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Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and More

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Definition

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common illness that affects the large intestine. Signs and indications include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both.

It is a chronic disorder that you will need to manage in the long term. And also, only a small number of persons with irritable bowel syndrome have severe signs and symptoms.

Some people can control symptoms with changes in diet, lifestyle, and stress management. The most severe symptoms can treat with medication and psychological therapy.

Irritable bowel syndrome does not reason changes in intestinal tissue or increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS)?

irritable bowel syndrome

Its signs and symptoms differ. The most frequent are the following:

  • Abdominal pain, cramping, or bloating are typically partially or wholly relieved by having a bowel movement.
  • Excess gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation; sometimes alternating episodes of diarrhea and constipation
  • And also mucus in stool.

Most people with irritable bowel syndrome have times when the signs and symptoms are worse, and when they get better or even go away completely.

What are the Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

The careful cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown. The factors that appear to contribute are the following:

1. Muscle Contractions in the Intestine

  • The intestine walls are lined with layers of muscle that contract as food moves through the digestive tract.
  • More muscular contractions that last longer than average can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
  • And also, weak bowel contractions can slow food passage, causing the stool to be hard and dry.

2. The Nervous System

  • Abnormalities in the digestive system’s nerves can cause more discomfort than average when the abdomen stretch due to gas or stool.
  • Poorly coordinated signs between the brain and the gut can cause the body to overreact to changes that usually happen in the digestive process, leading to pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

3. Intestinal Inflammation

  • Some people with it have a higher number of immune system cells in the gut.
  • And also, this immune system response is associated with pain and diarrhea.

4. Severe Infection

  • It can occur after a severe diarrhea episode (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus.
  • It can also associate with an excess of bacteria in the gut (overgrowth of bacteria).

5. Alterations in the Bacteria of the Intestine (Microflora)

  • The microflora is the “good” bacteria that live in the gut and play a key role in maintaining health.
  • And also, people with irritable bowel syndrome can vary relative to the microflora of healthy people.

6. Triggers

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can trigger the following:


  • Its role of food allergy or bigotry not fully understand.
  • However, many people have irritable bowel syndrome symptoms that are worse when consuming certain foods and beverages, such as wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk, and soda.


  • Most people with irritable bowel syndrome have signs and symptoms that worsen or are more frequent during increased stress periods.
  • However, while stress can aggravate symptoms, it is not the cause.


  • Women are double as likely to have it, indicating that hormonal changes play a role.
  • And also, many women find that signs and indications are worse during or near their menstrual periods.

Risk Factors of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Many people suffer from occasional signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. And also, but they are more likely to have the syndrome if:

1. Young

  • Irritable bowel syndrome tends to occur most often in people under 50 years of age.

2. Female

  • In the United States, it is more common in women.
  • And also, estrogen therapy before or after menopause is a risk factor for irritable bowel syndrome.

3. Family History

  • Genes can play a role, as can factors shared in the family environment or a combination of genes and the environment.

4. Mental Health Problem

  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are linked to it.
  • And also, a history of sexual, physical, or emotional misuse can be a risk factor.

Complications of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Chronic diarrhea or constipation can cause hemorrhoids. And also, irritable bowel syndrome is related to the following:

1. Poor Quality of Life

  • Many people with moderate to severe irritable bowel syndrome report a low quality of life.
  • And also, people with it are 3 times more absent from work than people without intestinal symptoms.

2. Mood Disorders

  • Having the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can lead to depression or anxiety.
  • And also, depression and anxiety can make it worse.

Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

irritable bowel syndrome

There is no examination to diagnose it definitively. Your doctor will likely start with a thorough history, physical examination, and tests to rule out other conditions. If you have it, you will likely test for gluten intolerance (celiac disease).

After ruling out other conditions, your doctor might use one of the following diagnostic criteria for irritable bowel syndrome:

1. Rome Criteria

  • These criteria contain abdominal pain and discomfort lasting, on average, at least 1 day per week in the past 3 months, related to at least two of the following factors:
  • Pain and discomfort are associated with defecation; there is an alteration in defecation frequency or the stool’s consistency.

2. Manning Criteria

  • These criteria focus on pain relief after defecation and incomplete bowel movements, mucus in the stool, and stool consistency changes.
  • And also, the more symptoms you have, the more probable you are to develop it.

3. Type of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

It can be divided into three types for treatment, depending on the symptoms: predominance of constipation, diarrhea, or mixed type.

Your doctor will likely evaluate you for other signs or symptoms that may suggest a more severe disorder. Some of these signs and symptoms are:

  • The appearance of signs and symptoms after age 50;
  • Slimming;
  • Rectal bleeding;
  • Fever;
  • Recurring nausea or vomiting;
  • Abdominal pain, mostly if not completely relieved by a bowel movement, or that occurs at night;
  • Persistent or waking diarrhea;
  • And also, anemia is related to low iron levels.

If you have these symbols or symptoms, or the initial treatment for it is not working, you may need further tests.

4. Additional Tests

Your doctor may recommend various tests, including stool tests, to look for infections or problems with the intestine’s skill to absorb nutrients from food (insufficient absorption). You can also do several other tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Imaging Tests may include

Flexible sigmoidoscopy: The doctor examines the lower part of the colon (sigmoid) with a lighted, flexible tube.

Colonoscopy: The doctor uses a small flexible tube to examine the entire length of the colon.

Xrays or CT scans: These tests produce images of the abdomen and pelvis that may help your doctor rule out other origins of your symptoms, especially if you have abdominal pain. The doctor may fill the large intestine with a liquid (barium) to see any problems more clearly on the x-ray. This barium test  sometimes calls a “lower gastrointestinal series.”

Laboratory Tests may include

Lactose intolerance tests: Lactase is an enzyme necessary to digest the sugar in dairy products. If you don’t produce lactase, you could have problems similar to those caused by irritable bowel syndromes, such as abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea.

Breath test for bacteria overgrowth: The breath test can also determine an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Bacteria overgrowth is more common in people who have had intestinal surgery or have diabetes or other diseases that slow digestion.

Upper endoscopy: A long, flexible tube inserted down the throat into the line connects the mouth to the stomach (esophagus). Using a camera at the end of the box, the doctor inspects the upper digestive tract and obtains a tissue sample (biopsy) from the small intestine and fluid to look for bacteria overgrowth.

Stool analysis:  Your stool may test for bacteria or parasites or a digestive fluid made in the liver (bile acid) if you have chronic diarrhea.

When to See the Doctor

See your doctor if you have determined changes in bowel habits or other signs or symptoms. They can be a sign of more severe disease, such as colon cancer. These are some of the more severe signs and symptoms:

  • Slimming;
  • Diarrhea at night;
  • Rectal bleeding;
  • Iron deficiency anemia;
  • Vomiting for no apparent reason;
  • Difficulty to swallow;
  • And also, persistent pain that is not relieved by transitory gas or having a bowel movement.


Irritable bowel syndrome tends to occur most often in people under 50 years of age. If you have it, you will likely test for gluten intolerance (celiac disease).

It can also associate with an excess of bacteria in the gut (overgrowth of bacteria).

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