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Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome: Introduction

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition that affects the lower gastrointestinal tract (the intestines) and results in uncomfortable and inconvenient symptoms, such as gas, emotional distress, and abnormal bowel movements.

Irritable bowel syndrome occurs due to uncoordinated muscular contractions of the muscles that move food through the gastrointestinal tract. It is not known what causes this to happen, but it may be the result of a dysfunction of the nerves and muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. Irritable bowel syndrome may occur in some cases after an intestinal infection.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a different condition than inflammatory bowel disease, which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Inflammatory bowel disease causes ongoing or repeating bouts of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract which can lead to serious complications, such as an increase risk of colon cancer, intestinal obstruction, and fistula.

Irritable bowel syndrome is less serious than inflammatory bowel disease. However, in severe cases, irritable bowel syndrome can result in dehydration if the symptom of diarrhea is frequent or severe.

Other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can include abdominal pain, abdominal distension, gas and diarrhea that alternates with bouts of constipation. Other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include loss of appetite. Symptoms can be aggravated by certain mood disorders. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome can occur in both sexes and in any age group. Irritable bowel syndrome most often begins in people in their teens through young adulthood and is more common in women than men.

Making a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is often done by a specialist called a gastroenterologist. The process begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination.

Diagnosis may also include doing tests that check for bacteria, viruses and parasites in the stool, which can cause symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome.

Other tests are also generally done to rule-out more serious gastrointestinal conditions, such as Inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. This includes a complete blood count (CBC), which can show if an inflammatory process is occurring.

Testing may also include CT scan and a variety of tests using video imaging technology. This includes endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy. These tests involve passing a small flexible tube fitted with a camera into the gastrointestinal tract to look for areas of inflammation and other signs of disease. During this procedure, samples of inflamed tissue may be taken to be examined under a microscope to confirm a diagnosis. A barium X-ray may also be done. This test can illuminate certain abnormalities in the GI tract.

A diagnosis of the irritable bowel syndrome may be missed or delayed because symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a treatable disorder and can often be controlled to effectively reduce or eliminate symptoms. Treatment can include identifying and avoiding foods and situations that bring on symptoms. Treatment may also include special diets and medications in some cases. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of irritable bowel syndrome....more »

Irritable bowel syndrome: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome may missed or delayed because its symptoms may be mistaken for symptoms of such conditions as gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, food poisoning, appendicitis, pancreatitis, or diverticulosis. Only a thorough evaluation by a qualified health care professional can determine what is ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Irritable bowel syndrome. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Irritable bowel syndrome

Home medical tests possibly related to Irritable bowel syndrome:

Irritable bowel syndrome: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Irritable bowel syndrome, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Irritable bowel syndrome Treatments

Treatment can help to control or eliminate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The overall treatment goal for people living with irritable bowel syndrome is to control symptoms to a degree that allows them to feel better and live the most normal, healthy and active lives possible.

The most effect treatment plans include a multifaceted approach. One facet of treatment is dietary. ...Irritable bowel syndrome Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Irritable bowel syndrome may include:

Review further information on Irritable bowel syndrome Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Irritable bowel syndrome

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Irritable bowel syndrome may include:

Stories from Users for Irritable bowel syndrome

Real-life user stories relating to Irritable bowel syndrome:

Irritable bowel syndrome: Animations

Irritable bowel syndrome: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Irritable bowel syndrome may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

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Causes of Similar Symptoms to Irritable bowel syndrome

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Irritable bowel syndrome:

Irritable bowel syndrome: Deaths

Read more about causes and Irritable bowel syndrome deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Irritable bowel syndrome

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance. The digestive system contains a variety of more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" bacteria in the gut. more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are peptic ulcer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, or more »

Irritable bowel syndrome: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Irritable bowel syndrome

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Irritable bowel syndrome: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Irritable bowel syndrome: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Article Excerpts about Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the intestines that leads to crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Some people with IBS have constipation (difficult or infrequent bowel movements); others have diarrhea (frequent loose stools, often with an urgent need to move the bowels); and some people experience both. Sometimes the person with IBS has a crampy urge to move the bowels but cannot do so.

Through the years, IBS has been called by many names--colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, spastic bowel, and functional bowel disease. Most of these terms are inaccurate. Colitis, for instance, means inflammation of the large intestine (colon). IBS, however, does not cause inflammation and should not be confused with another disorder, ulcerative colitis. (Source: excerpt from Irritable Bowel Syndrome: NIDDK)

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a problem that affects mainly the bowel, which is also called the large intestine. The bowel is the part of the digestive system that makes and stores stool. The word syndrome means a group of symptoms. IBS is a syndrome because it can cause several symptoms. For example, IBS causes cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. (Source: excerpt from IBS: NIDDK)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the intestines that leads to... (Source: excerpt from Irritable Bowel Syndrome: NIDDK)

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a problem that affects mainly the bowel,... (Source: excerpt from IBS: NIDDK)

Definitions of Irritable bowel syndrome:

A disorder with chronic or recurrent colonic symptoms without a clearcut etiology. This condition is characterized by chronic or recurrent ABDOMINAL PAIN, bloating, MUCUS in FECES, and an erratic disturbance of DEFECATION.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhea (often alternating with periods of constipation); often associated with emotional stress
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Chronic noninflammatory disease characterized by abdominal pain, altered bowel habits consisting of diarrhea or constipation or both, and no detectable pathologic change; a variant form is characterized by painless diarrhea; it is a common disorder with a psychophysiologic basis; called also spastic or irritable colon.
- (Source - CRISP)

Detailed list of causes of Irritable bowel syndrome

The list below shows some of the causes of Irritable bowel syndrome mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Irritable bowel syndrome. Of the 26 causes of Irritable bowel syndrome that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 2 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 25 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Irritable bowel syndrome:

The following list of conditions have 'Irritable bowel syndrome' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Irritable bowel syndrome or choose View All.

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Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Irritable bowel syndrome based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Irritable bowel syndrome:

    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Irritable bowel syndrome:

    Medical Conditions associated with Irritable bowel syndrome:

    Bowel movements (2383 causes), Bowel problems (2509 causes), Digestive symptoms (5299 causes), Abdominal symptoms (5930 causes), Intestinal symptoms (5299 causes), Lower abdominal symptoms (3048 causes), Stool symptoms (2508 causes)

    Symptoms related to Irritable bowel syndrome:

    Diarrhea (2312 causes), Abdominal pain (2568 causes), Constipation (726 causes), Diarrhoea (2312 causes), Functional, Laxatives

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Irritable bowel syndrome

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Irritable bowel syndrome and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Irritable bowel syndrome

    Medical research papers related to Irritable bowel syndrome include:

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