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Last Updated on August 8, 2021
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of many chronic conditions that can make it more challenging to manage daily activities. It can be a struggle to deal with but can be especially difficult when dealing with insurance. Knowing and understanding the basics of life insurance such as coverage, different types, and costs is important for everyone.
It is also helpful to understand how chronic conditions can affect life and auto insurance coverage and rates. In general, the healthier you are and the lower risk your lifestyle is, the lower your premiums will generally be.
Having IBS means that there are lifestyle changes you need to make to manage this condition effectively. This article will discuss IBS and the different ways in which having a chronic illness can affect your life insurance.
What is IBS?
IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome. It is a digestive disorder that affects the large intestine, specifically the colon. IBS is relative to an irregular colon rhythm or a colon that is oversensitive or over-responsive.
Symptoms of IBS affect the digestive or gastrointestinal tract and include abdominal cramping, pain, bloating, or gas. It can also cause constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both.
This condition can cause issues with abdominal pain related to bowel movements. IBS also causes changes in your bowel movements and habits.
Women are more likely to have IBS than men. IBS usually does not cause any damage or long-term issues with your colon or digestive system. It is also not life-threatening but may affect work, school, or other activities because of changes to your bathroom habits.
What causes IBS?
The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but it may be that individuals have a more sensitive colon or overly active immune system. Triggers or causes can be related to certain foods, antibiotics, infections, anxiety, or stress.
Stress and anxiety are thought to be related to IBS. Your nervous system helps control the movement of your digestive tract. Stress can affect the nervous system, which is why stress can be related to IBS.
Treatment and Management of IBS
There is no cure for IBS, but lifestyle changes can help manage or control this condition. Dietary modifications, prebiotics, probiotics, a FODMAP diet, stress management, and medications can all help manage irritable bowel syndrome.
Dietary changes can help manage IBS. Eating plenty of foods with fiber like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can be helpful. Fiber can help things moving through the digestive system, acting as a broom to sweep the gastrointestinal tract.
Prebiotics and probiotics have several health benefits and can be helpful for managing IBS. Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) that take up residence in your digestive system or gastrointestinal tract. Yogurt and fermented foods are good sources of probiotics.
Prebiotics are foods that are high in fiber that help feed the good bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract. Apples, bananas, onions, garlic, and asparagus are prebiotic foods.
Following a special diet called a FODMAP diet can also help. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. FODMAP foods are sugars and carbohydrates that are not digested or absorbed very well, which can cause gastrointestinal distress.
Certain high FODMAP foods can be replaced with low FODMAP foods to help manage symptoms of IBS. A FODMAP diet should only be followed by individuals who are recommended to do so by a healthcare provider.
There are medications and supplements available that can help manage the symptoms of IBS. It is important to work with a health care provider to find the right treatment regimen to manage irritable bowel syndrome.
Stress management is important. Exercising, relaxation techniques, yoga, practicing mindfulness, engaging in spiritual practices, and meditating can help manage stress. Managing stress and anxiety can help lessen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Other Digestive Disorders
Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease are other common digestive disorders that can affect daily activities and life insurance coverage and rates. Both digestive disorders affect the small intestine.
The main culprit in celiac disease is gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When people who have celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, this causes damage to the lining of the small intestine. This can lead to issues with absorption of nutrients and gastrointestinal distress.
Individuals with celiac disease must consume a gluten-free diet. This means avoiding bread, pasta, cereal, or other foods made from wheat. Grains like rice and quinoa do not have gluten, so they are fine to eat.
Crohn’s disease is also known as inflammatory bowel disease and causes inflammation and swelling in the gastrointestinal tract, most typically the small intestine. Symptoms can include pain, diarrhea, bleeding, and weight loss.
There is also no cure for Crohn’s disease. Dietary modification, medication, or surgery can lessen the inflammation and help manage the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
IBS and Life Insurance Coverage
Irritable bowel syndrome may affect life insurance coverage less than other chronic conditions, but management of this condition is important. One option to consider is life insurance with long-term care assistance since it is a chronic issue.
Additionally, underwriters may ask questions about the date of diagnosis, how you are managing your condition, information about surgeries or hospitalization, and details about any colonoscopy procedures.
The good news is that IBS is not life-threatening and does not usually result in long-term complications. It is rare that this condition would be severe and significantly affect life insurance rates and coverage, especially if IBS is your only health condition.
Other Chronic Illnesses That May Affect Life Insurance
There are a number of chronic conditions that can affect life insurance coverage and rates. Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and diabetes can all affect life insurance coverage and rates. Rates may be higher and coverage may be more difficult to obtain.
The best ways to lower the risk of many chronic conditions are to eat healthily, stay active, manage stress, get plenty of sleep, and maintain a positive outlook on life. Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to feel good, stay energized, find optimal insurance coverage, and save money on life insurance rates.
Melissa Morris writes for the insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. She has a master of science degree in exercise science, is an ACSM certified exercise physiologist, and an ISSN certified sports nutritionist.