Gastrointestinal Diseases

Irritable Bowel Syndrome


  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)​ is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon).
  • IBS causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both.
  • So far there is no obvious cause of infection; however, it is believed that caused by several factors.
  • Symptoms can be controlled with medication, diet and dealing with stress and anxiety. 
  • Lifestyle changes can help to manage IBS symptoms. 
IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon) causing cramping and abdominal bloating, in addition to change in the pattern of movement of the intestinal cavity, and can affect anyone at any age. Symptoms are also different among those infected, and are classified as functional digestive disorders.

Other Names:
Irritable bowel syndrome, nervous colon, spastic colon, mucous colitis, and spastic bowel.

The precise cause of IBS isn't known. Factors that appear to play a role include:
  • Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the digestive system. 
  • Problems in the movement of the digestive system. 
  • Inflammation in the intestines.
  • Infection.
  • Family history.
  • Food allergy.
  • Some psychological problems such as: depression, anxiety and others.
Risk Factors:
  • Age: Under age 45.
  • Family history.
  • Sex: Women are twice as likely to have IBS as men.
  • Psychological problems such as: anxiety, depression, family violence, some personality disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • Abdominal pain and cramping. 
  • Anorexia.
  • Feeling full.
  • Excess gas.
  • Mucus in the stool. 
When to See a Doctor?
When you have symptoms that may indicate a serious health condition such as:
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Persistent and increasing pain at night or bedtime.
  • Weight loss. 
  • Hemorrhoids (caused by chronic constipation or diarrhea). 
  • Malnutrition.
  • Depression. 

After other conditions have been ruled out, your doctor is likely to do the following tests: 
  • Medical history.
  • Physical examination.
  • Lab tests: Screening of blood and stool. 
  • Other tests: X-ray, CT scan, colonoscopy, lactose intolerance test, breath test.

Because the exact cause of IBS is unknown, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms so that you can live as normally as possible. Mild signs and symptoms can often be controlled by making changes in your diet and lifestyle. If the condition is more difficult and the symptoms are more severe, your doctor may prescribe some modifications to alleviate the symptoms, such as: 
  • Fiber supplement. 
  •  Anti-diarrheal medications.
  • Anticholinergic medications. 
  • Anti-biotic. 

Know IBS irritating risk factors to avoid them.

Guidelines for Patients with IBS ​:
  • Avoid foods that may irritate the colon such as: caffeine (tea, coffee, energy drinks), sugars, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, high-fat foods, and gum.
  • Avoid some foods containing carbohydrates that are hard to digest.
  • Avoid foods that increase gas (broccoli, cabbage).
  • Eat your meals at regular times.
  • People with lactose intolerance shall be cautioned when taking dairy products.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Exercise regularly to reduce stress and stimulate natural contractions of intestinal muscles.
  • Reduce stress by breathing deeply, relaxing… etc. 
  • Quit smoking. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
  • Does IBS lead to cancer?
    • IBS does not pose a serious threat to your physical health and doesn't increase your chances of developing cancer. 
  • Should all patients with IBS adhere to a specific diet?
    • Yes, they must adhere to a healthy diet, avoid what irritates the colon and cause contractions.
  • Does fiber intake reduce the symptoms of colon?
    • Fiber intake relieves irritable bowel syndrome because it relieves constipation. Therefore, you should eat foods that contain fiber, such as beans, fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, and whole grain products.

  • There is a difference between the digestive and nervous colon.
    • Fact: In fact they are the same disease; but some people get their colon irritated due to psychological factors rather than digestive factors. 
  • Frequent stress and anxiety lead to irritable bowel syndrome. 
    • Fact: Frequent stress and anxiety is a risk factor for irritable bowel syndrome, but not necessarily its occurrence.

Last Update : 10 February 2022 01:48 PM
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