Fact Sheet: The Neurobiology of Stress and Emotions106
We often hear the term “stress” associated with functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many patients experience a worsening of symptoms during times of severely stressful life events. But what is stress? How often does it occur? How does our body respond to stress? This article explores the mechanisms that link stress and emotions to responses that have evolved to ensure survival and that, in the modern world, affect health – including gastrointestinal function.
Over a decade ago, investigators noted that approximately half of the women attending a gynecology clinic had symptoms (e.g., abdominal pain, change in bowel pattern) compatible with a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Since that study, a number of other studies have demonstrated a higher prevalence of gynecologic disorders, such as pain associated with menstruation (dysmenorrhea) and premenstrual distress syndrome in women with IBS as compared to those without IBS.
Fact Sheet: IBS in Men: A Different Disease?166
The gastrointestinal tract is anatomically gender-neutral. While its furthest extremity is in proximity to the genital organs, surgeons, endoscopists, anatomists, and pathologists observe no differences between the intestines of males and females. It should follow that symptoms and other manifestations of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be the same in men as it is in women. This appears not to be so. This article concentrates on gender differences in the epidemiology, symptoms, physiology, psychosocial issues, and responses to treatment of IBS. Reviewed and updated 2009.
Fact Sheet: Pregnancy and Irritable Bowel Syndrome183
Does pregnancy exacerbate gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in women with functional bowel disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) specifically? This question is relevant for a number of reasons. First, women of reproductive age represent a significant portion of patients with IBS. Second, there is evidence that reproductive cycling (i.e., menstrual cycle) influences symptom reports and bowel transit. This suggests that ovarian hormones, which are elevated in pregnancy, may contribute to GI symptoms. Third, little is known about effective treatment strategies for pregnant women with IBS. This report is intended to address what is known about the potential role of pregnancy in the symptoms of IBS.
Fact Sheet: Is it IBS or Something Else?195
Physicians can usually identify irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) from patients' symptoms. Many patients additionally require only routine blood tests and a colon evaluation, and some require no tests at all to secure the diagnosis. However, some patients worry that they could have another cause for their symptoms, especially when symptoms are severe and chronic, or they know other people who they think had similar symptoms but a different disorder. Occasionally, another medical problem mimics IBS symptoms. This discussion focuses on how IBS is diagnosed and distinguished from other disorders. Reviewed and updated 2009.
Fact Sheet: Sex Differences in Abdominal Pain223
Experimental and clinical studies highlight the existence of sex-related differences in the perception of and responsiveness to painful stimuli. Sex-related differences in pain processing and responsiveness in general have been documented in experimental studies using animal models, and pain is experienced differently by men and women. Sex-related differences have also emerged in the search for new IBS-specific medications.Topics: Brain-Gut, Cause, diagnosis, Gender, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain, Pain Management, Symptoms, Treatment
This Clinical Corner article discusses how constipation and bloating are affected by menstruation, especially in women with IBS, and offers some tips for controlling the bowel symptoms and the pain.Topics: Clinical Corner, Constipation, difficult to pass stools, Gas, Bloating, Belching, Gender, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lower Abdominal Pain, Pelvic Pain, Pain Management
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