It is a problem many New York workers are reluctant to talk about: irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. However, if you are a rotating shift worker, your chances of developing IBS are significantly higher than workers who have a regular, consistent daytime work schedule.
If you work in rotating shifts and have experienced symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea you could be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. The problem with IBS is that there is no test for it – patients are diagnosed by clinical symptoms alone.
Why are NY shift workers at greater risk of developing IBS? Shift work – especially if it is rotating shift work – throws off the body’s biological clock. When our biological clocks are disrupted, all of our organ systems – like digestion and bowel movements – are affected as well.
Researchers have found that this disruption of the body’s natural cycle is more to blame for IBS type problems than sleep disruption or sleep problems. Simply working in shifts can be enough to throw off your body enough to trigger IBS. IBS should be addressed because it can lead to gastrointestinal disorders like polyps and cancer.
If you think you are suffering from IBS, be sure to talk to your doctor. There is no reason that you should experience the pain and frustration of irritable bowel syndrome without help as a result of your job.