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What is irritable bowel syndrome?

A significant portion of the American population deals with digestive-system issues. These individuals can experience pain and suffering, and their condition can drastically impact their day-to-day lives. If a medical condition leaves an individual unable to work, then he or she may be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration and thus qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Amongst the digestive conditions recognized as potentially disabling by the SSA is irritable bowel syndrome. This medical condition affects the large intestine and can lead to abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, and constipation or diarrhea. Medical professionals have yet to identify the exact cause of the disease, but there may be a variety of factors in play. The muscles that line the inside of the intestines may move out of rhythm, causing problems and pain, or the gastrointestinal nervous system may not be coordinating properly. There may also be certain triggers that vary from individual to individual. Food, stress, hormones and other illnesses may trigger IBS in certain individuals.

Surprisingly, one out of every five Americans suffers from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Although the SSA recognizes this disease for SSD benefits, it must reach a certain level of severity before it qualifies. Therefore, those who have IBS and are unable to work on account of their condition need to be sure to obtain and retain thorough medical records documenting their diagnoses, severity, and treatments and their effects.

Social Security disability benefits can help an individual recoup medical expenses and lost wages, which can be financially life-saving for those who are unable to work. Yet succeeding on a SSD claim is not always easy, and many initial claims are denied. To learn more about how to put together a convincing initial claim or appeal, disabled individuals may want to speak with a legal professional.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Irritable bowel syndrome," accessed on Oct. 23, 2016

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