Irritable Bowel Syndrome | Top 42 IBS Questions and Answers

Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the commonest GIT disorders that has affected a large number of people worldwide. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the development, progression and treatment of IBS. Read on to find comprehensive answers to all questions related to IBS and separate the fact from the fiction.

1IBS Definition, and Facts

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, as its name indicates, is the irritation of the bowel (stomach and intestines) secondary to a number of various causes. It is a type of gastrointestinal disorder that presents itself as a group of gastrointestinal symptoms that usually occur together.

This disease is also known as irritable colon, spastic colon, spastic colitis and mucous colitis. It causes belly discomfort or pain (gastric symptoms) and trouble with bowel habits (intestinal symptoms such as persistent constipation or diarrhoea).

References

Irritable bowel syndrome, Mayo Clinic.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Web MD.

Is irritable bowel syndrome common?

Among gastrointestinal diseases, IBS is the condition most commonly diagnosed by primary care physicians and gastroenterologists. Approximately 25 to 45 million Americans (10 to 15 percent of the adult population) are estimated to have IBS while only 5 to 7 percent have been diagnosed. IBS is estimated to affect 6–18% of people worldwide.

Reference

IBS Statistics, About IBS.

How painful is irritable bowel syndrome?

IBS causes pain in the abdominal, usually in the lower half of the belly. The severity of this pain can be varying according to the underlying cause and organ area of the organ involved. For some people, the pain might just be a chronic nagging experience while for others it can be crippling. It severity also varies from day to day and usually increases with the course of diseases.

It is also associated with muscle cramps and bloating. typically gets worse after taking meal and feels better after bowel emptying.

Reference

Understanding and Managing Pain in IBS, About IBS.

What will happen if bowel syndrome is left untreated?

If left untreated, persistent diarrhoea or constipation in IBS can lead to dehydration, malabsorption, and weight loss. It may also cause chronic indigestion. It can aggravate haemorrhoids (piles) in people who already have them. However, it doesn’t lead to colon cancer, rectal bleeding or inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.

Reference

The Dangers of Untreated IBS-C/CIC, Health Line.

Can you die from irritable bowel syndrome?

Typically, IBS is not a life-threatening condition. It doesn’t lead to potentially damaging health conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or colon cancer. However, it can strongly affect your lifestyle and can make you feel lethargic and miserable.

Reference

Complications From IBS: What Can Happen?, Web MD.

Can you get irritable bowel syndrome at any age?

Yes, it can affect people of all ages. Children are usually not commonly affected by this condition. The most susceptible age group is teenagers (in their late teens) and people through and after their 40 s.

Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome considered a disability?

Although IBS is not a life-threatening condition, it can change the way you live your life. It is not currently included in the SSA’s (social security administration) listing of impairments, however, you are likely to get disability benefits if its troublesome symptoms reduce your productivity by 25%.

Reference

Social Security Disability Benefits for IBS, Disability Secrets.

Can irritable bowel syndrome come and go?

Usually, IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that has varying signs and symptoms. Its symptoms may be persistent or they come and go. There may even be times when its symptoms totally disappear. Your age, gender, body immunity and treatment options also affect the appearance of symptoms.

Reference

Can Irritable Bowel Syndrome Come and Go?, E Pain Assist.

Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome lifelong?

Bowel irregularity in IBS, i.e., sometimes constipation, sometimes diarrhoea and sometimes both along with its associated symptoms such as bloating and gas may persist for a long time. For a majority of individuals diagnosed with it, IBS is a lifelong condition. Therefore, the main goal of treatment is not to cure the disease, but to improve the lifestyle of the patient.

References

For most diagnosed with it, IBS is a chronic, lifelong condition, Mayo Clinic.

Is IBS Lifelong & How to Cope With it?, E Pain Assist.

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