The following comes from a very interesting article which charts the relationship between hormones and IBS. We have highlighted this concept on our discussion relating to the nature in which men and women suffer differently with IBS.
While the article is of a scientific ilk, it does answer many questions about the nature of IBS and to that extent we found it very useful. Please simply click the link at the bottom of the page if you wish to read more, as you will be able to find the rest of the article on pdf there:
IBS: A Role for Hormones?
A variety of observations support the hypothesis that female sex hormones, and fluctuations thereof, may have an impact on IBS, including the simple fact that more women than men experience IBS. Men with IBS have lower serum luteinizing hormone (LH) than men without IBS, suggesting a potential protective effect of this hormone (23).
Additional evidence comes from reports of menstrual cycle-related symptom fluctuations. Many women with IBS report that symptoms fluctuate with their menstrual cycles and that flares occur in the perimenstrual and perimenopausal phases (24–26). Alterations in rectal sensitivity (27) (increased during menses) and GI transit, which is increased during the follicular phase compared with the luteal phase (28,29), also have been reported. Other studies showed that menses (a time of declining/minimal ovarian hormone levels) was associated with looser stools compared with the follicular and luteal phases (30,31).
Furthermore, IBS is diagnosed more often in women with dysmenorrhea than in those who cycle normally (32). It also has been proposed that hormonal disparities and fluctuations may be responsible, at least in part, for differences in prevalence and symptom presentation among women and between women and men (23,33). Changes in hormone status associated with pregnancy or menopause also may influence symptoms. During pregnancy, a time during which estrogen and progesterone levels are high, GI symptoms increase and intestinal transit decreases (28).
Reports of abdominal bloating increase after menopause, primarily among women who are not receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (34). These thoughts are all intriguing, but exactly how hormonal factors influence IBS remains unclear. There also exists the question as to whether hormone differences are associated with specific symptoms (e.g., bloating) or with the wider spectrum of IBS symptoms.
Long Term Sufferers
New IBS Sufferers
Life Long Sufferers
For the full article please click here