Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Also known as spastic colon or mucous colitis. Abnormally increased motility of the large and small intestines, leading to pain and alternating diarrhoea and constipation; often precipitated by emotional stress.

This is a common and benign condition of the colon, taking different forms but usually characterized by alternating constipation and diarrhea. There is often some pain accompanying the diarrhea phase. The bowel equivalent of asthma, its main cause is stress, often accompanied by a history of GI infections. Adrenalin stress slows the colon and causes constipation, followed by the cholinergic rebound overstimulation of the colon. It is also called spastic colon, colon syndrome, or even chronic colitis.

A common condition that is characterized by episodes of abdominal pain and disturbance of the intestines (such as constipation or diarrhea).

Condition characterized by recurrent abdominal pain, usually crampy in nature, and diarrhea, often alternating with periods of constipation. Occurring most often in young adults, it has no known organic cause and is often associated with emotional stress. Also called spastic colon; mucous colitis.

A disorder that consists of severe spasms of cramping abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating alternating with constipation, and excessive secretion of mucus from the colon; also known as spastic colon or raucous colitis.

A common condition in which recurrent abdominal pain with constipation and/or diarrhea continues for years without any general deterioration in health. There is no detectable structural disease; the symptoms are caused by abnormal muscular contractions in the colon. The cause is unknown, but the condition is often associated with stress or anxiety and may follow severe infection of the intestine.

A disorder of the intestinal tract that affects its motility and causes abdominal distension and irregular defaecation. Traditional, but now discarded, names have been spastic or irritable colon. The disease affects around 20 per cent of the general population but in most it is no more than a minor nuisance. The causes are not fully understood, but it is generally believed that symptoms develop in response to psychological factors, changed gastrointestinal motility, or altered visceral sensation. About 50 per cent of patients meet criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis. Anxiety, depression, neurosis, panic attacks and acute disease are among possible triggering factors. Some patients have diarrhoea, others are constipated, and some alternate between the two. Many have increased sensitivity to distension of the intestine. Dietary factors such as intolerance to dairy products and wheat are apparent in certain patients.

A condition marked by abdominal pain (often relieved by the passage of stool or gas); disturbances of evacuation (constipation, diarrhea, or alternating episodes of both); bloating and abdominal distention; and the passage of mucus in stools. These symptoms must be present despite the absence of anatomical, biochemical, or clinical evidence of active intestinal disease. The condition is common and found in as many as 15 to 25% of women in Western societies. Its prognosis is benign. It is not associated with weight loss, fevers, or intestinal bleeding. Patients are symptomatic during the day, but they do not have pain, bloating, distention, diarrhea, or other abdominal symptoms while sleeping. Women are typically affected more often than men; in some studies the ratio of women to men is 3:1.

A functional disorder characterized by episodes of abdominal pain or tenderness along with bowel disruptions in the form of diarrhea and/or constipation.

Chronic disorder of the small and large intestine causing abnormally increased motility of the bowels.

Intermittent abdominal pain accompanied by constipation, diarrhea, or alternating episodes of both, which manifests without any other identified disease.

The exact origin of IBS remains unclear, though stress and anxiety often worsen its symptoms. Roughly one in five individuals experience IBS at some point in their lives, making it the most common reason for referrals to gastroenterologists. The condition is more prevalent in women, with a ratio of two to one compared to men, and typically emerges in early to mid-adulthood.

IBS symptoms encompass occasional abdominal cramping, bloating, especially on the left side, temporary pain relief after a bowel movement or passing gas, a feeling of not fully emptying the bowels, excessive gas, mucus discharge, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. Some individuals might also experience non-digestive symptoms like headaches, backaches, and fatigue.

Symptoms often come and go and can persist over a lifetime. However, they might lessen in frequency and intensity as time progresses. The condition is not typically associated with complications.

There isn’t a definitive test to distinguish IBS from other digestive issues. To diagnose IBS, a patient should experience persistent or recurring abdominal pain for a minimum of 12 weeks. This pain should be paired with at least two of these characteristics: pain relief after bowel movement, pain starting with a change in bowel movement frequency, or pain beginning with a variation in stool texture.

IBS symptoms can often be managed by altering one’s diet and practicing relaxation methods. Finding the most effective approach might require some trial and error for the individual.

When constipation is the predominant issue, a diet rich in fiber or the use of bulk-forming supplements like bran or methylcellulose might be beneficial. For ongoing diarrhea, brief treatments with antidiarrheal medications could be recommended. To alleviate abdominal pain, antispasmodic medications that ease digestive tract contractions might be prescribed. Hypnosis, psychotherapy, and counseling have been successful for some individuals.