Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

March 11, 2023

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). It is a functional disorder, which means that the bowel appears normal, but it doesn't function correctly. IBS is characterized by a group of symptoms that can vary in severity and duration, and may include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, or a combination of these symptoms.

The exact cause of IBS is not known, but it is believed to be related to abnormal functioning of the nerves and muscles in the bowel, leading to changes in the way the bowel contracts and relaxes. Factors that can trigger or worsen IBS symptoms include stress, certain foods, hormonal changes, and bacterial infections.

There are several types of IBS, based on the predominant bowel habit:

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
  • IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M)
  • Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U)

There is no specific test to diagnose IBS, and diagnosis is typically based on the presence of specific symptoms and the exclusion of other gastrointestinal disorders. Treatment for IBS typically involves lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes and stress reduction, and medications to alleviate specific symptoms. Psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy may also be helpful for some individuals with IBS.

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