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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Facts and definition of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder.
  • Symptoms of IBS include
  • The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is currently unknown. It is thought to result from a combination of abnormal gastrointestinal (GI) tract movements, increased awareness of bodily functions, and a disruption in the communication between the brain and the GI tract.
  • IBS-D is irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. Symptoms most common with IBS-D include:
    • Sudden urges to have bowel movements
    • Abdominal pain or discomfort
    • Intestinal gas (flatulence)
    • Loose stools
    • Frequent stools
    • Feeling of being unable to completely empty bowels
    • Nausea
  • IBS is diagnosed by exclusion, which means a doctor considers other alternatives first, performing tests to rule out other medical problems.
  • Home remedies for IBS include avoiding certain foods that "trigger" or worsen diarrhea, bloating and gas such as cruciferous vegetables (for example, cauliflower, wasabi, kale, and broccoli), and legumes (for example, black beans, edamame, soy nuts, and fava beans).
  • Other home remedies to relieve symptoms of IBS include adding fiber to the diet, drinking plenty of water, avoiding soda, eating smaller meals, and eating more low fat and high carbohydrate foods.
  • There is currently no known cure for IBS. Medical treatment for irritable bowel syndrome includes antispasmodic medicines, antidiarrheal medicines, antidepressants, laxatives, and other drugs.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic (long-term) disease, and symptoms usually recur.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome has also been called spastic colon, functional bowel disease, and mucous colitis though. IBS is not a true "colitis." The term colitis refers to a different group of conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, microscopic colitis, and ischemic colitis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/15/2016
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What are the symptoms of IBS?

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include abdominal pain or cramping, bloating, gas, and altered bowel movement patterns (such as diarrhea or constipation) that are present for at least 3 months, and may vary with each individual. Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal or stomach cramping and pain that are relieved with bowel movements
  • Alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Mucusy stool
  • Bloating or abdominal distension

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Irritable Bowel Disease »

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional GI disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of specific and unique organic pathology.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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