We all know about Heart Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but most of us don’t know that April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. IBS is a disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Those who suffer from IBS experience cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. As if this doesn’t sound painful enough, IBS is a chronic condition, which means it needs to be managed long term.
People who live with IBS have to deal with discomfort on a daily basis, but there is no way to predict when symptoms could flare up and worsen in severity. If IBS is mismanaged, it can disrupt someone’s entire life: their work, social life, and exercise regimen just to name a few.
The cause of IBS is unknown; however, health experts believe that it could be due to faulty communication between the brain and the intestinal tract. This miscommunication causes abnormal muscle contractions that can cause cramping. Other medical professionals believe that IBS can be triggered by diet, stress, illness, and even the use of certain medications.
Despite the uncertainty over its cause, one thing is for sure: IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in America. It affects 1 in 5 Americans, which is 20% of the country’s population! That means that you probably know someone who is suffering from IBS and its painful symptoms.
IBS can affect a person’s relationships, career, education, and even family life. Its impact on a person is not just physical, it’s also emotional. This is why Irritable Syndrome Awareness Month is so important. It encourages those who are experiencing these symptoms to seek medical expertise. It also aims to reduce the stigma associated with IBS by encouraging people to talk more openly about the topic.