IBS is quite common. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that about 12% of people in the United States have IBS.

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 not listed as a health condition that increases your risk of contracting COVID-19 or becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19.

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 associated with IBS and increased COVID-19 risk.

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 2020 study surveyed people with functional GI disorders like IBS and functional dyspepsia during the early part of the pandemic.

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.

A 2022 study looked at surveys from people with IBS referred to healthcare centers. Compared to before the pandemic, during the pandemic people with IBS reported more:

  • 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 2021 study found that compared to people without IBS, those with IBS reported that their emotional, psychological, and social well-being was significantly worse during the pandemic.

These effects can be greater for some than others. A 2022 study saw that those with comorbid anxiety or depression had worse IBS symptoms and psychological health during the pandemic compared to people with IBS that didn’t have these comorbid conditions.

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.

A 2022 study found the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 (RNA) in fecal samples of people that had had COVID-19. The presence of this RNA correlated with reported GI systems, indicating that the virus is infecting cells in the GI tract.

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.

A 2022 study followed up on 48 people 6 months after they first had COVID-19. Most of these individuals had no previous history of GI symptoms prior to their COVID-19 diagnosis.

The researchers found that 21 of the individuals had new GI symptoms. These were included.

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:

Other lifestyle changes can help with your symptoms as well. These include:

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.

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.