72012Nov

Could You Be Suffering From Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the intestines that causes abdominal pain, cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. IBS has not been shown to cause more serious diseases such as cancer or inflammatory bowel diseases, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome vary from person to person.  The severity of your symptoms may also fluctuate from one day to the next.  Your symptoms may subside or go away after a bowel movement.  Many people with IBS alternate between having diarrhea and constipation.

IBS is quite common and can occur at any age, but is more likely to manifest in the teen years or early adulthood.  IBS is twice as common in women as in men. The cause of IBS is still unknown.  Some possible ideas for what might trigger symptoms of IBS are: stress, anxiety, trouble digesting certain foods, or problems with the way signals are sent between the digestive tract and the brain.

You should to talk to your doctor about ruling out the possibility of having IBS or another possible digestive disorder if: you have symptoms of abdominal pain, fullness, gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation for 3 days out of the month for the last 3 months.  There is not a test to diagnose IBS.  In most cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose you with IBS based on your symptoms.  Your doctor may order blood tests, stool studies or a colonoscopy to rule out other digestive disorders.


References
1.  “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” PubMed Health. Atlanta: 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001292.