Women with irritable bowel syndrome may have a harder time with pregnancy. New studies show strong links between IBS and some pregnancy complications.
In the study, which looked at 100,000 expectant mothers, women with IBS were seven percent more likely to miscarry and one percent more likely to experience ectopic pregnancy. However, researchers say proper prenatal care can help offset this additional risk.
Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with abdominal pain, though unlike with inflammatory bowel disease, the structure of the bowel is unaffected and the condition does not permanently damage the colon. IBS can follow intestinal infection, but there are also other, unknown causes. It typically starts in the patients teens or early 20s and affects twice as many women as men.
In all, one in six Americans have IBS. Treatment is primarily lifestyle changes and dietary management, but there are some medications that can alleviate the symptoms.
Miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy were the only complications the study found affected by IBS, but they are serious conditions. Having IBS treated can lower the risk closer to the baseline. Further research is expected to look at how IBS and pregnancy are related.