Understanding IBS-C and CIC
What Is IBS-C?
IBS-C is defined as abdominal pain or discomfort that occurs together with constipation. These symptoms must be long-lasting or keep coming back. People with IBS-C also have hard or lumpy stools at least 25% of the time, and loose or watery stools less than 25% of the time.
While estimates vary, as many as 13 million adults may suffer from IBS-C in the U.S.
A recent survey showed that many IBS-C sufferers may experience multiple symptoms. The hallmark symptoms of IBS-C are abdominal pain or discomfort and constipation, but some patients may also suffer from gas pain, having hard or lumpy stools, and straining when having a bowel movement.
What Causes IBS-C?
The exact cause of IBS-C symptoms is unknown, but researchers believe there may be several factors involved. One reason may be that the nerves in the intestines are extra sensitive, so IBS-C sufferers feel more pain or discomfort around their stomach area than those who do not have this condition.
In addition, the colon may be absorbing too much fluid from the stool, or the muscles in the colon may be moving too slowly. This can cause the stool to become dry, hard, and difficult to pass.
Another cause could be a miscommunication between the brain and the gut. Since the gut is controlled by signals from the brain, disruptions in these signals could cause changes in bowel habits as well as pain or discomfort.
Since people with IBS-C experience it differently, it's important to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms.
What Is CIC?
Constipation is very common. Almost everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. But if your constipation is long-lasting or keeps coming back, your constipation may be chronic. Chronic Constipation without an identifiable cause is also referred to as Chronic Idiopathic Constipation or CIC. "Idiopathic" means the cause of constipation is unknown.
While estimates vary, as many as 35 million adults may suffer from CIC.
CIC is generally defined as reduced stool frequency, difficulty passing stools, or both. Symptoms must be chronically present.
A recent survey showed that patients with CIC suffer most frequently from constipation symptoms, including having hard or lumpy stools, incomplete evacuation (not completely emptying their bowels), and straining when having a bowel movement. Some patients may also experience symptoms of abdominal discomfort and gas pain. The symptoms of CIC are frequent and bothersome to sufferers.
What Factors Contribute to CIC?
Several factors may contribute to the development of CIC.
One factor of CIC is that the colon may be absorbing too much fluid from the stool. This can result in hard stools that are difficult to pass. In addition, the muscles of the colon may be contracting slowly. When these muscles contract too slowly, it reduces the movement of stool through the colon, causing infrequent stools.
There is evidence to suggest some patients may have diminished sensitivity, which may reduce the urge to have a bowel movement, while others may have extra-sensitive nerves that can cause them to experience discomfort.
Since people with CIC experience it differently, it's important to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms.