Overlaping Conditions: GERD and IBS

  • What happens when you treat acid reflux and you are still left with unexplained stomach or bowel issues.  The “burn” is gone but what is left isn’t much fun either.  It could be that you are dealing with both acid reflux and another condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). 

    My daughter Ella has dealt with this issue.  While on adult doses of PPI medications to control her GERD she would still have doubling over stomach pain.  Her GI was the first to suggest that she may also have a form of IBS lending to the pain that did not respond to acid blockers.

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition of the colon which can cause cramping, abdominal pain, bloating gas, diarrhea or constipation and alternating versions of each.  It doesn’t cause damage to the colon like Inflammatory Bowel Disease but it does cause the suffer considerable pain and can really affect the patients quality of life. 

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    Unfortunately, this combo is not uncommon.  A recent article in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that a higher percentage of patients with GERD also had a higher prevalence of IBD as well as those with IBD having a greater prevalence of GERD.  They found that  “This is more evidence that some systemic component underlies the pathophysiology of both of these disorders; the more severe the disorder the more the chance of having multiple symptoms and suffering from both GERD and IBS." (1).

    If your GERD or IBS treatment doesn’t seem to be addressing the entire issue it is possible that you have an overlap of both conditions.  Talk with your doctor and provide them with a detailed symptom list.  It is important to know if you have both diseases so that treatment can be tailored appropriately.

Published On: April 13, 2010