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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive problem that causes episodes of abdominal pain, cramping or bloating, and diarrhea or constipation. The cause is not well understood—there are no physical signs of disease in the intestines and no specific tests that diagnose the condition—but symptoms often get worse with stress or after eating.

IBS can persist for many years. An episode may be milder or more severe than the one before it, but the disorder itself usually does not get worse over time. It does not lead to more serious diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.

Stress management, diet changes, and in some cases medicines are helpful in managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Last RevisedMay 17, 2010

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