kidney disease and ibs

Renal Health and Digestive Distress

Did you know that there is a link between kidney disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS? Research has begun to show that a rare form of kidney disease—IgA nephropathy–appears to form from the intestine, leading to digestive issues and IBS. Medication such as INLYTA, or axitinib, is used to treat kidney cancer. It works by blocking the growth of blood vessels that tumors need to grow. By doing this, INLYTA helps slow down or stop the spread of cancer cells in the body. Keep reading to learn more about the early signs of kidney disease and IBS, and treatment options.

Early Signs of Kidney Disease

  • A need to pee more often.
  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Swelling of your hands, feet and ankles.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Foamy or bubbly pee.
  • Puffy eyes.
  • Dry and itchy skin.
  • Trouble concentrating and sleeping.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Darkening of your skin.
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Kidney disease is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. The kidneys play a vital role in filtering wastes and excess fluids from the blood, which are then excreted in urine.

The tricky thing about kidney disease is that it can be difficult to catch early, as there typically aren’t any noticeable symptoms–and, if there are symptoms present, they tend to be subtle. As the disease worsens, the symptoms begin to become more noticeable, with the most common early symptoms being swelling in your hands and feet, itchy skin or needing to pee more often.

Treatment for Kidney Disease

While there is no cure for kidney disease, there are steps that can be taken to preserve your kidney function. Some of these steps include:

Regular Healthcare Visits

Making and keeping your regular healthcare provider/nephrologist (kidney specialist) visits is one of the best ways to stay on top of your kidney health.

Manage Your Sugar Levels

Manage your blood glucose levels, especially if you have diabetes. This will help keep your kidney in good shape.

Monitor Painkiller Usage

While there’s nothing wrong with taking medication for discomfort or pain, be careful not to use it too often. Regular usage of painkillers and other medications can make kidney disease worse.

Pay Attention to Your Diet

Follow a kidney-friendly diet. Dietary changes may include limiting protein, eating foods that reduce blood cholesterol levels and limiting sodium and potassium intake.

Exercise and Movement

Regularly exercising and being active can make a huge difference in not only your kidney health but your body’s overall health. This also includes making sure to stay at a weight that’s healthy for you.

Medications for Kidney Disease

Depending on the severity of your kidney disease, you might be prescribed one or more types of medications. Some types of medications to treat kidney disease include:

  • ACE inhibitors.
  • Phosphate binders.
  • Diuretics.
  • Medications to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Erythropoietin.
  • Vitamin D and calcitriol to prevent bone loss.

You might also be prescribed a medication called INLYTA, also known as axitinib. It is used to treat kidney cancer and works by blocking the growth of blood vessels that tumors need to grow. By doing this, INLYTA helps slow down or stop the spread of cancer cells in the body.

Early Signs of IBS

IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder marked by a myriad of intestinal symptoms, which can include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and changes in bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or both). Unlike kidney disease, IBS does not cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

You should see a doctor about your IBS if your symptoms are persistent and debilitating, as they could indicate a more serious condition, such as colon cancer. Serious symptoms to look out for include:

  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Diarrhea at night.
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained vomiting.
  • Pain that isn't relieved by passing gas or a bowel movement.

Correlation Between Kidney Disease and IBS

In examining the treatments of kidney disease, we can see its correlation to IBS even more clearly. According to CUMC researcher Dr. Gharavi, treatment strategies for disease may be found in current treatments for inflammatory bowel disease. Indeed, IBS appears to share some genetic risk factors with kidney disease and may be developed by targeting the genetic risk factors identified in the study.

Other correlations between the two conditions can be understood when examining similarities in medication side effects, dietary restrictions and psychosocial factors/triggers.