What Causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome Pain?

Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Irritable bowel syndrome pain can be severe and debilitating for many people who suffer from this condition. It can have a variety of causes, including intestinal spasms, problems involving the lining of the colon, or unusual colon sensitivity to food or stress. Abnormal serotonin levels or celiac disease may also be contributing factors in the development of irritable bowel syndrome pain.

Although the exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown, several symptoms and triggers are known to lead to pain from the condition. Intestinal spasms are perhaps the most common cause of this type of pain. These spasms frequently come and go with no particular warning and may lead to emergency bathroom trips, often causing embarrassment and decreased social functioning for the person suffering from this condition.

The lining of the colon may have functional issues that lead to pain. Although this lining appears to work as it should, improper fluid absorption sometimes occurs, potentially leading to too much or too little water in the stool and causing diarrhea or constipation. These fluid fluctuations often cause a great deal of irritable bowel syndrome pain.


Food or stress sensitivities are also potential causes of irritable bowel syndrome pain. It is unclear as to why some people are more sensitive to certain foods than others or why stress increases painful symptoms in some with this medical condition. Food diaries may help determine which foods tend to trigger symptoms on an individual basis. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga may help with stress relief.

Serotonin is a chemical that is produced naturally by the body and helps to carry messages from one area of the body to another. Abnormal serotonin levels may be a contributing factor for irritable bowel syndrome pain in some people. This is due to the fact that most of the serotonin in the body is found in the digestive tract, and abnormal levels of this chemical may lead to increased colon sensitivity.

Celiac disease is a type of medical condition in which a person's body cannot tolerate gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Even mild cases of celiac disease can lead to irritable bowel syndrome pain. Gluten sensitivities are relatively common, even in those who do not actually have celiac disease. For this reason, many people report a decrease in symptoms upon removing gluten from the diet.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?