Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a functional disorder of the bowel. This disorder is characterized by diarrhea alternating with constipation, chronic abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort and bloating.
Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome has not yet been determined. However, a significant amount of clinical research has been done to find the causative factors of irritable bowel syndrome. Studies have shown that the neurotransmitter serotonin may be important in the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, by altering the function of nerve cells in the bowel and causing changes in pain sensation and bowel function.
According to the scientists, there are certain factors that can trigger the onset of irritable bowel syndrome. These trigger factors are mentioned below:
- Emotional stress can trigger the onset of irritable bowel syndrome
Many persons suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have often reported extreme emotional stress such as anxiety and depression, before the development of this condition. Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disorder and strong emotions or certain life changing events such as divorce, the death of a loved one or even a natural calamity can seriously affect the individual and may help to trigger the onset of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Certain dietary habits may play a role in the development of irritable bowel syndrome
According to some scientists, intake of a spicy diet, junk food or irregular eating habits can trigger the onset of irritable bowel syndrome, especially diarrhea predominant type of irritable bowel syndrome. In other cases, the consumption of a low fiber diet or a diet that is lacking in high fiber foods can lead to the development of constipation and eventually trigger the onset of constipation predominant type of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Intolerance of certain foods is the commonest cause of irritable bowel syndrome
Some theories suggest that the most common cause of irritable bowel syndrome is food intolerance. This is especially true in cases of lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest the sugars that are present in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance may lead to the development of irritable bowel syndrome. Another condition that can play a vital role in the development of this bowel disorder is gluten intolerance. Gluten is present in wheat and other grains.
- Infection of the intestine can cause the onset of irritable bowel syndrome
Infectious disease, especially infection of the gut can cause irritable bowel syndrome. Health care professionals can often track down the onset of irritable bowel syndrome in an individual after the person suffers from an episode of gastroenteritis. Many people suffer from gastroenteritis as a result of consumption of contaminated food and water. But why some people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome after an episode of gastroenteritis is still not known.
- Medications can trigger the onset of irritable bowel syndrome in some people
According to some scientists, certain medications such as antibiotics, antacids and painkillers when consumed in excess can trigger the onset of irritable bowel syndrome.