Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. This may be caused by a change in your body's ability to move food through your digestive system, or may be due to you becoming more sensitive to pain from your gut.
The symptoms of IBS usually appear for the first time when a person is between 20 and 30 years of age. They tend to come and go in bouts, often during times of stress or after eating certain foods.
The most common symptoms of IBS are:
There are three main patterns of bowel symptoms in IBS. They are:
Most people have a flare-up of symptoms that lasts two to four days. After this time, the symptoms usually improve but do not disappear completely. Symptoms of IBS often have a significant impact on a person's day-to-day life. The pain, discomfort and inconvenience of IBS are very real and can have a deep psychological effect.
IBS is unpredictable. You may go for many months without any symptoms and then have a sudden flare-up. Certain foods and drinks can trigger the symptoms of IBS. Triggers vary from person to person, but the most common ones include:
Stress is another common trigger of IBS symptoms. Therefore, finding ways to manage stressful situations is an important part of treating IBS.
There are a number of treatments that can help manage the symptoms of IBS, these include:
* The contents of this condition is for information purposes only.