Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as IBS, is a disorder that affects the colon and intestinal tract. IBS is considered a chronic condition requiring proper management over the person’s lifetime.

The causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are still not completely known. An array of factors can be considered. The intestinal walls contain muscle layers that contract and relax as food travels from the stomach through the intestinal tract. If a person has Irritable Bowel Syndrome, those contractions may be strong and last much longer, resulting in bloating, gas and possibly diarrhea. The opposite can occur when significantly weaker intestinal contractions slow food down and leading to constipation.

What are the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Symptoms can be triggered due to stress, specific foods or other medical issues.

Symptoms include

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Constant and sometimes painful gas
  • Constipation
  • Bowel movement urgency

How is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treated?

For most people, Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms can be alleviated through dietary and lifestyle changes combined with a proper treatment plan from their healthcare provider. Two of the most important dietary changes that healthcare providers can recommend will be to drink plenty of water, and to increase the fiber in the diet. Avoidance of high-fat foods is also encouraged. Some natural health practitioners will encourage adding pro-biotic supplements and pro-biotic foods such as yogurt into the diet. Doctors will often refer patients to dieticians and nutritional specialists to have them provide direction and dietary advice.

If you believe you have been experiencing any symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is vital that you see your doctor as soon as possible.

Last Reviewed:
September 14, 2016
Last Updated:
September 01, 2017