IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is a condition that causes a great deal of discomfort for many people. It leads to cramping, constipation, diarrhea, and boating, which can be painful and inconvenient. IBS can also cause malabsorption, which is a serious issue because it hinders nourishment of the body.
Let’s take a look at what IBS is and how it’s related to the malabsorption of nutrients.
What Is IBS?
IBS is a condition of the gut, but it’s not a condition that’s related to the immune system like Crohn’s disease or colitis. People who suffer from IBS have a large intestine that does not always work properly during digestion.
Normally, when you digest food, it passes through your stomach and into the small intestines. Then, it goes on into the large intestine, or the colon, where it is squeezed out as waste.
With IBS, the intestines don’t squeeze enough or they squeeze too hard. Food passes too slowly or too quickly through the colon.
IBS and Malabsorption
Some people who have IBS do not get the nutrients they need because food is being squeezed out too quickly. The condition causes nutritional deficiencies, such as anemia, because nourishment is not in the body long enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
When iron is not absorbed, or the critical vitamin B12, anemia occurs. Anemia is a disorder of the blood that’s characterized by not having enough red blood cells or having red blood cells that are poorly formed.
People with IBS also suffer from low protein, which can sometimes cause mental impairments.
If you suffer from symptoms like fatigue, mental fogginess, diarrhea, or constipation, you should consider getting a blood test. A doctor can diagnose nutritional deficiencies like anemia through blood tests. Supplements are often suggested for patients who lack iron or vitamin B12.
Medical professionals also recommend that people with IBS try to manage stress, eat small nourishing meals often, and take fiber supplements if constipation is present instead of diarrhea. In extreme cases, an IBS sufferer may have to take medication so that the gut can heal.