people with gastroesophageal reflux also have symptoms of irritable bowel
syndrome — and vice versa.
Popping an antacid may relieve the occasional bout of
heartburn for most people, but if you have gastroesophageal disease (GERD) or
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you already know there are some levels of gut
discomfort that cannot be taken care of so easily.
A high number of people have symptoms of both GERD and
IBS — doubling their misery and hurting their quality of life. By some
estimates, three out of four people with either GERD or IBS have at least some
symptoms of the other condition, although not all of them can actually meet the
complete diagnostic criteria for both.
There are several theories about why there could be an
overlap between the two conditions. These explanations include:
sensitivity. The most likely rationale for the
overlap is that there is a shared reason for both conditions. The
explanation for this may be related to the same underlying mechanisms such
as visceral hypersensitivity. In other words, patients with either
condition may have an altered perception of internal pain compared with
their peers, making them more sensitive to distress in their gut, whether
it’s reflux or an irritable bowel causing the trouble.
confusion. Some people with IBS may complain of GERD symptoms but may actually have IBS of
the upper gut, which we call functional dyspepsia. You probably know
dyspepsia as plain old indigestion. Distinguishing between having
occasional symptoms and meeting the criteria for having GERD or IBS
conditions requires appropriate testing.
overlap. It may be that you have both
conditions, making it hard to know where one set of symptoms ends and the
Obviously, if you want the right treatment you need to
get the most accurate diagnosis. See your physician for an evaluation
with the appropriate tests so he can
more efficiently address treatment. Reference: David Greenwald MD
and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease. "She Stood in the Storm & When the Wind Did Not Blow Her Away, She Adjusted Her Sails."