Can You Get Irritable Bowel Syndrome Disability Benefits?
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you know the importance of access to irritable bowel syndrome disability benefits. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine and interferes with the digestive system. Up to 50% of visits to a gastroenterologist are related to IBS. While the disease is more prevalent in women than men, the types of debilitating symptoms are the same for everyone.
What Are Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Symptoms of IBS include severe abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Sufferers may also experience anxiety and stress related to managing the disease. Other systems in your body can be affected by IBS, including:
- joint or muscle aches, and even
Unfortunately, there is no cure for irritable bowel syndrome. People diagnosed with IBS must learn to manage their symptoms with effective treatments.
Causes of IBS
One important finding of medical research is that nearly 80% of IBS sufferers have an overgrowth of bacteria in their intestines. Medical professionals often use antibiotics to control the growth of bacteria. Another finding suggests hormones play a part in irritable bowel syndrome. As a result, women may experience a change in their IBS symptoms during menstruation or pregnancy.
Emotional factors such as depression, stress, anger, frustration or feeling overwhelmed may trigger bouts of irritable bowel syndrome. Because it can take months, or years to find an effective treatment, irritable bowel syndrome disability benefits can replace lost income and ease the emotional factors that exacerbate IBS symptoms.
Diagnosing Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is one of a number of diseases that are difficult to definitively diagnose and prove to an insurance company. Symptoms may occur under a variety of circumstances and may be mistaken for other conditions.
Your doctor may begin your diagnosis with a medical history followed by a comprehensive physical exam. There is no test to identify IBS, but your doctor may order any of the following tests to aid in your diagnosis.
- Blood tests for lactose intolerance, overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, or celiac disease
- Stool tests to look for infections or other digestive issues
- A sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to check for ulcers, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer
- X-rays or CT scans to check for intestinal blockage or cancerous growths
Types of IBS
There are three principal types of the disease. As part of the qualification process, your irritable bowel syndrome disability insurance company will want to know the type of IBS you have.
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
- Stomach pain, discomfort, bloating, delayed bowel movements, infrequent bowel movements, or hard, lumpy stools.
- IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
- Stomach pain, discomfort, frequent or urgently-needed trips to the bathroom, excessive frequency of bowel movements, watery or loose stools.
- IBS with alternating stool pattern (IBS-A)
Both types of symptoms are present.
Treatment for IBS
There are a variety of treatments which are prescribed to manage the symptoms of IBS including dietary and lifestyles changes.
- Diet: Avoid food that may worsen symptoms of IBS including dairy, fruit, vegetables or legumes that tend to cause gas such as beans, onions, and carrots. Sugar or sugar-free substances and products with caffeine may also trigger bouts of IBS.
- Lifestyle: Reduce anxiety and stress levels by practicing yoga, meditation, regular exercise, or stress management counseling.
- Medication: Over-the-counter remedies such as antispasmodics, laxatives, and anti-diarrhea products can improve IBS symptoms. Prescription antibiotics are also used to treat IBS.
While irritable bowel syndrome is a commonly diagnosed disease, many people experience symptoms so severe, their ability to work is impaired.
IBS sufferers may make frequent trips to the bathroom that disrupt their workflow and productivity. A worker who must use the restroom three times in an hour, assuming each trip takes five minutes, would lose fifteen minutes each hour, or 25% of their productive work hours. Three trips an hour take ten minutes will eat up 50% of a worker's time every hour. Lack of sleep and fatigue due to persistent symptoms also effect worker performance.
Insurance companies will assess your residual functional capacity (RFC) to determine what you can and cannot do because of your IBS. Be sure your physician documents all your office visits, IBS episodes particularly the symptoms that prevented you from working, and treatments he or she prescribed to resolve the condition.
It is crucial that you follow your doctor's treatment plan. The insurance company could use failure to follow through with treatment to deny your irritable bowel syndrome disability benefits.