IBS Center

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome
As many as one in five Americans experience symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), making it one of the most common disorders diagnosed by doctors. But what is this newly popularized diagnosis? And what are the characteristics of the condition?

What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome refers to a disorder of the lower intestinal tract. IBS involves abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements. IBS is not inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Although IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, it does not permanently harm the intestines and does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. Most people can control symptoms with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications.

Types of IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome can be subdivided into three major categories:

  1. Alternating constipation and diarrhea IBS
  2. Constipation predominant IBS – Normal stools alternate with constipation and symptoms are commonly triggered by eating.
  3. Diarrhea predominant IBS – Diarrhea manifests first thing in the morning or after eating. The need to go to the toilet is typically urgent and cannot be delayed. Incontinence may be a problem.

IBS can be triggered by a number of different stimuli. But what causes a bout of IBS. And are you at risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome? Learn more about risk factors and causes of irritable bowel syndrome here.

NEXT: Causes and Risk Factors >>