Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, and flatulence. More serious symptoms include weight loss, rectal bleeding, diarrhea at night, iron deficiency, vomiting, difficult swallowing, and chronic abdominal pain which is not relieved by bowel movement or passing gas. IBS affects the large intestine and has to be managed long term.
For patients with less severe symptoms, their condition can be easily managed through lifestyle and diet changes while those with severe conditions are prescribed medications. The specific cause is not known and the most probable factors include weak intestinal contractions, nervous system abnormalities, intestinal inflammation, gastroenteritis and other related infections, and changes in the gut’s bacteria. IBS may be triggered by processed food, stress, and hormonal changes.