Being diagnosed with IBS in Los Angeles isn’t a rare occurrence. Nationwide, about 10 to 20 percent of the adult population has irritable bowel syndrome. There are many reasons why this condition is so prevalent. Dietary habits, lifestyle and environmental factors can all increase your risk of developing IBS, making it difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of the condition.
Perhaps it is the high prevalence of the condition, or maybe the discrepancies in the reason for the development of the disease, but it seems that there are more myths circulating about IBS than many other health conditions out there. This can make it very hard to get your facts straight—especially if you have recently been diagnosed with the syndrome.
Here are five of the biggest myths circulating about IBS and the facts to set them straight:
IBS only affects women.
This just plain isn’t true—many men are diagnosed with the condition. However, it is true that IBS is much more common among women. IBS can develop regardless of gender or age.
Only a colonoscopy can diagnose IBS.
A colonoscopy is necessary to rule out other conditions that may be mistaken as IBS, including forms of IBD like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. However, process of elimination and an analysis of your medical history can reduce the need for a colonoscopy. Your colorectal specialist may still recommend a screening examination to ensure there is no damage present in your intestines.
IBS increases your risk of cancer.
This is a pretty big concern among those with IBS. By certain estimates more than 20 percent of IBS patients thought they were at an increased risk of getting cancer, but this belief could be causing unnecessary worry. There is no evidence of a strong link between irritable bowel syndrome and cancer.
Diet cures IBS.
Following a well-balanced diet is highly recommended to reduce IBS flare-ups, but as anyone with IBS can attest, sometimes even following the careful diet isn’t enough to eliminate symptoms. Certain foods are well-known triggers, but diet isn’t always enough to control IBS.
IBS is the result of food allergies.
What is true is that sometimes food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances are misdiagnosed as IBS. However, talking with a colorectal specialist can help you find the correct diagnosis for your condition. To find out if your digestive troubles could be associated with a food allergy it is highly recommended you keep a food journal and track what you eat.
IBS is also associated with depression, anxiety and genetic factors. While all of these may play some role in the development of IBS, the connection is not scientifically proven and does not apply to all cases of IBS. Stress can impact your digestive health, so practicing good stress management practices is always recommended.