Irritable Bowel Syndrome Causes, Prevention, and Symptoms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the large intestine whose symptoms include bloating, gas, cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, often switching back-and-forth. IBS is a chronic condition that does not abate easily and can last a lifetime. There is not known cure, though there are medications, some of which are very expensive. IBS affects a small number of the overall population, and some of these can control their symptoms through diet and other lifestyle changes.

Can Food Poisoning Cause IBS?

There is a great deal of medical research that has linked the onset of IBS to gastrointestinal illness, and in many cases an experienced epidemiologist an/or gastroenterologist will make a determination that a person should be classified as suffering from post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS). The determination is often made following an evaluation an comparison of pre-gastroenteritis gastro-health and the same following the gastroenteritis, such as from ingestion of Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, or Cyclospora.

People with PI-IBS will make a significantly greater number of healthcare visits each year compared with non-IBS patients, and incur significant medical costs. In one study of managed care costs, IBS compared with non-IBS controls increased annual medical costs by 49%. (Patel RP, Petitta A, Fogel R, Peterson E, Zarowitz BJ. The economic impact of irritable bowel syndrome in a managed care setting. J Clin Gastroenterol 2002;35:14-20). For example, patients with IBS incurred an average direct cost of $5,049 and $406 out of pocket expenses in 2007. Levy RL, Von Korff M, Whitehead WE, et al. Costs of care for irritable bowel syndrome patients in a health maintenance organization. Am J Gastroenterol 2001;96:3122-9).

What are the Symptoms of Post-Infectius Irritible Bowel Disease?

Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Disease causes:

  • Abdominal pai with cramping and bloating;
  • Ongoing and unabated diarrhea;
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation; and
  • Mucus in the stool

Certain foods, such as spicy foods, fatty foods, or alcohol can exacerbate the PI-IBS.

Do Doctors Diagnose a Person with IBS following Food Poisoning?

Doctors can classify a person’s illness as post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS), following the onset of Salmonella, E. coli or another pathogen, but it usually takes time. Multiple visits are often necessary, coupled with certain facts such as the fact that there are no other medical causes, such as diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, etc., and the fact that the symptoms are not going away. A strong diagnosis of PI IBS include:

· Recent gastrointestinal illness prior to the onset of the symptoms, such as Salmonella infection, which is a well-known cause of PI-IBS;

Satisfaction of at least two of the Rome Diagnostic Criteria for IBS; and
A negative history of gastrointestinal disease prior to the bout of Salmonella or another gastrointestinal pathogen.
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