6 Common Irritable Bowel Syndrome Misconceptions

Posted on: 23 March 2021

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that causes the intestines to become inflexible and sensitive, producing abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and a change in stool habits. It's the most prevalent gastrointestinal disorder worldwide, with 10-15% of the population suffering from symptoms.

However, despite being so common, irritable bowel syndrome has numerous myths and misconceptions surrounding it. Here are the top six myths you should know.

Myth #1. Cutting out dairy and gluten can get rid of IBS symptoms.

Although people with IBS often respond to a diet that limits the intake of certain foods that they react to, this is not the best approach for everyone. Cutting out dairy and gluten from a healthy diet is unlikely to have any immediate benefits unless you have another underlying health conditions.

Myth #2. Leaky gut syndrome causes IBS.

Leaky gut syndrome describes a condition in which the lining of the intestine becomes inflamed and permeable. This syndrome is not related to IBS because IBS affects the entire gastrointestinal tract, whereas leaky gut syndrome specifically targets the small intestines.

Myth #3. IBS damages the intestines.

The lining of the intestines actually becomes thicker over time in patients with IBS due to inflammation and injury. However, oftentimes patients experience symptoms that make them believe that their intestines are damaged or will become damaged if they do not take care of the problem. The misconception can be very overwhelming for patients, but there is no reason to panic.

Myth #4. IBS is a psychological disorder.

Changing bowel habits may cause discomfort and distress, especially in social situations. This can cause a person to think of IBS as a psychological disorder when in reality it is a physical condition. Although stress can sometimes worsen symptoms, this is still not the same thing as a psychological disorder.

Myth #5. You can't get rid of IBS.

IBS is not life-threatening and will not lead to death if left untreated, but it can severely impact your quality of life if it is not taken care of correctly with effective treatments. It should be noted that, for the most part, this condition cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be treated effectively so that they do not impair a person's lifestyle.

Myth #6. Stress can cause IBS.

While stress and psychological disturbances are sometimes seen as a sign or cause of irritable bowel syndrome, this is not always true. The cause of IBS is unclear, but it's not related to an emotional state or any other psychological factors. People who have stress and anxiety tend to have an increased number of symptoms associated with IBS, such as gas and diarrhea, but these are unrelated to the condition itself.

If you think you have IBS, consult with a physician about IBS treatment.