Complications of IBS

As irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not life-threatening, people who do not understand the condition are sometimes quick to trivialise it.

However, the symptoms of IBS often have a significant impact on a person’s day-to-day life. The pain, discomfort and inconvenience of IBS is very real and can have a deep psychological effect.

For example, it is estimated that three out of four people with IBS will have at least one episode of depression, and just over half will develop generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). This is a long-term condition that can cause feelings of unease, worry or fear.

You should visit your GP if you are feeling anxious or depressed. These conditions rarely improve without treatment and they could make your IBS symptoms worse.

Your GP will be able to recommend an effective treatment programme for you, such as antidepressants or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or a combination of the two.

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