Is IBS Hereditary? – The 64 Million Dollar Question

Fact 1: 30% of the UK population are affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS.

Fact 2: In the United States of America, IBS rivals the common cold for the major cause of absenteeism among employees.

Fact 3: An estimated 25% of IBS cases are triggered by a bout of gastro-enteritis or food poisoning.  

If you’re from the UK or the US, these facts must bother the heck out of you. And why not? You know the symptoms: diarrhea, constipation, variable bowel habit, alternating diarrhea and constipation, colicky abdominal pain, often relieved by passing wind or stools, bloating, heartburn, back pain and rumbling in the tummy. READ: IBS may be worse at times of stress. Women may find IBS worse after a period or after the menopause pointing to a link with oestrogen production. IBS can be made worse with certain drugs, such as long-term antibiotics, which kill off the normal bacteria in the gut, codeine, laxatives, and alcohol. Diagnosis can be a problem because symptoms vary. IBS is a disease of exclusion – in other words if you can rule out all other possibilities IBS is what you are left with. 

Technically speaking, IBS is a functional disorder of the gut where the normal movement of the gut is hurried along or spasms occur. Lots of research have been done to figure out some of its causes, and some research suggest that some of these causes could be hereditary in nature. There are also some research that suggest that IBS may be constitutional, meaning you have extra-sensitive muscles, or an overreaction to certain foods and chemicals. Some also mentioned that IBS may run in families perhaps because of a dietary or environmental link. 

Now, the 64 million dollar question on IBS:  Is there a big chance of you passing IBS to your children?  

IBS is not dangerous, it is not contagious, and it is not hereditary so it cannot be passed to your children. Although IBS is likely to persist for a lifetime, by making the necessary changes it is possible for some people to keep IBS under control most of the time.