Learn more about this common gastrointestinal disorder that affects millions.
Causing symptoms like pain, bloating and changes in bowel movements, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder that often interferes with quality of life. It has no cure, but can be managed with lifestyle changes. Find out what doctors know about IBS and how you can get help.
How common is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, 10 to 15 percent of people in the United States have IBS. Not everyone sees a doctor for it, and not every case is severe.
What are the symptoms?
Not everyone with IBS experiences the same symptoms. The most common symptom is abdominal pain and discomfort. Along with this discomfort, most people experience diarrhea or constipation. Usually the pain is alleviated somewhat after a bowel movement. If you have IBS, these symptoms can happen frequently or infrequently.
What are the causes?
According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, IBS is caused by a disturbance in the way the brain and the intestines interact. This can be related to stress or anxiety, but isn’t caused by stress alone.
How is Irritable Bowel Syndrome treated?
Because IBS does not have a cure, patients are encouraged to use a variety of tools to help alleviate symptoms. Dietary changes and stress management techniques are generally more effective than treating IBS with medication, but medication may need to be used for severe symptoms. Many people find that types of therapy that address stress and other emotional disturbances have a positive effect on IBS symptoms and frequency.
Visit the North Hills Hospital online health information section to learn more about irritable bowel syndrome. Are you experiencing any pain, discomfort or other symptoms of IBS? Call us at 1-855-5NHILLS to request a physician referral.