Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition of the digestive system. Its primary symptoms are abdominal pain and altered bowel habits (eg, constipation and/or diarrhea), but these symptoms have no identifiable cause. IBS is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition and is second only to the common cold as a cause of absence from work. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of people in the general population experience symptoms of IBS, although only about 15 percent of affected people actually seek medical help.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome usually begins in young adulthood. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome in the United States and other western countries. In other countries (such as India), an equal number of men and women are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. The most common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome is abdominal pain in association with changes in bowel habits (diarrhea and/or constipation).
- Abdominal pain — Abdominal pain is typically crampy, varying in intensity, and located in the lower left abdomen. Some people notice that emotional stress and eating worsen the pain, and that having a bowel movement relieves the
pain. Some women with irritable bowel syndrome notice an association between pain episodes and their menstrual cycle.
- Changes in bowel habits — Altered bowel habits are a second symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. This can include diarrhea, constipation, or alternating diarrhea and constipation.
- Other symptoms — Other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include bloating, gas, belching, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, an early feeling of fullness with eating, and nausea.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diagnosis
Several intestinal disorders have symptoms that are similar to irritable bowel syndrome. Examples include malabsorption (abnormal absorption of nutrients), in?ammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), and microscopic and eosinophilic colitis (uncommon diseases associated with intestinal inflammation). That’s why it’s important to get evaluated if you suffer these symptoms so that we can treat you properly.
View the full PDF to learn more about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of IBS.
If you experience these symptoms often, we can help. Contact us today at (281) 338-2861 to make an appointment.