IBS & Vitamin B12 Deficiency

A combination of physical and mental problems can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the colon -- the major portion of your large intestine. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain that goes away after a bowel movement, chronic diarrhea that alternates with chronic constipation, increased intestinal gas, bloating and cramping. Some people with IBS may also develop a vitamin B-12 deficiency.


IBS and Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

People with severe symptoms of IBS may develop a vitamin B-12 deficiency due to problems with food intake, digestion and absorption. Vitamin B-12 is only available in animal products and fortified plant foods. Some people with IBS may not tolerate dairy and meat products leading to less B-12 intake. IBS may also cause chronic diarrhea, which may lead to loss of B-12 and other vitamins and minerals before they can be absorbed.

Signs of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

Vitamin B-12 is important for producing red blood cells and for maintaining healthy nerve cells. People with vitamin B-12 deficiency may experience symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the extremities, lack of balance and coordination, mood changes, dementia and pernicious anemia -- a type of red blood cell deficiency -- according to Drugs.com.

Vitamin B-12 Administration

People with IBS who also have a vitamin B-12 deficiency may be treated using vitamin B-12 shots. The shots are injected in muscles such as deltoid and ventrogluteal. People with IBS and vitamin B-12 deficiency may require lifelong B-12 injections in order to prevent permanent nerve damage and organ failures.

Side Effects of Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 injections may cause skin irritation at the injection sites. Some individuals may develop pain, redness and swelling immediately after the injection. People who notice increased redness, unusual warmth and discharge at injection sites should consult their doctor for further evaluation. Vitamin B-12 shots may cause severe allergic reactions. People that are allergic to cobalt or other ingredients in the preparation should avoid getting the shot. The main form of vitamin B-12 in the shots, called cyanocobalamin, may also cause eye damage in people with Leber’s disease, according to Drugs.com.


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