrome.

A variety of components could be IBS triggers, including:

  • Intestinal infections, such as bacterial or viral gastroenteritis
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Changes in your microbial makeup of the intestines
  • Fluctuations in your hormones
  • Stresses throughout life
  • A diet high in spicy or fatty foods

Being able to recognize IBS triggers and your chances of developing the condition should help you better manage your body’s response if you get irritable bowel syndrome.

What are the risk factors of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome is an involved GI ailment. As such, multiple factors may lead to irritable bowel syndrome’s inception or recurrence. The most common factors that could create an added risk for you getting IBS may include:

  • Family history: Some individuals might be genetically more likely to get irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Age of the individual: Individuals of nearly every age group may get IBS; however, it most commonly develops during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is less common in those over 50 years old.
  • Lifestyle choices: An unhealthy diet, not exercising, use of tobacco and/or alcohol, and obesity can elevate the chances of getting irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Mental health: Mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, may increase your chances of getting this condition.
  • Being female: Irritable bowel syndrome is twice as frequent in women than in men.

If you are worried you may be at risk of developing IBS or other digestive concerns, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at a GI Alliance location in your area.

What are the most common symptoms of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome issues often change in our patients. IBS symptoms in women may differ from IBS symptoms in men and will even differ in intensity. Many individuals with the condition will have minor effects. The more known symptoms of IBS include:

In the event you find yourself with one or more of these symptoms or distinguish a shift in your bathroom tendencies, you should visit a GI expert. Our team can assess your concerns and symptoms to determine if IBS is causing your symptoms.

How can IBS be treated?

Even though preventing irritable bowel syndrome may not be possible, action can be taken in order to reduce its effects. Treating of IBS often involves managing symptoms to control the condition. Taking care of symptoms and discomfort and caring for this condition could include lifestyle adjustments, which could include eating more food high in fiber, making sure you get plenty of water, creating an exercise routine, and knowing the IBS triggers. Some medications are known to also help alleviate its symptoms, including anti-nausea, anticholinergic, anti-diarrheal, and antidepressant medicines. Laxatives and fiber supplements are often prescribed to help manage associated issues that are known to activate the disorder.

Receive irritable bowel syndrome treatment in an area near you

Beyond causing discomforting symptoms, IBS makes many people feel mentally defeated and without hope. Rest assured that it is possible to find relief from this often-chronic illness. The team at GI Alliance provides the proper care for this condition and will help navigate you and/or your loved ones to better health. To learn about IBS, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, and to find a GI doctor who can provide treatment for this condition in your area, contact your nearest GI Alliance location to request a consultation.

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