Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common intestinal condition that causes abdominal pain, irregular and sporadic bowel movements, affecting your colon (your large-intestine). Unlike IBD, your intestinal tract is not damaged.
IBS affects 25-45 million people in the US, making it one of the most common functioning gastrointestinal disorders. While IBS is not life-threatening, it can significantly reduce one’s quality of life.
There is no exact cause for IBS. However, several factors may contribute to IBS, including:
IBS symptoms are chronic and may not always be present, but require long-term management. Symptoms may include:
There is no definitive test to diagnose IBS, so your GI doctor will run tests to eliminate other bowel diseases. Tests may include colonoscopies, blood tests, stool samples, and diagnostic imaging.
Doctors will likely follow diagnostic criteria to determine if you have IBS. This can include:
What is the Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
While there is no cure for IBS, there are lifestyle changes and medications available to help manage symptoms.
Some lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms can include:
Medication is also available to mitigate symptoms (such as constipation or diarrhea), depending on their nature and severity. Your GI doctor will work closely with you to develop an individualized plan.
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