Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term condition that causes pain or discomfort in the abdomen and an alteration of bowel habit. Irritable bowel syndrome can develop at any age, but irritable bowel symptoms in women can begin to be experienced between 15 and 40 years. Women are more likely to get IBS and irritable bowel symptoms in women tend to be more severe. It is one of the most common problems of the digestive system and affects approximately 1 in 5 people in the world. There really is no definitive answer as to why some people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and others do not, the symptoms cannot be diagnosed to a single organic cause.
Recent research reports that patients with IBS have a more sensitive and reactive colon than normal for a variety of things, including certain foods and stress, in addition to the immune system, which fights infections, is also involved. The gene may also play an important role. Some studies have shown that a person, who has irritable bowel syndrome, suffers from a brain-intestinal abnormality due to defective communication between the two areas of the body. It is believed that communications are confused, causing hypersensitivity in the colon. Symptoms of the irritable bowel in women vary greatly from mild abdominal discomfort, to stronger colic pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas. The lining of the colon (epithelium) that is affected by the immune and nervous systems regulates the passage of fluids into and out of the colon. Although with the Irritable Bowel Syndrome the epithelium does not seem to work properly, rapid movement of the contents of the colon can exceed the absorption capacity of the colon, resulting in excess fluid in the stool. In other circumstances, the movement of the colon is too slow, too much fluid is absorbed and constipation develops. In western countries the irritable bowel in women is twice that in men. Irritable bowel syndrome is largely considered a woman’s health issue even though men suffer from it too, but the symptoms are stronger and more frequently. Some research indicates that this could be due to physiological differences. Women have proven to be more sensitive to certain types of pain, (particularly the pain of internal organs) than men. Therefore pain that is considered debilitating for a woman can only be a nuisance for a man. Many women find that IBS symptoms are worse during certain phases of their menstrual cycle, such as pre-menstrual or ovulation. This has led to speculation that if female hormones exacerbate IBS, male hormones may be responsible for protecting men from IBS. In a study, it was observed that men with irritable bowel syndrome had lower hormonal levels than men who did not suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.
“This could mean that higher levels of male hormones in the body can prevent IBS symptoms”.
Another study showed that men who had a lower testosterone level experienced worse IBS symptoms.
Irritable Colon in Women and Ovarian Cysts:
Hormones are a very important factor to consider when it comes to determining irritable bowel syndrome and an ovarian cyst. Since the irritable colon in women is more frequent than in men, as are intestinal disorders and ovarian cysts that only affect women. Ovarian cysts are generally considered a functional disorder, which means that they develop when normal body function works abnormally, and they only form during the years that a woman is ovulating regularly. It is possible to acquire an ovarian cyst in the future, but it would have formed initially when the woman was still ovulating. Irritable bowel syndrome is also considered a functional disorder. There are a number of theories about the cause, and although there are triggers that have been identified, the cause of IBS remains a mystery. A common symptom present in both irritable bowel syndrome and functional ovarian cysts is abdominal pain. The pain experienced by individuals who have irritable bowel syndrome is mainly caused by the accumulation of gases from ingested air and gas formation from microorganisms that digest food, this puts pressure on the intestinal tract and colon. Pressure can cause distended intestines to come into contact with the ovaries, which also lead to pain experiences due to hypersensitive nerves in the area. Since women are more likely to suffer from IBS, and that IBS has been reported to be worse during menstruation, there seems to be a link between hormones and IBS. Generally, irritable bowel symptoms in women are more severe than in men and need more medications or treatment to relieve symptoms.
It seems that there are connections between psychological conditions and irritable bowel syndrome; once again depression and anxiety are generally more common in women than in men, which could also be related to irritable bowel symptoms in women.