Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects the colon, which is also known as the large intestine. The person may experience abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome is also known as spastic colon, mucus colitis or functional bowel disease. It is not a life-threatening disease, nor is it cancerous or contagious. The disease causes discomfort and stress, disrupting daily activities and often affects the sexual life of the patients.
Smoking worsens the symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome. The symptoms of IBS are worsened by tobacco and it does not matter whether the tobacco is chewed, smoked or inhaled. The fact is that tobacco is a very potent gastrointestinal tract irritant, a carcinogen and a stimulant. Patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract and are therefore very susceptible to some stimuli that may include certain foods, tobacco, caffeine and alcohol. Of all these stimulants, tobacco is probably the worst.
In general, smoking and tobacco affects all the parts of the human digestive system. It is the biggest cause for cancer. Smoking causes heartburn and reflux, the two triggers for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Smoking also damages the esophageal sphincter causing the acidic contents in the stomach to flow upwards into the esophagus.
Ulcers are caused by the helicobacter pylori bacteria; however, peptic ulcers are caused due to smoking of tobacco. Smoking prevents healing of the ulcers causing it to recur more often. The reason for this is that smoking aggravates the ulcer perforation tenfold. Besides triggering irritable bowel syndrome and causing ulcers, smoking increases the possibility of Crohn’s disease and lead to the formation of gallstones.
Nicotine found in tobacco has addictive properties and is a toxin that tends to weaken the esophageal sphincter. This leads to the increased production of acid in the stomach and reduces the generation of sodium bicarbonate that is important in counterbalancing the stomach acid.
Besides nicotine, tobacco contains about four hundred toxins and forty three carcinogens.
These harmful substances are carried by the bloodstream to the digestive tract, thus triggering IBS symptoms. Inhaling tobacco smoke can cause gas, belching and bloating that are symptoms of IBS.
Smoking is known to cause cancer of the colon, the kidney, bladder, stomach or pancreas. Long term smoking increases the likelihood of colorectal cancer. The carcinogens in the tobacco smoke enter the colon and tend to increase the polyp size which may lead to cancerous growth. Studies have shown that twelve percent of colorectal cancers are due to smoking.
As we all know, smoking is injurious to health. Smoking increases the incidence of irritable bowel syndrome and can lead to more serious diseases like cancer. Thus, for the sake of your health, quit smoking and lead a healthy life.