Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the large and small intestines that causes abdominal pain or discomfort. The pain occurs along with constipation or diarrhea. Other common symptoms are bloating, passing mucus in the stools, or a sense that you have not completely emptied your bowels.

Many people with IBS have alternating periods of constipation and diarrhea, but often one problem is more common than the other. A given episode may be milder or more severe than the one before it, but the disorder itself does not become worse over time. Irritable bowel syndrome does not lead to more serious diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional bowel disorder. This means that the movement of the digestive tract is impaired but doctors can find no change in physical structure, such as inflammation or tumors. The symptoms of IBS are thought to be related to abnormal muscle contractions in any part of the intestines.

IBS is one of the most common intestinal disorders. Most people's symptoms are so mild that they never visit a doctor. However, some people can have symptoms that are quite troublesome, especially abdominal cramps, bloating, and diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a long-term (chronic) but manageable condition. Active involvement in treatment is important to successfully manage the condition. Treatment is adapted to fit individual needs. Medication may be used in addition to changes in diet and lifestyle.

 



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