The IBS Patient Support Group community aims to bring patients together for discussion and advocacy support combined with evidenced-based medical information.
When Irritable Bowel Syndrome was first described by the medical community, it was often described in negative terms with few treatment options. Thanks to research in the discovery of new treatment options, women and men have begun to have lives improved despite the many quality of life issues related to IBS.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause abdominal cramping, bloating, and a change in bowel habits. Some people with the disorder have constipation. Some have diarrhea. Others go back and forth between the two. Although IBS can cause a great deal of discomfort, it does not harm the intestines. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are two very different disorders.
IBS is common. It affects about twice as many women as men (in western culture) and is most often found first diagnosed in people younger than 45 years. No one knows the exact cause of IBS. There is no specific single test for all types of IBS. Your doctor may run tests to be sure you don't have other diseases. These tests may include stool sampling tests, blood tests, and x-rays. Your doctor may also do a test called a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Most people diagnosed with IBS can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, probiotics, and medication.
According to the Rome IV diagnostic criteria definition of IBS, IBS is identified as a Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (FGID) Bowel Disorder with these different varieties based on symptoms:
- IBS with predominant constipation (IBS-C)
- IBS with predominant diarrhea (IBS-D)
- IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M)
- IBS unclassified (IBS-U)
Furthermore, each IBS variety can be further classified into mild (40%), moderate (35%) or severe (25%) based on patient-rated severity of symptoms.
IBS may be a lifelong condition. For some people, symptoms are disabling and interfere with work, travel, and social activities. Symptoms often get better with treatment. IBS does not cause permanent harm to the intestines and it does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)