Valley Healthcare

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may be affecting the quality of your life and some of you may not even know it. At least 23% of the world’s population is affected by the “brain-gut” disorder and live in silence about its pain and discomfort. Although April, IBS Awareness Month, is coming to a close, it is never too late to learn how it affects you or your loved ones.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort, and altered bowel habit (chronic or recurrent diarrhea, constipation, or both – either mixed or in alternation).

Here are a few facts about IBS:

  • IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States (10 to 15% of the population). About 2 in 3 IBS sufferers are female. IBS affects people of all ages, even children.
  • The exact cause of IBS is not known. Symptoms may result from a disturbance in the way the gut, brain, and nervous system interact. This can cause changes in normal bowel movement and sensation.
  • Stress does not cause IBS. However, because of the connection between the brain and the gut, stress can worsen or trigger symptoms.
  • The impact of IBS can range from mild inconvenience to severe debilitation. It can control many aspects of a person’s emotional, social and professional life. Persons with moderate to severe IBS must struggle with symptoms that often impair their physical, emotional, economic, educational and social well-being.
  • IBS is unpredictable. Symptoms vary and are sometimes contradictory. Diarrhea can alternate with constipation. Long-term symptoms can disrupt personal and professional activities, and limit individual potential.
  • IBS can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.

For more facts and information about IBS, you can check out the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) website. You can learn some practical tips for living with IBS as well as ways to get involved or make a donation. And as always, Valley Healthcare is here to provide any answers you need or services you’d like to schedule – just call our main help line at 706-322-9599 to get more information on care providers who can help answer your personal questions about IBS.

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