Understanding Why Irritable Bowel Syndrome Does Not Go Away

2012-04-05 | |
Last updated: 2012-04-05

Some of the most intense physical discomfort we will experience can arise from problems with our stomachs and the intestines. Both nausea and severe bloating can make it extremely difficult to focus on anything else but the discomfort we are feeling. If we add to that constipation with the significant pain that it causes or sudden diarrhea with all those trips to the toilet and a burning bottom, then life can become truly miserable.

While these bouts of serious discomfort will hit each of us every so often, such a barrage of life-diminishing symptoms is part of daily life for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Besides the physical effects, all of these symptoms and the resulting discomfort can lead to isolation, difficulty in finding or retaining a job and not surprisingly, serious depression. It is safe to say that together these symptoms seriously degrade the quality of life for those who live with IBS.

Until recently, the understanding of IBS by the medical community was fairly poor, but fortunately, our relentless pursuit of knowledge is starting to shed light on the nature of the condition. With this increasing body of knowledge, having hope for better treatments becomes far more realistic.

Who Suffers From IBS?

Within the population, a significant number of people live with the symptoms of IBS. Depending on sources, between 10 and 20% of the population is affected. Among those living with IBS, in Western countries, approximately 2/3 are women. In other parts of the world, the number of men and women who get IBS is approximately the same according to research from the University of Manchester.

Age also affects who develops IBS in some cases. Women under 35 are more likely to develop some forms ofs IBS constipation and slow bowel movement that women who are older. However, generally, age is not a significant factor in determining who is most likely to develop IBS. Race does not appear to be a significant factor in the development of the condition.

Specific occupations can also increase the risk for developing IBS. In one study from the University of Michigan, researchers found that female nurses working rotating day/night shifts had a 55% higher rate of IBS than did nurses working only day shifts. Those who serve in the military in combat roles are also at greater risk with one study from Baylor College showing that 38% of female veterans had IBS while another study identified 44% as suffering from the condition.

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Category: Disease Information, Medical Research, Symptom Information

Comments (1)

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  1. Marina says:

    I am not surprised at this reulst. I have a daughter who developed Crohns Disease following a very stressful period in her life while in another European country. She also developed a type of anorexia where ( as we know this helps the clients to gain some degree of control in their lives) she ate v little carb, lots of fruit vegt and protein, and did excessive amounts of exercise . Her recommended treatment is antinflamatory drugs which have lots of side-effects. I have been trying to get her to use CBT, to help her lower/manage her stress levels. Both my sons developed lactose intolerance, despite being big fit, breast fed (as was my daughter for 6 months exclusively) healthy big men. Both were following severe bouts of gastroenteritis at different times and in different countries. They were keen on body building/ keeping fit; and as soon as they recovered they started back fairly quickly and prob f intensively as they thought they would have to make up for the time they were sick. Like most young people they lead busy often stressful lives. I feel these factors are the main contributing factors to the huge increase in IBS or other realted GI conditions. I do believe CBT + elimination/reduction of rogue foods like cafene products, carbonateed drinks and alcohol, would be very beneficial.