Understanding the Relationship Between COVID-19 and IBS
IBS is quite common. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a challenge for people with chronic conditions. If you have a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you may be wondering how COVID-19 can affect it.
We will cover what we know about the risk of having an irrthropological condition, whether or not it can make symptoms worse, and more.
New data on COVID-19 is constantly becoming available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does ongoing reviews of this data to determine whether or not various health conditions increase COVID-19 risk.
Currently, IBS is
However, IBS may happen along with another condition that can increase COVID-19 risk. This is called a comorbidity. Depression is an example of a condition that’s both
Even though having IBS doesn’t increase your risk of getting COVID-19 or becoming very sick from it, COVID-19 can still have an effect on IBS. People with IBS have reported worse physical and psychological symptoms during the pandemic. These effects aren’t due to the effects of a COVID-19 infection, but rather the stress related to the pandemic itself.
Stress is known to make IBS symptoms worse. From worries about getting COVID-19 to concerns about maintaining a job or managing finances, the pandemic has definitely come with its share of stress.
Much of this data comes from surveying people with IBS about their symptoms. For example, a
Compared to the control group, those with functional GI disorders had significantly worse digestive and psychological symptoms. The effect was strongest in those that had symptom overlap between IBS and functional dyspepsia.
- Issphagitis symptoms are severe.
- There are symptoms outside of the GI tract.
- sleep problems
- It is helplessness of feelings.
Other studies have supported the findings above. A
These effects can be greater for some than others. A
In order to enter a host cell, a virus needs to bind to a receptor protein on the outside of the cell. The receptor for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is called ACE2.
The GI tract is one of the areas where ACE2 is found. The GI symptoms can be caused by the potentially infectious SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers found that in a small percentage of people, viral RNA could be detected in fecal samples up to 7 months later. They thought that long-term infections of the GI tract could cause symptoms in long COVID.
There are other mechanisms that may contribute to GI symptoms. These may include:
- inflammation due to your immune system’s response to the infection
- disruption of the microorganisms that naturally live in your gut
- The immune responses that persist after COVID-19 are abnormal.
COVID-19 and IBS-like symptoms
Viral and bacterial infections can also sometimes lead to post-infectious IBS. In addition to the effects that the pandemic has had on people with IBS, there have also been reports of new IBS-like symptoms following COVID-19.
GI symptoms like There is abdominal pain. and There is a lot of diarrhea. are sometimes reported in long COVID. Long COVID is a collection of ongoing symptoms that may last weeks, months, or even years after a person has COVID-19.
The researchers found that 21 of the individuals had new GI symptoms. These were included.
- There is abdominal pain.
- It is a problem of the colon.
- There is a lot of diarrhea.
- stomach upset
These new symptoms were not always short-lived. Most of the study participants had GI symptoms at least once a week.
Meanwhile, a 2021 study found that 21 out of 200 participants (10.5%) reported having IBS-like symptoms after COVID-19. Factors associated with this included identifying as a woman and having a previous history of anxiety or depression.
What can you do if you develop aIBS-like symptoms? A combination of lifestyle changes and medication can be used to manage Irritable bowel Syndrome.
Lifestyle changes mostly revolve around making adjustments to your diet that aim to reduce your IBS symptoms. These can include things like:
- Avoid foods that contribute to your symptoms.
- increasing your fiber consumption
- limiting gluten intake
- implementing a low-FODMAP diet
- trying out a probiotic
Other lifestyle changes can help with your symptoms as well. These include:
- finding ways to lower your stress levels
- making sure to get enough sleep every night
- trying to get some exercise most days of the week
If lifestyle changes alone aren’t effective, your doctor may suggest medications. The exact medications depend on your specific symptoms but typically include those that aim to ease things like There is abdominal pain., There is a lot of diarrhea., and It is a problem of the colon..
Many people with the condition have psychological symptoms. Some people may benefit from receiving psychological therapy.
The gut-brain connection
While its exact cause is unknown, IBS is a condition that’s associated with how your digestive tract and brain interact with each other. This is called the gut-brain connection.
This connection goes both ways. Your brain can control the activity in your bicyle, but your gut health can also affect your mood and mental health.
Many people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome have other mental health conditions. If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is important to take care of your mental health. Some of the resources may be helpful to you.
- Long Covid Support was founded in the UK, but now helps people with Long Covid across the world.
- Survivor Corps is an American foundation that provides resources for those with COVID-19 as well as helps conduct research on those living with COVID symptoms.
- The IBS Patient Support Group hosts community forums, podcasts, and other resources to support those with IBS.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)site has lots of information about how and where to seek help for mental illness.
- The SAMHSA National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) is confidential and available 24/7 to help you get information on mental health resources, find treatment centers, and locate support groups.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) can help those having a mental health crisis or suicidal thoughts. It’s also confidential and available 24/7.
- The CDC has resources on
coping with stressand grief specifically dueto the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no correlation between the risk of contracting or becoming ill due to COVID-19 and the incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome have been associated with worsening physical and psychological symptoms.
Some people who have had COVID-19 experience symptoms similar to Irritable Disk Syndrome in the weeks or months after they become ill. The GI tract is a location where cells are direct infections.
If you have irrthropsy, implementing lifestyle changes may help. If you do not, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss treatment options.