Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome affects between 25 and 55 million Americans every year. Characterized by abdominal cramping, bloating, and changes in bowel function, IBS is a very uncomfortable condition, which can interfere with all aspects of life.
Fibromyalgia is often associated with IBS, and anywhere between 30% and 70% of fibromyalgia sufferers will have to battle with this illness. In fact, more and more research indicates that the causes of fibromyalgia and IBS are similar, and perhaps even identical. If you are suffering from symptoms of IBS with fibromyalgia syndrome, read on to discover more about this illness.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
IBS is a condition that affects the large intestine, commonly called the bowel. It is characterized by an extreme sensitivity to muscle contractions in the large intestine, which can cause symptoms including diarrhea and constipation.
Like fibromyalgia, IBS is classified as a functional disorder because there is no clear structural or chemical cause for the condition.
IBS is thought to affect as many as 70% of fibromyalgia sufferers. It tends to affect women more than men, although large numbers of men, women, and children are all affected by the syndrome.
Generally, women are three times more likely to develop IBS. People with both fibromyalgia and IBS tend to suffer from more severe symptoms than those with only one of the syndromes. If you have IBS and fibromyalgia symptoms, it is important that you find a treatment that can address both syndromes.
Onset of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Like fibromyalgia, IBS tends to occur after a particularly traumatic or stressful life event. IBS may begin after an illness, a move, or beginning a new job. Much like fibromyalgia, stress is one of the larger causes or irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
Stress exacerbates contractions, diarrhea, constipation, and flatulence. Other triggers include specific foods, especially chocolate, milk products, and alcohol, certain smells, and certain medications.