Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders including abdominal pain and cramps, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, gas, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite. This disorder is caused by abnormality in intestinal muscles contract usually occurring due to emotional stress. Besides stress it can be caused by low-fiber diet, laxatives, infectious diarrhea or some other kind of bowel inflammations.

Although IBS symptoms may be very similar to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) it isn't the same.

It can occur at any age and commonly affects women (men can also be affected). Early symptoms usually occur in childhood.

Diagnose is usually made by endoscopy although it isn't always necessary especially if symptoms have been stable for a long time. In patients over the age of 50 screening for colon cancer may be necessary.

IBS isn't life threatening condition and it is extremely common. Many patients do not even seek for medical treatment although it is recommended because it can significantly improve quality of life especially in cases of chronic IBS. Treatments usually consist of changes in diet although it can't help in some patients. Then the other solution may include regular exercise, anticholinergic medications (before eating food), counseling, antidepressants (for stress reduction) or anti-diarrheal medications.