Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Complications & Risks

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  IBS.  Don’t Let It Stop You.

Irritable syndrome, abbreviated IBS, is a disorder of unknown etiology, or cause.  Normalcy is punctuated by bouts of constipation, diarrhea or both.  IBS is one of the most common disorders seen by a proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon.

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The symptoms of  IBS can be controlled.  But, as of now, IBS cannot be cured.  Research has examined many different causes for the disease, but none has been proven. Entities reaching the level of research have included, infections, autoimmune disorders (situations in which the body’s own defense system turns against itself), trauma and psychological difficulties.  Given the sets of symptoms brought on by IBS,  the activities of daily life can be impacted.

First, What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of IBS relate to three areas.  They are:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea and constipation.

While seemingly self explanatory, these symptoms deserve explanation.  We all know that constipation is related to difficulty in having bowel movements and the resultant discomfort and bloating.  Diarrhea is well known by all of us.  Diarrhea may be explosive or minor; acute or chronic.  Diarrhea requires that the sufferer remain close to a toilet.

Perhaps worse, is the combination of both constipation and diarrhea.  The need to remain close to a toilet alternates with the desire, almost the wish, to be able to use the toilet, as the sufferer awaits a bowel movement.

Second, What Are The Complications of IBS?

IBS is not associated with cancer.  But the complications are very serious.

With diarrhea or constipation, or both, social engagements are often disrupted or broken.  Planning becomes impossible.  The social stigma may be overwhelming.  Well intentioned friends may be put off by the symptoms of IBS.  Even with the most patient and understanding friends, there may be psychological difficulties associated with IBS.  This, in turn, may lead to social isolation, depression and further withdrawal.  A never ending spiral.

Sexual intimacy may be impacted.  Imagine intimacy with the constant, nagging thought about possible impending intestinal actions running through the mind.  The loss of close, intimate sexual contact can become very depressing.  Sexual activity can become unappealing and even painful.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

IBS cannot yet be cured.  But, the symptoms can be controlled with medication and counseling.  The board certified surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates are skilled listeners and skilled physicians, with many years of experience treating IBS and its manifestations.

By calling (310)273-2310, you can schedule a confidential consultation and begin the diagnostic evaluation of a difficult problem.  The staff and surgeons will help you through the process on the path to a more balanced life.  It is important that you break the psychological hold that IBS may have on you. The journey to health begins with the first step.

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