Cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome


woman_with_ibsIrritable bowel syndrome is a symptom based diagnosis which is characterized by bloating, chronic abdominal pain, discomfort and alteration of bowel habits. Irritable bowel syndrome has no recognized organic-cause. Constipation or diarrhea may predominate, or alternate. IBS pain is credited to large intestine; however, there is no long lasting damage. IBS patients can often make changes in the levels of their stress and their diet in order to control the discomfort and pain.

Cause of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome has no specific cause. Researchers believe that a combination of mental and physical health problems can result to IBS. The most possible cause of irritable bowel syndrome includes:


Patients who suffer from IBS have a lesser pain threshold to stretching of the bowel caused by stool or gas compared with individuals who do not suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. The brain might process the pain signals from the bowel in a different way in persons with IBS.

Brain gut signal difficulties

The signal between the nerves of the large and small intestine and the brain, which is also known as the gut, is responsible for how the intestines work. Brain gut difficulties might be the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, such as the changes in discomfort, pain or bowel habits.

Mental health difficulties

Psychological or mental health difficulties such as anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and depression are the common in patients who suffer from IBS. The connection between IBS development and these disorders is still unclear. Irritable bowel syndrome including GI disorders is usually found in persons who have in the past reported sexual or physical abuse. Researchers believe that individuals who have been physical or sexual abused tend to show psychological stress via physical symptoms.

GI motor difficulties

Movement or normal motility might be seen in the colon of patients who suffer from IBS. Fast motility can lead to diarrhea and slow motility can lead to constipation. Unexpected strong contractions of muscles or spasms which come and go can result to abdominal pain. Some patients who suffer from IBS can also experience hyper reactivity, which is an unnecessary increase in bowel’s contractions in response to eating and stress.


It is still unclear if irritable bowel syndrome has a genetic cause, this means that it is not yet known if IBS runs in the families. Studies have proven that IBS is more frequent in persons whose family members have a history of GI difficulties. However, IBS cause could be as a result of heightened awareness of GI syndrome or it could also be environmental.

Bacterial gastroenteritis

Some individual who have bacterial-gastroenteritis which is an irritation or an infection of the intestines and stomach which is caused by bacteria can develop IBS. Researchers are still not sure why gastroenteritis is also a cause of irritable bowel syndrome to some individuals and not to others; however abnormalities of the lining of the GI tract and psychological problems may also be factors.

Food sensitivity

Many patients who suffer from IBS report that some certain beverages and foods might cause symptoms, for examples the foods which are rich in carbohydrates, fatty or spicy foods, alcohol or even coffee. However, patients with food-sensitivity usually do not have clinical-signs of food-allergies.


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