What causes IBS?
IBS and Hormones
Experts are divided over what exactly causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) but there is some evidence that your gut has become oversensitive and has problems digesting food. 1
This may help explain to those of you, who despite doing everything possible to lead a healthy life, still get flare ups. There are common triggers which people often report can cause IBS to flare up.
Why do I have IBS?
Although it isn’t exactly clear what causes IBS, it is believed that those who suffer may have any, or all three of the following: 1
- Increased gut sensitivity
- Problems digesting food
- Psychological factors
We’ll talk you through each one in turn…
1. Increased gut sensitivity
There is a theory that people with IBS might be oversensitive to their nerve signals during digestion. 1
Your nerves may be over eager to tell your brain that you are hungry or full, or that you need to go to the loo so a bout of indigestion could feel more like extra painful abdominal pain.
If this sounds familiar, it could help explain why, for example, indigestion seems to be a lot more painful for you than your friends.
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2.Problems digesting food
In a normally functioning digestive system, food moves naturally through your gut thanks to a rhythmic squeezing and relaxing of muscles. If something affects your natural rhythm it can cause symptoms of IBS. For example, if food is pushed through too fast, you can get diarrhoea, or if it is slowed down too much - constipation.1
Signals between your brain and your gut can disrupt this normal process. So if you are suffering from unusual bowel movements you should talk to your doctor as there are treatments that can help regulate this process.
For more information on improving your digestion and IBS non-medically as well as medically visit our product finder page.
3.Psychological factors may cause as well as trigger IBS
Sometimes the last thing you need is someone telling you IBS symptoms are all in the mind. Yet IBS could be made worse by stress and anxiety. The theory is that a build up of chronic stress can cause your body’s immune system to be less effective at handling anything that’s thrown at you - including infections too.2
We have more information here on breaking the stress-IBS cycle