is a commonly diagnosed illness found among patients visiting a Gastroenterologist. Approximately 10 to 15% of the population in the US has this disease.
By the current medical criteria (Rome and Manning), it is a syndrome, or a collection of symptoms, that occurs for at least 12 weeks or 3 months. Although any one of any age and sex can have this medical condition, it often occurs in younger patients and women.
The symptoms include recurrent abdominal pain (including cramps) with alternating loose and formed stool. Some can have predominantly diarrhea or increasing loose stool. While others have mainly constipation with hard stools, there can be also a change in stool appearance and shape. Most people often experience the sensation of incomplete evacuation but cannot defecate further. Other associated symptoms include bloating, increased flatus ("passing gas" or "gas"), passing mucous with stool, increased number of daily bowel movements, and even increasing reflux or belching.
There are many suggestions for the causes of IBS. Unfortunately, we do not know the exact answer. It often does not suggest any serious underlying illnesses. It has been seen after a bad intestinal infection; it could be associated with stress, and it would be possible to be associated with certain food.
Since this illness can have many symptoms or presentations, the treatment is often directed toward the symptoms that bother the patient the most. Therefore, the care could be as simple as increasing fiber intake in the diet to medications and even hospitalization. The best advice is to seek medical attention if you have any questions or especially any symptoms listed above.
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This section is as reference guide only. The information contained herein should not be used as or construed to be a diagnosis or used in place of a visit to a physician.