Dr. Gruber Discusses Symptoms and Causes of IBS
Are you experiencing any of the following IBS symptoms? These are what most people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome commonly report:
- Abdominal pain and/or discomfort
- Change in bowel habit
- Diarrhea – 3 or more times a day of loose & watery stools along with urgency to have bowel movement.
- Constipation – experiencing less than 3 bowel movements a week. People may have difficulty passing hard, small or dry stools. When movements do occur, they may be painful and require work to pass.
- Incomplete bowel movement – having feeling that you still need to go.
- Mucus – IBS patients often pass mucus, a clear protective liquid that coats and protects the GI tract.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then you definitely want to check out our irritable bowel remedies and videos by Dr. Gruber concerning treatment and care.
Understanding the Gastrointestinal Tract
So now that we know more about irritable bowel syndrome, let’s take a look at what causes irritable bowel disorders. Because IBS originates in the gastrointestinal or GI tract, you should understand what the GI tract is and how it functions.
The gastrointestinal tract is made up of hollow organs that twist and turn on a long tubal passage between the mouth and anus.
You’re probably already familiar with the names of organs located in your GI tract: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Other parts of the large intestine include the appendix, colon and rectum (or anus). It is this latter part of your bowel system, the lower GI tract, where the symptoms of irritable bowel disorders start.
When you eat, the muscles contained in your GI tract move the food from your mouth through the esophagus and to your stomach for digestion. These GI muscle contractions push the food through to your small intestines. After leaving the small intestine, they travel to the large intestine, which absorbs water and additional food nutrients, and then transforms waste into solid material or stool. This stool moves from the colon into the rectum, which is located right at the end of the colon and the anus. The stool is then stored in the rectal location until a bowel movement occurs. And of course, when functioning correctly, the bowel muscles contract and move the stool from the rectum to the anus during a bowel movement.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Causes
Although researchers do not completely understand the actual cause of irritable bowel disorders, Dr. Gruber asserts that irritable bowel syndrome is a dysfunction of the immune, hormonal or nervous systems, or combination of the three.
Dr. Gruber Discusses Obstacles to Healing IBS
Click on the each of the possible causes below to learn more:
Signal Issues between Brain & Gut
The small and large intestines send signals back and forth with the brain in order for the intestines to function properly. A possible disturbance in this signal process may be the one of the causes of IBS symptoms, particularly bowel movement changes, pain and discomfort.
GI Motor Problems
People with IBS may not have normal movement in their GI tract. This slowness or lack of motility leads to constipation while fast motility brings on diarrhea. Abdominal pain typically results from sudden spasms or muscle contractions. Some IBS patients also have something called hyper-reactivity, which means they have a substantial increase in bowel contractions when under stress or after eating.
Those people dealing with irritable bowel syndrome also experience a lowered pain threshold related to gas or stools that stretch the bowel as compared to those without IBS. In fact, the brain may be processing bowel pain signals differently in those suffering from IBS.
Some IBS sufferers also commonly experience psychological issues like anxiety, panic disorders and/or depression. While the link between mental health and IBS is not completely clear, research suggests that psychological stress can translate into physical symptoms such as irritable bowel disorders.
When people contract bacterial gastroenteritis, which is a bacterial infection of the stomach and intestines, they often also develop irritable bowel disorder.
Overgrowth of Bacteria in the Small Intestine
Another potential cause of IBS is related to the overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria. There are usually very few bacteria that live in the small intestine so any change in the bacterial levels can create IBS symptoms. Bacterial overgrowth may create surplus gas, diarrhea and weight loss, which ultimately leads to irritable bowel syndrome.
People diagnosed with IBS usually have altered levels of neurotransmitters, which transmit nerve signals, and gastrointestinal hormones. Reproductive hormones may worsen IBS symptoms. Young women with IBS typically experience more IBS symptoms during their menstrual cycle while post-menopausal women have fewer symptoms.
Research studies indicate that IBS may run in families although the genetic link is not entirely clear just yet. IBS patients usually have family members with histories of GI issues, but it might be that there is just a heightened awareness of symptoms or environmental causes linked to the condition.
Some IBS subjects report food sensitivities related to alcohol and coffee as well as high carbohydrates, spicy and fatty foods. Despite the food sensitivity, these people do not typically have any other food allergies. Research suggests that symptoms related to ingestion of these foods or beverages may occur due to poor absorption of bile acids or sugars, which are responsible for breaking down fats and removing bodily wastes.