Gut Feelings Matters: April Marks IBS Awareness Month

 IBS Awareness Month
6 Apr 2024
8 mins
Table Of Content
Gut Feelings Matters: April Marks IBS Awareness Month

    The first step towards change is awareness! Every year in April, the world recognizes and celebrates Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. IBS is widespread; the prevalence ranges from 5% to 10% globally. However, many people go untreated, unaware that their symptoms point to a recognized medical condition.


    Importance Of IBS Awareness Month 


    IBS patients reported worsening physical discomfort, exhaustion, and social performance. IBS can be confidently diagnosed earlier with the help of early screening, especially in the risk group. This could help to reduce the disorder's high financial and human costs. Greater public understanding of IBS can aid patients in overcoming the stigma associated with their signs and symptoms so they can see a doctor sooner to get a diagnosis and start an effective therapy. This explains why IBS Awareness Month is necessary and significant.


    History Of IBS Awareness Month


    In 1997, the IFFGD declared April to be IBS Awareness Month. To combat the challenges of a chronic GI disease, Ms. Norton and William F. Norton founded the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) in 1991. They changed the organization's status from a local association to an international nonprofit. Since its inception, IFFGD has given millions of people information, assistance, and support. The IFFGD also conducts educational workshops on these specialized GI topics for doctors and carers as part of its mission to help patients. The governing body of the IFFGD comprises medical professionals, specialists in incontinence and digestive health from a variety of healthcare fields, as well as non-medical experts from the legal and commercial sectors.


    ABCD Of IBS Symptom


    Experts define IBS as a set of symptoms. These symptoms, known as the ABCDs of IBS, include:


    A is for abdominal discomfort

    B is for bloating

    C is for constipation

    D is for diarrhea.


    Other IBS symptoms include flatulence (gas), fatigue, depression, and stress. 


    What Causes IBS? 


    Here are the three factors that can cause IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome is named a multifactorial condition because of the following reasons:


    The gut is your second brain 


    Have you ever wondered why IBS is known as a brain-gut disorder? 


    Every one of us experiences our emotions and expressions in the gut. We strongly believe in our gut instincts because our brain and gut are connected through several nerves and hormones, and it is a two-way process. So, exposure to stressful conditions can affect your gut health and your serotonin (a feel-good hormone) levels. Stress is the triggering factor to aggravate IBS symptoms. And you may experience the IBS symptoms continuously, even after the pressure is gone.


    How Does Your Stress Impact The Gut?


    When you are stressed out, your brain sends signals to your gut affecting its functions that involve digestion primarily. This further leads to disruption in the digestive process and gut bacteria, producing a bloated abdomen. As digestion gets affected, gut motility is also altered, affecting your stool frequency and changing its consistency. 


    Changes in gut flora or Microbial dysbiosis: Normally, our gut contains certain microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Millions of microorganisms reside in our intestines and play an essential role in maintaining the integrity of gut health. Surprisingly, there are trillions of bacterial cells present in our bodies. The gut microbiomes control digestion, and if there is any alteration in the gut flora, it can eventually lead to causing Irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, these microbes also help regulate cholesterol, blood sugar, and body weight levels.


    Infection: IBS can also develop after gastroenteritis, an infection that causes severe diarrhea.  


    Hormonal imbalance: "There is a link between your periods and IBS" because hormonal changes can make your gut sensitive, and IBS symptoms flare up. Menstruating women are often affected by IBS due to fluctuations in their hormone levels. The reason is that during menses, there is an increase in prostaglandins responsible for causing inflammation and contraction of smooth muscles that lead to diarrhea. But, before the onset of periods, your progesterone levels dominate, which may cause slow bowel action that results in constipation.


    Irritable Bowel Syndrome Prevention 


    The following are some general hints for relieving irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.


    • Only eat handmade meals prepared using fresh ingredients.
    • Avoid foods that are greasy, hot, or processed.
    • Keep track of your dietary supplements and attempt to avoid things that cause IBS by correlating your symptoms with the food you eat.
    • Try not to skip or postpone any meals.
    • Get plenty of meditation or other relaxation and fitness exercises.
    • Avoid eating more than three portions of fresh fruit per day.
    • A maximum of three cups of tea or coffee per day is permitted.
    • Do not try to eat too quickly
    • Avoid alcoholic beverages and fizzy drinks.


    Fact sheet - IBS 


    • According to research, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) prevalence in the Indian community ranges from 10% to 20%.
    • Women are up to 2 times more likely to have IBS than males.
    • People under the age of 50 are more prone than those beyond the age of 50 to acquire IBS.
    • If you have a family history of IBS, you are likely to have IBS.


    Always Trust Your Gut!


    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a complex and frequently severe disorder affecting millions worldwide. Even though there is no known cure for IBS, several therapeutic options are available to assist control symptoms and improving quality of life. It is critical to promote awareness about IBS during IBS Awareness Month 2023 and encourage people to get proper diagnosis and treatment.

    We can assist in eliminating the stigma associated with IBS by educating and advocating for better understanding among healthcare providers, family members, and friends. We can work towards a future where IBS does not prevent people from enjoying full and healthy lives by funding research and increasing access to appropriate treatment options. We can make a difference and improve outcomes if we work together.

    Written by
    Dr. VijayalakshmiMedical Content Writer
    AboutDr. Vijayalakshmi is a Medical Content Writer at MrMed. She completed her Bachelor of Dentistry (BDS) from Sri Ramakrishna Dental College, Coimbatore, in 2022, where she expertise in dental and clinical research. During her internship, she has also worked on various research projects and presented scientific papers in national UG seminars. Post her UG, she has upskilled in pharmacovigilance regulations and clinical trial methodology through certification courses. She is proficient in researching, writing, editing, and proofreading medical content and blogs.
    Tags :IBS awareness monthIrritable bowel syndromeIBS causesIBS prevention