Could Your IBS Symptoms Actually Be CSID?
Shelby* had always blamed her on-and-off stomach pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea on the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) she had been diagnosed with. One day, after yet another bout of diarrhea following her favorite afternoon snack of carrots and hummus, she went online for help.
There, she stumbled on a website mentioning that IBS symptoms in women tend to flare during their menstrual cycles and ease up during pregnancy. This information caught Shelby’s attention. Her symptoms seemed to happen throughout the month with no obvious link to her menstrual cycle.
Scrolling through the comments, Shelby noticed a post titled, “Your IBS-like symptoms might actually be caused by CSID.” Curious, she clicked. . . and discovered that her supposed IBS-like symptoms might, in fact, be due to an entirely different condition: Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID).
What is CSID?
CSID, a form of Sucrose Intolerance, is a rare, disorder of the small intestine that limits one’s ability to break down sucrose (table sugar) into glucose and fructose. People with CSID lack or have low levels of the digestive enzymes sucrase and isomaltase that are needed to break down sucrose and starch.
Sucrose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate often found in produce (especially starchy fruits and vegetables, like yams and carrots) and legumes. It’s also frequently added to processed foods like ice cream, candy, commercial cereals, and sweetened beverages.
The symptoms of CSID are bloating, gas, and diarrhea. While these symptoms are similar to symptoms of IBS, they differ from IBS in several ways. For example, the symptoms of CSID come on soon after consuming sucrose, but constipation is not as common.
CSID affects women and men with equal prevalence and is caused by one of several genetic mutations.
What Is IBS and What are IBS Symptoms in Women?
IBS is a functional GI problem impacting the large intestine and its interaction with the brain, affecting bowel functioning in the form of constipation and diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Diet, stress, and hormones may worsen IBS symptoms.
Common trigger foods include dairy, fried foods and high fructose corn syrup. The most common gut disorder in the United States, IBS affects over 10 percent of the population. Women are at an increased risk of developing IBS. In fact, the best-documented risk factor for IBS is simply being female.
In women, IBS occurs most commonly from the late teens to the mid-forties. In other words, IBS tends to occur during childbearing years and decreases after menopause. Female patients also report more frequent and severe IBS symptoms during menstruation, notably loose stools, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Could Your IBS-like Symptoms Be Symptoms Caused by CSID?
Shelby was no longer convinced that her symptoms were caused by IBS. Not only did her bloating and diarrhea strike regardless of her menstrual cycle, but she was rarely constipated and her symptoms always popped up after eating sucrose. Interestingly, she rarely had issues after eating fats like oil and butter.
She scheduled an appointment with her healthcare provider to explain why she thought her symptoms might not be due to IBS and took her CSID print-outs for backup. Her doctor was particularly interested in the fact that Shelby’s supposed IBS-like diarrhea symptoms only occurred after consuming sugary or starchy foods and ordered a sucrose breath test, which could help diagnose CSID.
Think you’ve been misdiagnosed with IBS and may have CSID? Ask your doctor to test you for CSID.
*Shelby is a fictional character based on actual females diagnosed with CSID.