Community Views On The Link Between IBS and Endometriosis
Living with IBS has its own set of complications. In the 5th IBS In America survey, we learned that 12 percent of the women who took our survey also have endometriosis. Other studies have shown that those with endometriosis are 3 times more likely to have IBS. Both conditions can have a profound effect on the quality of life for millions in the United States.1
Knowing this, we asked the Facebook community: “Do you live with endometriosis in addition to IBS?”
We received roughly 60 comments from community members who say they have been diagnosed with endometriosis in addition to IBS. And they are not alone. We decided to take a look back at some of our articles written by our advocates about endometriosis and IBS.
Connecting the dots between IBS and endometriosis
Registered dietitian Andrea Hardy wrote The Overlap Between Endometriosis and IBS in 2020. In this article, she lays out the connection between the 2 conditions, treatments available, and when to speak up to your doctor.
“Studies show that up to half of the women with IBS report that their digestive symptoms, particularly abdominal pain, worsen during their periods. While this can be because of hormonal changes, endometriosis can also be frequently implicated. This begs the question: Are your gut symptoms resulting from IBS or endometriosis or both?” she wrote.
Laura’s article “Constipation After Abdominal Surgery” was published to our IBS community in 2020.
“As I have written about here before, I don’t just have IBS. I also have endometriosis and adenomyosis (when endometrial cell penetrates the muscle of the uterus – it’s as painful as it sounds). Well, I finally decided to bite the bullet at the end of last year and have a hysterectomy (which is the surgical removal of the uterus), along with radical endo excision.
As I wrote for Endometriosis.net, my surgery was overall pretty successful, and I am so glad I was fortunate enough to have it and have enough time to mostly recover before the pandemic hit. However, there was one main negative side effect of the surgery: constipation,” she wrote.
Visiting the gynecologist with IBS
Lisa finally got the courage to go to the gynecologist for the first time. The article “IBS and the Gynecologist: An Unfortunate Combination” describes how she feared it for years, and how her experience went.
“Aside from some discomfort in my cervix, I had few side effects from my visit with the gynecologist. Basically, I endured a slight flare-up in my IBS-D which may or may not have been connected to my cervix being pried open.
Additionally, the experience got me thinking about endometriosis and IBS. Specifically, how closely related the 2 disorders can be. After all, as you learned from our little anatomy lesson, the cervix is directly located by the rectum and small intestine. So, if you take anything from this experience, perhaps it is that talking to your gynecologist about IBS and endometriosis wouldn’t be a terrible idea,” she wrote.
Support for endometriosis and IBS
We recognize that not everyone with endometriosis has IBS or vice versa. However, many of our community members have said that they do not feel seen or heard when it comes to chronic pain. It is important to talk to your doctor about any new or ongoing symptoms related to your IBS, endometriosis, or otherwise. We thank you for sharing your intimate experiences with us and raising awareness about the link between these 2 conditions.
The 5th IBS In America survey was conducted online from June 8 through August 3, 2020. All of the 1,930 people who completed the survey have been screened to have IBS symptoms.
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