Rumble in the Tummy? Maybe it's the hours you work

In America, we're always on, which means someone out there is working late or even all night.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School studied three different groups of nurses, those who had permanent day shifts and night shifts and those who had rotating shifts.

The study found that more nurses who worked both day and night had symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Baylor-Plano gastroenterologist Tya-Mae Julien said IBS isn't just about a lack of sleep. She said there is something about late shifts that throws our biological clocks out of whack.

"I certainly have found that my patients who are taking long, multiple business trips who are flying across state lines will characteristically notice a flare in their symptoms," Dr. Julian said.

IBS is common among pilots and flight attendants as well as call center operators. Somer Canales is a nurse and has battled IBS since high school.

Sign up for The 33 Newsletter | The 33 on Facebook | The 33 on Twitter

She said it got worse when she worked the 7 pm until 7 am shift.

"I noticed that is what usually triggers a flare-up, intense stress, going through changes like with shift-work, your uncertain what your hours will be, how long you'll be there, what you're doing. increased stress usually flares my IBS," Canales said.

More women suffer from IBS than men and when it comes to lost work days it's second only to the common cold.

"There are more serious things to have," Dr. Julian said. "But this has a tremendous impact on quality of life."

Nurse Canales agrees.

"You know where the bathrooms are on your route to work or school, wherever you are going, you know where you can find a bathroom," Canales said.

There is no cure for IBS so doctors can only treat the symptoms. As for nurse Canales -- she's learned to live with her unsettled stomach through winter, spring and fall and whatever shift comes her way.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times