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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
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Resource Description: 
Caring for and managing patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.
If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or care about someone who does, this site is for you.
Mayo Clinic's award-winning consumer website offers health information and self-improvement tools.
An information dissemination service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Episode number: 
910
Transcript: 
IBS (transcript)

(Source: NDDIC / NIH) Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, meaning it is a problem caused by changes in how the GI tract works. People with a functional GI disorder have frequent symptoms, but the GI tract does not become damaged. IBS is not a disease; it is a group of symptoms that occur together. The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal pain or discomfort, often reported as cramping, along with diarrhea, constipation, or both. In the past, irritable bowel syndrome was called colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, nervous colon, and spastic bowel. The name was changed to reflect the understanding that the disorder has both physical and mental causes and is not a product of a person’s imagination.

Diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is diagnosed when a person has abdominal pain or discomfort at least three times per month for the last 3 months without other disease or injury that could explain the pain. The pain or discomfort of IBS may occur with a change in stool frequency or consistency or may be relieved by a bowel movement.

Types of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is often classified into four subtypes based on a person’s usual stool consistency. These subtypes are important because they affect the types of treatment that are most likely to improve the person’s symptoms. The four subtypes of IBS are

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
    • hard or lumpy stools at least 25 percent of the time
    • loose or watery stools less than 25 percent of the time
  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
    • loose or watery stools at least 25 percent of the time
    • hard or lumpy stools less than 25 percent of the time
  • Mixed IBS (IBS-M)
    • hard or lumpy stools at least 25 percent of the time
    • loose or watery stools at least 25 percent of the time
  • Unsubtyped IBS (IBS-U)
    • hard or lumpy stools less than 25 percent of the time
    • loose or watery stools less than 25 percent of the time


SOURCE: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)

Key Point 1

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that affects the large intestines.  The condition does not cause permanent damage to the colon, however it is important to rule out other diseases before a diagnosis of IBS can be made.

 

Key Point 2

While Irritable bowel syndrome can be both physically and emotionally disruptive on a person’s life, there are good treatments available.  Once the symptoms are improved, most IBS patients find they can lead normal lives.

Medline Plus

Medline Description: 

Interactive Medical Search logoConduct an off-site search for IBS from MedlinePlus.  These up-to-date search results are based on search terms specific to Second Opinion Key Points.

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