<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>
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...
Definition Alternative Names Fecal incontinence exercises Information A program of bowel retraining, Kegel exercises , or biofeedback therapy may be used by people with: Fecal incontinence Nerve problems (such as from multiple sclerosis or other conditions) Severe constipation The bowel program has several steps that help with regular bowel movements. Within a few weeks of beginning a bowel program, most people can have regular bowel movements. Before starting a bowel training program, get a thorough physical examination. Your health care provider can find the cause of the fecal incontinence and treat any correctable disorders, such as a fecal impaction or infectious diarrhea . The doctor will use your history of bowel habits and lifestyle as a guide for setting new bowel movement patterns. DIET The following dietary changes can help promote regular, soft, bulky stools: Add high- fiber foods to your diet, including whole-wheat grains, fresh vegetables, and beans. Use products containing psyllium, suc...
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