Untreated Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Is it Harmful?

A woman sitting in the living room is depressed and upset due to untreated IBS

Is It Bad To Leave Irritable Bowel Syndrome Untreated?

The constant pain and embarrassment that can come with untreated irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is something that most wants to put behind them. It is critically important to understand how bad IBS can become if it is left untreated. First, it is necessary to understand what this ailment is.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

It is a misconception to think of irritable bowel syndrome as a single issue that one faces. Instead, IBS is a collection of symptoms and issues that one might face with something like this. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases defines IBS in the following way:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that occur together, including repeated pain in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both. With IBS, you have these symptoms without any visible signs of damage or disease in your digestive tract.

Take control of IBS symptoms early to prevent worsening discomfort and complications. The only way to actually feel better is to start to treat the cause of the problem.

Long-Term Consequences of Untreated Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There are long-term consequences to leaving IBS untreated. One of the most significant things that you might notice related to untreated IBS is that you are not able to break away from the symptoms related to this ailment. You are always going to have to deal with the fallout from having IBS in the first place. On top of that, you will likely face huge medical bills for not treating this more effectively and more quickly.

If you suffer from other diseases and/or ailments, then you might find that you have only made the situation related to those issues even worse. IBS can contribute to worsening symptoms of other issues. You don’t want to deal with the compounding dominos that leaving IBS untreated can create for you.

Untreated Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Does it progress and worsen over time?

There is no question that IBS will get worse if left untreated. Those who have left their IBS untreated might think that they can get away with it. They might think that things will naturally improve on their own, or they might even feel that they simply don’t have the resources to treat IBS right now. However, the problem with this kind of thinking is that untreated IBS will compound the problem of not having enough resources. The circumstances will only get worse for you, and it will create even more expensive treatment options.

You should try to receive medical treatment for your IBS symptoms as soon as you realize it. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you disregard those symptoms and pretend that they are something else. That is the kind of thing that many people attempt to pull off. They feel that they can ignore the problem and that it will hopefully just go away. That said, it won’t work out that way. Take care of the problem right away.

Physical Health Complications

The long-term consequences of untreated Irritable Bowel Syndrome range from physical to psychological. Some of the physical symptoms that might emerge from untreated Irritable Bowel Syndrome include the following:

  • Anal Fissures – It is possible that the pushing involved with trying to have a bowel movement can cause an anal fissure. This is a small tear in the anus, and it is extremely painful. It may be necessary to seek medical attention to have the stool removed manually.
  • Hemorrhoids – Swollen or inflamed veins that are typically caused by excessive pushing and straining when defecating. These veins may rupture and cause bleeding in the area.
  • Malnourishment – It is possible that some people with IBS will avoid eating certain foods that they should because of the difficulty and strain involved with eating those foods in their case. Thus, they may miss out on certain types of nutrients and vitamins because they have altered their diet to avoid certain foods.

These are just the physical symptoms that you might face when dealing with untreated Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There are also mental health concerns related to untreated Irritable Bowel Syndrome as well.

Mental Health Complications

Some of the mental health issues that you might face when dealing with untreated IBS include:

  • Anxiety – The fear of never knowing exactly what might happen related to your IBS symptoms is something that can cause a lot of anxiety about what might happen next. Being in a constant state of being on edge is no way to live one’s life. Unfortunately, some people discover that this is the scenario they end up in if they don’t treat their IBS symptoms.
  • Depression – It is possible to have depression linked to symptoms of IBS. The problem is that many people with IBS find that they want to withdraw from their loved ones and others who care about them. Know that you might end up with symptoms of depression if you withdraw from people for too long of a period of time.

These are only a couple of potential mental health consequences of untreated IBS. There are many others as well, and it is too big of a risk to take.

IBS is far more serious than it might seem on the surface. Much of our society pushes this aside or pretends that it is not a problem that they will ever encounter. However, the modern Western diet has made it far more likely that people will develop issues with IBS. Be mindful of this and of other risk factors that could put you in more danger of developing IBS. You will want to keep it under control so that you can avoid the consequences of untreated IBS.