Is It IBS-D or Habba Syndrome?

Disclaimer: I’d like to begin this article by saying that my thoughts and opinions are not meant to offend anyone’s profession. I am solely just sharing my opinion.

Did you know: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, was not the original term for the condition we talk about today? In fact, this condition has had its name changed a number of times throughout the years. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, IBS has previously been referred to as spastic colon, nervous colon, colitis, mucous colitis, spastic bowel, and now irritable bowel syndrome.1 As you can see, the name and its meaning has evolved over the years and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went through a few more in my lifetime. However, we all know that all of these names are only umbrella terms for a collection of symptoms that an IBS patient deals with. That is why IBS is such a complicated condition to manage or treat because you have to take into account many factors from both physical and mental. Nonetheless, I know that “IBS” isn’t the perfect term, but its accurate enough (to my satisfaction) to describe my condition as of right now.

What is Habba syndrome?

Recently, one of my supporters commented on one of my YouTube videos where I rant about what it is really like living with IBS. He mentioned that there is no such thing as IBS-D and I should look up the term “Habba Syndrome.” My initial reaction was skepticism, but I still wanted to do the research and find out what he was talking about. So, I decided to do a Google search on the term and I came across a video of the doctor who coined the term “Habba Syndrome”, and it was none other than Dr. Saad Habba himself. In the video, Dr. Habba states that to be diagnosed with IBS predominant diarrhea is a misdiagnosis, claiming that people who think they have IBS-D instead have “Habba Syndrome.”2 His patients with “Habba Syndrome” experience symptoms such as incontinence and having an urgency to use the toilet as soon as they finish eating or drinking something due to a dysfunctional gallbladder. So essentially, he’s saying anyone with IBS-D has unidentified gallbladder problems, which I personally don’t believe is accurate. It may be true that people with gallbladder issues deal with IBS-like symptoms or may very well have IBS, but it’s not true that all people with IBS-D have gallbladder problems. I’m a perfect example, as so are many other people I know who suffer from IBS-D.

IBS-D or Habba Syndrome?

Furthermore, Dr. Saad Habba goes on to say he doesn’t believe in the term irritable bowel syndrome with predominant diarrhea because he thinks that name is too vague. He emphasizes that IBS-D is just an umbrella term for a collection of other issues going on with the individual – almost to argue the point that IBS-D is not a “real enough” name for the condition. I agree that it has been difficult to figure out how to treat IBS-D patients due to the myriad of symptoms that people experience with this condition. However, instead of trying to find a better way to identify the main cause of the illness, Dr. Habba thought it was a good idea to coin a new term for IBS-D and call it “Habba Syndrome”. My question is: How does that make the term any less vague than “irritable bowel syndrome with predominant diarrhea? To be honest, I think Dr. Saad Habba is just trying to either gain credit for coining a new term for IBS-D or trying to start a new fad. I personally don’t think he came up with anything drastically different or contributed anything to the research field. He simply just changed the name to include his pseudo-name which truly feels like he’s just exploiting the condition to his benefit, whether that benefit is financial or reputable.

Habba is not for me

The words “irritable”, “bowel”, and “diarrhea”, as vague as some may “think” they are, still make a lot more sense when put together because that is essentially what I am experiencing most of the time. I don’t seem to be experiencing a “Habba” because that term has no relevance or definition that truly associates with any of the symptoms that I experience on a daily basis. It might be better to call what he classifies as “Habba Syndrome” as “dysfunctional gallbladder syndrome” because that’s essentially what he’s describing. Not everyone with IBS-D has gallbladder issues and/or deals with incontinence. So, by his definition, it just doesn’t fit the criteria that I, and many others with IBS-D, experience.

Do any of you reading this article relate? Am I exaggerating too much? Does “Habba Syndrome” make sense to those of you who suffer from IBS-D? Please feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading and I look forward to your response!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. NIH. Definition & Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/definition-facts
  2.  News 12 TV - Habba Syndrome v. IBS: Does IBS exist?  YouTube. Retrieved March 12, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT3YbWD3bb8

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