Inside The Most Common GI Disorder
Many patients with irritable bowel syndrome often never discuss their symptoms with their physicians. Some estimates suggest as few as one in five are diagnosed. But it clearly is the most common disorder of the gut.
At one time, most physicians believed that irritable bowel syndrome had a psychological cause. However, this is no longer believed to be true. People with irritable bowel syndrome have a lower pain threshold in their gastrointestinal tract compared with people who don't have irritable bowel syndrome. Even though irritable bowel syndrome is not a psychological illness, your emotions can definitely make the symptoms worse. So can a lot of other triggers, like certain foods or medications.
The heightened sensitivity to pain in the intestinal tract of people with irritable bowel has been well-documented. Brain imaging studies have been informative. The images show that in irritable bowel syndrome patients, signals of pain from intestinal contraction and bloating trigger brain activity differently compared with people who don't have IBS. People with irritable bowel syndrome feel the bowel expand at a much lower volume of gas than other people do.
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