Editor-s Choice: Oxy-Powder®

Causes of IBS

Causes of IBS

What causes one person to have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and not another? No one knows. Symptoms cannot be traced to a single organic cause. Research suggests that people with IBS seem to have a colon that is more sensitive and reactive than usual to a variety of things, including certain foods and stress. Some evidence indicates that the immune system, which fights infection, is also involved. IBS symptoms result from the following:

  • The normal motility of the colon may not work properly. It can be spasmodic or can even stop temporarily. Spasms are sudden strong muscle contractions that come and go.
  • The lining of the colon (epithelium), which is affected by the immune and nervous systems, regulates the passage of fluids in and out of the colon. In IBS, the epithelium appears to work properly. However, fast movement of the colon’s contents can overcome the absorptive capacity of the colon. The result is too much fluid in the stool. In other patients, colonic movement is too slow, too much fluid is absorbed, and constipation develops.
  • The colon responds strongly to stimuli (for example, foods or stress) that would not bother most people.

In people with IBS, stress and emotions can strongly affect the colon. It has many nerves that connect it to the brain. Like the heart and the lungs, the colon is partly controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which has been proven to respond to stress. For example, when you are frightened, your heart beats faster, your blood pressure may go up, or you may gasp. The colon responds to stress also. It may contract too much or too little. It may absorb too much water or too little.

Research has shown that very mild or hidden (occult) celiac disease is present in a smaller group of people with symptoms that mimic IBS. People with celiac disease cannot digest gluten, which is present in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. Foods containing gluten are toxic to these people, and their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. A blood test can determine whether celiac disease is present.

Contributors to IBS

The following have been associated with a worsening of IBS symptoms:

  • large meals
  • bloating from gas in the colon
  • medicines
  • wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk products, or alcohol
  • drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, or colas
  • stress, conflict, or emotional upsets

Researchers have also found that women with IBS may have increased symptoms during their menstrual periods, suggesting reproductive hormones and otherwise normal body-chemical functions can both serve as causes of IBS.

If you are looking for a high quality colon cleanser and constipation treatment we recommend Oxy-Powder®.

Have a question? Ask an expert.
[contact-form-7 id="1477" title="Ask An Expert"]