VCU HPEX 354 - Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Stress

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Sukhmani SoniHPEX345: Coping and Adaption9/27/2021Irritable Bowel Syndrome and StressStress and Disease Writing Assignment: IBS and Stress Irritable Bowel Syndrome, otherwise commonly known as IBS is a gastrointestinal condition characterized by abdominal pains, constipation, diarrhea, inconsistent bowel movements, and all these symptoms are possible without actual damage or disease to a persons’ digestive tract. IBS is chronic and can be debilitating especially if gone untreated, affecting between 9%-23% of the population across the world, out of whom only around 12% of patients seek clinical care (Saha, 2014). The direct cause of IBS remains unclear but it often seems partially genetic/hereditary as it is commonly seen to run in families but unfortunately the true cause of IBS is still a mystery, “the etiology is poorly understood and many factors are involved”(Saha, 2014). Treatments can vary depending on the severity of symptoms patients can experience. For example, a common symptom for IBS patients to experience is fatigue even though that is not considered to be a gastrointestinal issue. The gut microbiome is also responsible for most of the bodies serotonin regulation, but it has been proven that serotonin regulation in individuals with IBS is abnormal. Serotonin is in cells called enterochromaffin cells, which are located in the bowel and plays a major role in regulating peristaltic effects and sensory relays in the gut (Saha,2014). The amount of serotonin plasma released in those affected with IBS is less than those without the condition. Specifically a subtype of IBS known as IBS-C otherwise known as constipation-predominant IBS has a reduced amount of serotonin and increased amount of IBS-Dor diarrhea-predominant IBS. This defect has been noticed in patients with IBS as well as ulcerative colitis, coupled with the insufficient amount of serotonin this disease can be quite a burden to anyone dealing with it.It is common knowledge that stress weakens the human body and thereby making us less immune to disease, IBS is no exception. The psychosocial attributes in IBS are important to consider because it can affect the method of treatment. The American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) research stress and its effects on the gut, research led to a few general observations. First, research found psychological stress exxagerates GI symptoms making the severity of diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and other symptoms much more intense. Research also discovered that the psychological and psychiatric co morbidity is represented among IBS affected individuals (Saha,2014) which inherently affects the patients experience with the illness,expectations, and treatment outcomes. Lastly it is important that their mode of treatment acknowledges all these factors whether it be through prescription medicine or psychological management (Saha, 2014).Those affected with IBS are at increased sensitivity to stress, which often cycles back andfurther effects patients symptoms negatively. In a study done by the biological research of nursing a total of 101 participants 35 of which do have IBS while the other 66 are a healthycontrol group self-reported perceived stress levels and quality of life and had blood drawn, those apart of the study reported no differences physiologically. Psychologically, however those 35 with IBS did report higher levels of perceived stress and a lower quality of life (Weaver et al., 2018). Treatment options and therapies vary depending on the severity of symptoms. Since stress does weaken the gut it is recommended to find healthy ways of coping/alleviating stress such as exercise and meditation. It is highly recommended for individuals to pay attention to their diets and decrease or eliminate food they suspect trigger IBS, this often includes gluten, dairy, and highly gassy foods. Instead what is recommended is a gut healthy diet that includes different fibers and probiotics.In conclusion the take home message is there is no denying the connection between stressof irritable bowel syndrome. Regular serotonin regulation is crucial to someone’s psychological well being and with most of the body’s serotonin being produced in the gut the connections between IBS and stress seems obvious, though it is difficult for the medical community to prove. What is important is how an individual copes and combats with the stresses to manage themselves not only physically but psychologically to live a higher quality life.Reference Page Saha, L. (2014). Irritable bowel syndrome: Pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and evidence-based medicine. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 20(22), 6759. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Definition & Facts for irritable bowel syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from, K. R., Melkus, G. D. E., Fletcher, J., & Henderson, W. A. (2018). Perceived stress,its physiological correlates, and quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Biological Research For Nursing, 20(3), 312–320.

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VCU HPEX 354 - Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Stress

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