Potential causes and risk factors for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS involves bloating, cramping and frequent trips to the bathroom that can occur without any warning. Some individuals suffer from IBS at some point in their lives but only half are properly diagnosed with the condition. By being aware of the causes and risk factors for IBS, it can help reduce the frequency of outbreaks as well as take the appropriate steps for prevention. By enrolling in a first aid class, you can readily manage the symptoms of this condition.

What are the causes of IBS?

Until today, doctors could still not determine what exactly causes IBS but many believe that it can be due to mental health and physical factors. There are certain issues that are believed to trigger the flare-up of IBS.

Gastrointestinal issues

The ability of the colon to move during digestion might be slow, thus causing constipation or too fast which results to diarrhea.

Problems with the brain-gut signals


A common trigger of IBS is sensitivity to certain foods.

The messages transmitted from the brain to the intestines that were not sent or were not properly received might cause the intestines to work erroneously during the digestive process and result to cramping.

Bacterial gastroenteritis

If the individual has a bacterial infection in the intestines, it might lead to the manifestation of the symptoms of IBS. This would require proper assessment by a doctor so that proper treatment can be started.


An individual who has a low pain threshold can feel the pain of cramping or bloating more intensely that those who have high tolerance for pain.

Bacterial change in the small intestines

If there is a change in the types of bacteria inside the small intestines, it was discovered in some studies that it can lead to diarrhea and excess flatulence.

Mental health issues

Take note that stress can worsen health conditions including IBS. It is believed that there is a connection between depression or panic attacks and IBS. Nevertheless, whether mental health triggers physical symptoms or worsens them is not known.


There is a possibility that IBS runs in the family. On the other hand, it is still uncertain whether this is due to a genetic line or due to environmental factors.

Sensitivity to certain foods

A common trigger of IBS is sensitivity to certain foods. Some of the usual problem-causing foods include alcohol, coffee, carbohydrates, spicy foods, fatty foods and dairy products. The intestines might not be able to properly absorb certain components of these foods.

What are the risk factors?

  • Individuals under 35 years old since those who have IBS experience symptoms before they reach this age.
  • Women are prone to develop this condition than men
  • Those who have a family history of IBS. In case a parent or sibling has IBS, there is likelihood that the individual will also end up with the condition.

Based on studies conducted, it is still unclear as to whether the family link is due to genetics, shared environmental factors or the combination of both.


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