What Are the Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Are You at Risk?


The digestive condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can affect your daily life in many ways. Causing issues in your large intestine, stomach, and additional areas of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, irritable bowel syndrome often creates painful and (at times) distressing symptoms.

At Denver Digestive Health Specialists, we understand the unpleasant effects this condition can have on your overall health, comfort, and quality of life. Our GI doctors regularly treat IBS in Denver, CO individuals and can work with you to help ease its effects. Read on to learn what factors may contribute to IBS and if you could be at a greater risk for this condition.

How does IBS develop?

The exact cause of IBS is not known at this time. Researchers believe it results from a disruption between the brain (which is in charge of gut function) and the GI system, leading many GI doctors to reference it as “the brain-gut disorder.” This disruption could induce motility problems throughout the gastrointestinal tract, causing the muscles to move food through the system too quickly or slowly. Irritable bowel syndrome is also known as “spastic colon” due to the spasms in the colon that may occur with IBS.

A number of factors could trigger IBS, including:

  • Intestinal infections
  • Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and soda
  • Fluctuations in hormones
  • A diet high in spicy or fatty foods
  • Changes in the microbial makeup of the intestines
  • Stress
  • Alcohol use

Being conscious of IBS triggers and your chances of suffering the condition can help you better manage your body’s response should you become diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.

What are IBS risk factors?

IBS is a complex digestive condition. As such, several elements may combine to create IBS’s onset or recurrence. Factors that may raise the risk of developing IBS include:

  • Family history: Some patients may be biologically susceptible to getting IBS.
  • Age of the individual: Patients of about every age group could experience IBS; however, it typically begins during the teenage years or early adulthood. It is not as frequent in those aged 50 or over.
  • Mental health: Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, may increase the risk of developing the condition.
  • Lifestyle: A poor diet, lack of exercise, tobacco or alcohol use, and being overweight may amplify your risk of getting IBS.
  • Being a woman: IBS is nearly twice as frequent in women than men.

If you fear you are at risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive issues, we encourage you to request an appointment at a Denver Digestive Health Specialists location near you.

What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms may vary from one person to the next. In fact, IBS symptoms in women differ from IBS symptoms in men and often vary in severity. The majority of people experiencing IBS generally have mild effects. Common symptoms of IBS involve:

If you find yourself with any of these signs or symptoms or recognize a change in your bowel habits, it’s essential to consult a physician. Our team of GI doctors in Denver, CO can assess your symptoms and concerns to see if IBS is to blame.

How is irritable bowel syndrome treated?

Even though avoiding IBS won’t always be possible, action can be taken to help reduce its effects. Treating IBS often involves the long-term management of associated symptoms to help control the condition. Relieving symptoms and coping with the condition may include lifestyle adjustments, such as eating high-fiber food, getting your daily water intake, exercising, and avoiding common IBS triggers. Some medications may also help alleviate its symptoms, such as anti-nausea, anticholinergic, anti-diarrheal, and antidepressant medicines. Laxatives and fiber supplements are often recommended to address underlying issues that are known to contribute to the disorder.

Receive irritable bowel syndrome treatment in Denver, CO

Beyond causing frustrating symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome can make people feel hopeless and defeated. But it is possible to experience relief from this chronic condition. The team of doctors at Denver Digestive Health Specialists offers treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and is here to help guide you to an enhanced quality of life. For more information about your risks, irritable bowel syndrome self-care, and to locate a GI doctor who treats irritable bowel syndrome in Denver, CO, contact our team to request an appointment.

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