IBS and Pregnancy

Dr Amit Basnotra, Dr Richa Sharma
To be mother is a strong desire of a female and to be parents of a couple,Pregnancy can be a smooth journey happening naturally and taking a natural course but situations are not same for everyone unfortunately.Some may have difficulty in conceiving and may have to take help of ART and others may have comorbidities and medical complications along and some have both.Whatever is situation we have to cope up and come out of it with ultimate aim of – Healthy Mother and Healthy Child.
Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) is one such Gastrointestinal condition which may be pre existing in a pregnant lady so such patients need to have proper well managed and organized guidance and treatment with multidisciplinary approach with empathetic ears with real world ideas for living well- keeping safety as priority and avoiding any short cuts and self remedies and it needs to be followed religiously from day one itself so that avoidable complications can be taken care of at inception only.Awareness is the key and ignorance cannot be an excuse if we suffer at end for lack of knowledge, so do proper home work and take assistance of authenticated sources
What is IBS ?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder and is a persistent and recurring condition that affects the gut with varied signs and symptoms in form of abdominal pain and bowel changes.
Incidence –
Approximately 2 in 3 people with IBS are female and are generally detected in childbearing age
Causative Factors-
Hormonal changes(Estrogen and Progesterone) during pregnancy may contribute to increased gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms besides the physiological changes and can act as a trigger
Other Factors can be-
* Food sensitivities
* Stress
* Depression
* Bacterial infections
Signs and Symptoms of IBS
Symptoms vary from person to person. Common symptoms may include:
* Pain Abdomen
* Excessive gas
* Burping
* Bloating
* Diarrohea
* Constipation
* Sudden urge to go to the bathroom
What You Need To Do ?
Seek Help at the earliest than adjusting with the illness and accepting as fate or part of course of pregnancy
Risks to General Health-
IBS can have a significant effect on a person’s quality of life
Risks To Pregnancy-
Pregnancy and IBS symptoms tend to overlap. High progesterone slows down motility, worsening constipation. It also affects sphincter function, leading to gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn. The changes in the pelvic floor due to the growing fetus and the increased abdominal pressure can also affect bowel movements in IBS.
Risk of dehydration
Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy(Pregnancy outside the uterus or womb)
Risk of Uterine Prolapse
However, there is still insufficient evidence to determine the link between pregnancy and IBS for all people who are expecting.
How To Cope up ?
Having IBS during pregnancy can be challenging and may need multitargetted approach
Dietary and lifestyle changes
Stres Management and to cope up with the symptoms with TLC(Tender Love Care) of family and spouse with moral support is most important
Whom To Approach ?
Seek help Of Gastroentrologist along with treating obstetrician and other specialities as per your doctors recommendations without second thought as waiting and sitting on any problem wont solve it till one has intent to do so
IBS in pregnancy may worsen or improve with varied presentations.However, studies related to pregnancy and IBS are still limited. It is always best for pregnant people to inform their doctors about any symptoms or changes they are experiencing at earliest.
(The authors are Senior Gastroentrologist Sir GangaRam Hospital, and Consultant Hongkong, Senior IVF Consultant, Delhi NCR)