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Definition of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A common gastrointestinal disorder involving an abnormal condition of gut contractions (motility) and increased gut sensations (visceral hypersensitivity) characterized by abdominal pain / discomfort , gas, bloating, mucous in stools, and irregular bowel habits with constipation or diarrhea or alternating diarrhea and constipation. Symptoms tend to be chronic ,intermittent and to wax and wane over the years. Although IBS can cause chronic recurrent abdominal discomfort, it does not lead to any serious abdominal organ problems.

Making the diagnosis usually done by suspecting the condition and confirming irritable bowel by excluding other causes of abdominal illnesses. Treatment is directed toward relief of symptoms and includes changes in diet (eating a moderate high fiber and avoiding caffeine, milk products and sweeteners), exercise, relaxation techniques, and medications.

Also called spastic colitis, mucus colitis, nervous colon syndrome.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4051
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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