What is the difference between IBD and IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are often confused and wrongly self-diagnosed due to some similarities in the symptoms of both. They are, however, two very different conditions.

IBS affects 1 in every 5 people, and is a functional disorder that restricts the digestive system, causing stomach pain and discomfort. IBD, which affects 1 in every 250 people, is a more serious medical condition that causes chronic swelling of the intestines.


What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is not considered to be a life-threatening illness, but it is a debilitating condition that can severely impact a person's quality of life. IBS is best understood as a recurring gastrointestinal disturbance, impairing the motor function and sensation of the gut and bowel. Highly prevalent among the adult population, IBS is second only to the common cold as the main cause of work absenteeism.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

  • Abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Constant feeling of needing to use the toilet
  • Diarrhoea, constipation, or both
  • Swelling and bloating of the stomach
  • Mucus in stool
  • Excessive flatulence
  • A feeling that you have not completely emptied your bowels after using the toilet

What causes IBS?

Digestive System

For people with IBS, food does not pass through the digestive system properly due to disrupted signals between the gut and the brain. These disrupted signals cause food to move too quickly (diarrhoea) or too slowly (constipation) through the digestive system. For those who suffer frequent diarrhoea, water from the food is not absorbed. For those who suffer constipation, too much water is absorbed, making it difficult to pass stool. In some cases, bile acid malabsorption can cause IBS.

Psychological Factors

There are psychological factors that can contribute towards IBS. Feelings of stress and anxiety can trigger chemical changes that hinder the digestive system. Research has found that some people with IBS may have had a traumatic experience in the past to make them more susceptible to stress and the symptoms associated with it.

Product Recommendation

Magastic EXTRA is a natural tablet containing mastic gum. Mastic gum has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and in one study showed to significantly decrease inflammation markers in patients with mildly to moderately active Crohn’s Disease.