What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Experts aren’t sure what exactly causes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), they know certain triggers can exacerbate symptoms. In this video, Kevin Soden, MD, a Sharecare medical advisor, explains some of these triggers.
[MUSIC PLAYING] KEVIN SODEN: The causes of irritable bowel syndrome
aren't understood well. But experts believe IBS is related to the nerves in your large intestine.
These nerves cause the smooth muscles in your colon to contract rhythmically. Problems with these nerve and muscle impulses
may cause the contractions to happen more quickly than usual, causing watery stools that haven't had adequate time to form or more slowly causing
hard and dry stools. In addition, these nerves may be more sensitive to gas and bloating, causing you to feel
intermittent, uncomfortable pain when there is a problem. People with IBS may have certain triggers
that make symptoms worse. It may be certain foods like chocolate, spicy foods, high-fat foods, alcohol, or certain vegetables.
For others, stress may be a trigger. In women, menstrual cycles cause large fluctuations
in hormones each month, which may factor into an increase in IBS symptoms for some. Because the causes aren't well understood,
neither are the risk factors. But people with anxiety and depression are more likely to have IBS symptoms,
as are those with a family history of the disease. Women and people under 45 are also more likely to have IBS.
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