Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - Complications 

Complications of IBS 

Depression and low mood

In this video, an expert describes the various levels of depression, the early warning signs and the treatments available.

Media last reviewed: 09/04/2014

Next review due: 09/04/2016

IBS is a 'syndrome'

It's important to understand that IBS doesn't progress to a more sinister condition. It's classified as a syndrome because it consists of many different symptoms.

If you have IBS, you won't usually need to have any investigations and complications can arise if invasive investigations are carried out unnecessarily. Speak to your GP for further information.

As irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not life-threatening, people who do not understand the condition are sometimes quick to trivialise it.

However, the symptoms of IBS often have a significant impact on a person's day-to-day life. The pain, discomfort and inconvenience of IBS is very real and can have a deep psychological effect.

For example, it is estimated that three out of four people with IBS will have at least one episode of depression, and just over half will develop generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). This is a long-term condition that can cause feelings of unease, worry or fear.

You should visit your GP if you are feeling anxious or depressed. These conditions rarely improve without treatment and they could make your IBS symptoms worse.

Your GP will be able to recommend an effective treatment programme for you, such as antidepressants or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or a combination of the two.

Page last reviewed: 12/09/2012

Next review due: 12/09/2014


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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Ladywriter1968 said on 22 May 2014

Karla, I would have thought antibiotics would make it worse, as when ever I had these for bacterial chest infections previous all antibiotics did to me after a few days was give me severe tummy upsets and cramps, they do that to some, so with your IBS it would just make it worse. I think I have begun IBS but see GP soon for diagnose. Recently when I drink milk it starts off bad a few hours later. Last night was on toilet at 2am cramping in my tummy and had this before to. been there and about over past 3 months. I think you just have to be careful what foods drinks that you eat. I noticed that milk seem to trigger with me, so will avoid milk now, and only have it mixed, like in tea.

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karla bubbles said on 06 March 2014

Had ibs for about 15 years, slowly getting worse with every course of antibiotics I have it seems. Antidepressants don't seem to help either with the ibs or the down in the dumps feeling that goes with it. When I was in the middle if a particularly painful episode I came across the fodmap diet, worth a look. I didn't cut everything out as I didn't have the luxury of a dietition but I cut down on fodmap a quite a bit and it really helped! Also peppermint oil has been a lifesaver for me! Once the ibs is a bit better I find the cloud lifts on its own.

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