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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is considered a “functional gastrointestinal disorder” where there is some type of disruption in the functioning of the bowel. It’s not considered a disease. Rather, it’s a syndrome that’s characterized by a group of symptoms that can include constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or bouts of both. Patients who suffer from IBS are also more likely to experience chronic pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
It is often easy to mistake one medical disorder for another, and this is especially true for the related conditions of IBS, inflammatory bowel disease—IBD, ulcerative colitis—UC, and Crohn’s disease. The confusion arises because all of these conditions affect the gastrointestinal tract. However, in general, IBD is an umbrella term that includes both ulcerative collitis and Crohn’s disease, while IBS is a separate disorder. Although these conditions are similar in some ways and have some comparable symptoms, they’re quite different and require different types of treatment.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is usually less severe than IBD. However, the effects of IBS can range from a mild inconvenience to severely debilitating. Symptoms of this syndrome can affect a patient’s social life, ability to travel, and ability to work.
Simply being diagnosed with IBS (or any of the other gastrointestinal disorders) will not automatically qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. To be eligible for benefits you must be able to show definitively that your medical condition prevents you from performing any substantial work which you have ever performed before or which you could reasonably be expected to perform, given your age, education, and work experience. You will need to back up your claim with solid medical evidence to show that your condition prevents you from performing even light or sedentary work. For example, if abdominal cramps and pain interfere with your ability to focus and work at an acceptable pace, or if you need to take frequent and unscheduled bathroom breaks, the type of work you can do will be limited. It is very important for your doctor to document this information in your medical records on an ongoing basis.
Winning disability benefits for IBS can be difficult, but having an experienced disability attorney to advocate on your behalf can increase your chances of getting your claim approved. A good place to begin is to call us at Nash Disability Law for a free evaluation of your situation.