Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) refers to a disorder that involves abdominal pain and cramping, as well as changes in bowel movements.
It is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis .
Spastic colon; Irritable colon; Mucous colitis; Spastic colitis
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
There are many possible causes of IBS. For example, there may be a problem with muscles in the intestine, or the intestine may be more sensitive to stretching or movement. There is no problem with the structure of the intestine.
It is not clear why patients develop IBS, but in some instances, it occurs after an intestinal infection. This is called postinfectious IBS. There may also be other triggers.
Stress can worsen IBS. The colon is connected to the brain through nerves of the autonomic nervous system. These nerves become more active during times of stress, and can cause th...
<p><strong>What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?</strong></p>
<p>Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the United States. It is characterized by intermittent periods of constipation or diarrhea and often pain or bloating. After partly digested food leaves the stomach, it is moved through the small and then the large intestine by regular contractions (peristaltic motility) of the muscles in the intestinal wall. In IBS, these muscles may go into spasm and move residues either too quickly (causing diarrhea) or too slowly (causing constipation). IBS should not be confused with the more serious inflammatory bowel diseases.</p>
<p>There is no cure for IBS; treatment focuses on relief of symptoms, which can often be accomplished with a combination of diet and stress management. Medications are also sometimes helpful. IBS is more common in women than men, and symptoms may worsen in relation to menses.</p>
Anyone who has ever been anxious, even for the shortest period of time, knows the way their stomach grumbles in sympathy. It perhaps shouldn't be surprising to learn therefore that one of the most common physical complaints associated with anxiety is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Having said that, anxiety may not be the cause of IBS. In fact it still isn't really clear what the relationship is between IBS and anxiety, except for the fact that it seems to exist. We know, for example, that relief from stress can help to ease the symptoms associated with the syndrome. We also know that certain changes to diet and lifestyle can have positive effects.
The cause of IBS may not be known, but its association with anxiety and stress and the lack of any obvious organic cause, make it an easy target to be considered psychosomatic. There are however a number of other possible candidates for the condition, a review of which can be found on the Mayo Clinic website.
IBS (sometimes st...
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