Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not a disease -- it is a syndrome, or group of symptoms that occur together. This digestive condition does not damage the intestine, so if the physical exam and other tests show no signs of disease or damage, the healthcare provider may diagnose irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS is a chronic and incurable digestive condition that interferes with the normal functions of the colon. It is characterized by a group of symptoms, namely crampy abdominal (stomach) pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
It is not exactly known what causes this condition. However, certain situations (such as stress) and foods may worsen IBS symptoms. Most people can control their symptoms through diet, stress management, and medications.
(Click Irritable Bowel Syndrome for a more in-depth look at this digestive condition. This article provides a complete overview, including details on possible symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and common treatment options.)
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: ArthurSchoenstadt, MD
List of references (click here):
American College of Gastroenterology IBS Task Force. An evidence-based position statement on the management of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 2009;104:S1.
Schuster MM. Diagnostic evaluation of the irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterol Clin North Am 1991;20:269.
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