Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, yet uncomfortable, disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). It is characterized by abdominal discomfort associated with altered bowel movements. Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a chronic condition that you will need to manage long term, however, IBS is not a life-threatening condition. Still, IBS can be frustrating as it comes and goes throughout life.
 
There are three subcategories of IBS:
 
  • IBS with constipation, or IBS-C
  • Hard or lumpy stools at least 25% of the time
  • Loose or watery stools less than 25% of the time
  • IBS with diarrhea, or IBS-D
  • Loose or watery stools at least 25% of the time
  • Hard or lumpy stools less than 25% of the time
  • Mixed IBS, or IBS-M
  • Hard or lumpy stools at least 25% of the time
  • Loose or watery stools at least 25% of the time
 
 
Risk factors
 
  • Being young. IBS tends to occur in people under age 45.
  • Being female. About twice as many women as men have IBS.
  • Having a family history of IBS. Studies suggest that people who have a family member with IBS may be at increased risk of the condition.
  • Having a mental health problem. Anxiety, depression, a personality disorder and a history of childhood sexual abuse are risk factors.
 
 
Diagnosis
Depending on the symptoms and other pertinent factors in the medical history, your doctor may perform: 
 
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a routine outpatient procedure in which the inside of the lower large intestine is examined.
  • Colonoscopy is also an outpatient procedure, like a sigmoidoscopy, in which the entire colon is examined with a colonoscope.
 
 
Treatment
Because it's not clear what causes irritable bowel syndrome, treatment focuses on the relief of symptoms so that you can live as normally as possible.
 
 
 
# IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) BY THE NUMBERS #
  • IBS affects 10 -15% of U.S. adults.
  • 5-7% of U.S. adults have received a diagnosis of IBS
 
about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
 
 

Sources
  • "Irritable Bowel Syndrome." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 31 July 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
  • "Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)." National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
  • "Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms & Treatment." Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
  • "What You Need to Know About Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)." Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
  • "Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment." Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
 
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