WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
WHAT'S HAPPENING
IN YOUR GUT

How does your gut work?

The important role of your Gastrointestinal (GI) tract

The GI tract is made up of a group of organs that work together to break down your food, absorb nutrients, and remove waste.

When it comes to food and waste moving through your body, speed counts

Sometimes, food moves too slowly through your intestines. When this happens, too much water is absorbed into the intestines, causing hard or dry stools, which may lead to constipation. Other times, the opposite occurs and food moves too quickly through your intestines, leading to too little water being absorbed and causing frequent, loose, watery stools, or diarrhea. You may also experience abdominal pain or discomfort along with these changes in bowel habits.

It's important to remember that not everyone has a bowel movement every day. Stool frequency and consistency (the way your stool looks, such as form, or degree of density and firmness) may also vary from one person to another.

If you're having trouble with bowel movements, or if you have any abdominal pain or discomfort, keep track of your symptoms and talk to your doctor. He or she can help you understand what's normal for you—and find ways to help manage your symptoms.

1
1 Chewing starts to break down your food to begin the digestive process.
2
2 When the food reaches your stomach, acid partially digests the food.
3
3 Digestive enzymes further break the food down into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your small intestine, which absorbs these nutrients.
4
4 Reabsorption of water and removal of waste occurs in your large intestine, or colon. Here, glands make mucus, which protects and lubricates the lining and helps to make it easier for food to move through. Your colon is responsible for some nutrient absorption and for maintaining your body's water balance.
5
5 Finally, your colon contracts (squeezes and releases) to move the waste out of your body.
Roll over the numbers above
to learn more about the gut.

What's causing these symptoms?

Possible causes of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and
chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC)
Possible causes of IBS-C

No one knows exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), but experts think it may be caused by one or more factors, including:

A change in the speed of food moving through your colon: Your colon contracts (squeezes and releases) to move waste out of your body. If contractions are too slow, this can slow down the process and lead to constipation.

Hypersensitive intestines: Your intestines may be more sensitive to movement. This may cause you to feel more pain than other people when your intestines are active or stretched as food moves through them. This sensitivity may also lead to changes in the speed of digestion and secretion.

Communication problems between your brain and gut: Your brain and gut may not be communicating properly. This can lead to changes in how quickly food moves through your gut, the secretions that occur along the way, and the sensations you feel as the food is broken down and moved along.

Possible Causes of CIC

Although CIC is by definition a disorder without an identifiable cause (idiopathic means cause is unknown), several factors may contribute to its development:

A decrease in the speed of food moving through your colon: Your colon contracts (squeezes and releases) to move waste out of your body. If contractions are too slow, this can slow down the process and lead to constipation.

Too much water absorbed by your colon: Slow-moving stool can also lead to your colon absorbing too much water from your stool as it moves along. This can make your stools hard, dry, and difficult to pass.

The sensitivity of your intestines: Although not well established, some physicians and researchers believe some people with CIC may also have hypersensitive digestive systems that can lead to symptoms like abdominal discomfort.

The impact and burden of IBS-C and CIC
Check out these statistics on the burden of IBS-C and CIC symptoms.
IBS-C
3.3
Average number of doctors a sufferer ever visited for their GI symptoms
CIC
2.6
Average number of doctors a sufferer ever visited for their GI symptoms
DON'T KEEP PLANNING YOUR LIFE AROUND THE BATHROOM.

Symptoms of IBS-C and CIC can be managed.

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