About irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)

What is irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)?

What is the definition of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by the presence of a cluster of symptoms and signs in adult or children that include cramping, abdominal pain, increased gas, altered bowel habits, food intolerance, and bloating (distention).

Irritable bowel syndrome is a "functional" disorder. This term refers to the changes in the functioning of the digestive system that results in the collection of symptoms referred to as IBS, meaning that it is a problem with the movement (motility) rather than any damage to the tissues of the digestive system.

In the past, irritable bowel syndrome was also called spastic colon or bowel, functional bowel disease, mucous colitis, or nervous colon. IBS is not the same as colitis, which is a group of separate conditions also referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

 



What are the symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)?

Cramping symptom was found in the irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) condition

  • Abdominal pain, Cramping or Bloating that is related to passing a bowel movement
  • Changes in appearance of bowel movement
  • Changes in how often you are having a bowel movement



What are the causes for irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)?

The precise cause of IBS isn't known. Factors that appear to play a role include:

  • Muscle contractions in the intestine. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract as they move food through your digestive tract. Contractions that are stronger and last longer than normal can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. Weak intestinal contractions can slow food passage and lead to hard, dry stools.
  • Nervous system. Abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system may cause you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can cause your body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Severe infection. IBS can develop after a severe bout of diarrhea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus. IBS might also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth).
  • Early life stress. People exposed to stressful events, especially in childhood, tend to have more symptoms of IBS.
  • Changes in gut microbes. Examples include changes in bacteria, fungi and viruses, which normally reside in the intestines and play a key role in health. Research indicates that the microbes in people with IBS might differ from those in healthy people.

Triggers

Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by:

  • Food. The role of food allergy or intolerance in IBS isn't fully understood. A true food allergy rarely causes IBS. But many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages, including wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk and carbonated drinks.
  • Stress. Most people with IBS experience worse or more-frequent signs and symptoms during periods of increased stress. But while stress may aggravate symptoms, it doesn't cause them.



What are the treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)?

Dietary modifications are the first treatment that should be tried to treat IBS. There are several types of foods in particular that often trigger IBS symptoms and signs (read IBS diet).

If dietary modifications and lifestyle changes do not adequately treat IBS symptoms and signs, a doctor may recommend medical therapies.



What are the risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)?

Many people have occasional signs and symptoms of IBS. But you're more likely to have the syndrome if you:

  • Are young. IBS occurs more frequently in people under age 50.
  • Are female. In the United States, IBS is more common among women. Estrogen therapy before or after menopause also is a risk factor for IBS.
  • Have a family history of IBS. Genes may play a role, as may shared factors in a family's environment or a combination of genes and environment.
  • Have anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. A history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse also might be a risk factor.



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