Finding the right treatment for your inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) starts with identifying the cause.
IBS is an incredibly common problem. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean that we know everything about it. In fact, WebMD, and even most physicians, will tell you that there is no known cause of IBS. IBS is not one condition, but describes a broad group of digestive issues, and the reason why there is not a single known cause is because there are many things that can cause IBS. If you suffer from IBS, then knowing what triggers your symptoms is the first step towards finding relief. That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the most common causes of IBS.
#1. Gut Infections
The acid in the human gut is designed to naturally ward off infection caused by pathogenic bacteria. But there are many things in the modern lifestyle that can compromise this essential defense system, including poor diet, chronic stress and some medications. If your gut’s defense system is compromised, it puts you at risk for gut infections that have been linked with IBS. For example, Campylobacter is a bacteria that causes food poisoning, but it has also been linked to persistent and chronic IBS. Some intestinal parasites also have links to IBS, including Giardia lamblia, Dientamoeba and Blastocystis hominis.
#2. Small Intestine Bacterial Growth (SIBO)
SIBO is a condition in which there is an abnormally large amount bacteria growth, or the wrong kind of bacteria is present, in the small intestine, and there are strong ties between SIBO and IBS. In fact, one study conducted by The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that of the 202 IBS patients they worked with, 78 percent had SIBO. Of those participants with SIBO, 25 percent had their SIBO eradicated, and this group saw an improvement in their IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain and diarrhea.
#3. Gluten Sensitivity or Food Intolerances
Many people will tell you that the only people who really shouldn’t eat gluten are those who have celiac disease. However, many people who don’t have celiac disease experience a reaction to gluten, and this is called Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). Many people who suffer from NCGS present with symptoms that are indistinguishable from IBS, including gas, abdominal pain, bloating and changes in stool consistency and frequency. Gluten isn’t the only thing that can cause IBS-like symptoms to occur; many people have intolerances to eggs, dairy products, seafood and peanuts. In a study, The World Journal of Gastroenterology found that food intolerances and allergies, including gluten reactions, should be considered as an underlying cause of IBS.