Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gut disorder with significant complaints of abdominal cramps and bloating with constipation or diarrhea. The duration of complaints varies from person to person and lasts for days, months to years, having short or long-term intermittent episodes. It is not an autoimmune disease. Only a tiny percentage of IBS patients experience severe signs and symptoms. Diet, lifestyle, and stress management can help some people manage their symptoms. Medication and counseling can help with more severe symptoms.
The exact cause of IBS is not known but has something to do with the overactivity of part or parts of the gut (bowel). Besides this, intolerance to certain foods, gastroenteritis, or oversensitivity of the heart to pain may cause IBS. According to research studies, the following factors also appear to play a role in causing IBS:
Intestinal Muscle Contractions: The walls of your intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract as food passes through your digestive tract. Gas, bloating, and diarrhea might result from more muscular contractions and stay longer than usual. Food passage can be slowed by weak intestinal contractions, resulting in hard, dry stools.
Nervous System: Due to a lack of coordination between the brain and the intestines, your body may overreact to changes in the digestive process, causing pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
Infection: IBS can develop after a severe bout of diarrhea (gastroenteritis), which bacteria or viruses can cause. IBS may also be linked to an overgrowth of microorganisms in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth).
Early life Stress: People exposed to stressful experiences, especially in childhood, are more likely to develop IBS symptoms.
Changes in Microbes: According to research, there may also be a change in bacteria usually found in the intestines of healthy individuals, which may lead to the development of IBS. According to research, microbes in IBS may differ from healthy people.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is considered a functional bowel disorder while exhibiting no abnormality with the physical structure of the digestive tract. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders of gut-brain interaction IBS affects around 11% of the population globally and about 10% to 15% of people in the United States.
Risk factors contributing to IBS include:
Following are the signs and symptoms of IBS:
Other symptoms may include:
IBS is usually diagnosed from the typical symptoms as there is no specific test to confirm IBS diagnosis. Blood tests and stool tests rule out other diseases having the same symptoms. The tests include:
The symptoms of IBS can be confused with some other conditions. These include:
There is no specific treatment of IBS, but different treatment regimens have a different response on patients of IBS. Many people with mild IBS symptoms don't need any treatment, but treatment can often ease symptoms and improve quality of life in severe conditions. Psychological therapies can also be very effective for some people with IBS. IBS treatment focuses on relieving symptoms to live as normally as possible. Mild signs and symptoms can often be managed by reducing stress and implementing dietary and lifestyle adjustments such as:
Hemorrhoids can be caused by chronic constipation or diarrhea.
In addition, IBS has been linked to:
Poor Quality of Life: Many patients with IBS complain about their quality of life. According to studies, people with IBS miss three times as many days at work as those who do not.
Mood Disorders: Experiencing IBS's signs and symptoms can result in depression or anxiety.
IBS causes long-term symptoms and often stays for life, but the symptoms tend to come and go. Treatment can often help to ease symptoms when they flare up. IBS usually improves with time, and, in some cases, symptoms clear up for good at some stage.
IBS can typically be relieved by making simple dietary and lifestyle modifications. It will take time for your body to adjust to these changes.
Maintaining a diary of daily diet and recording any change in symptoms. Some people with IBS find that certain foods can trigger symptoms or make symptoms worse.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 07, 2023.