Life With IBS and GERD


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In the alphabet soup of digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) aren’t just problematic on their own — they often occur together.

IBS causes belly pain along with changes in bowel habits, either diarrhea or constipation, or sometimes a combination of the two. GERD commonly causes acid reflux, commonly referred to as heartburn.

Several studies have found a strong link between GERD and IBS. A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology looked at data on more than 6,000 people and found that about 63 percent of those diagnosed with IBS had GERD symptoms, too. The research also showed that having both GERD and IBS was more common in women and that having both conditions resulted in more severe symptoms.

Another study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, found that the odds of having GERD symptoms were four times greater for people living with IBS than those without IBS.

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