What is it?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a cluster of symptoms, consisting of abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Some IBS patients experience alternating diarrhea and constipation. Mucus in and around the stool is commonly noticed.
It is helpful to know what IBS is NOT:
It is not a cancer and will not cause cancer
It is not an anatomic or structural defect
It will not cause other gastrointestinal diseases
It will not progress to a more serious disorder
If you think you have IBS, see a doctor.
Talking with your doctor about your problem is the first helpful step, because we all fear the unknown. Your doctor may order a series of tests to make sure that there is no other underlying disease causing your symptoms.
Symptoms of IBS:
Signs that suggest you may not have IBS:
What can help symptoms of IBS?
There are various treatment options you can try:
Medicines can ease the symptoms of IBS. But no treatment can cure the condition. Counseling might also help with IBS, because stress and worry can make the condition worse.
The medicines that can help with IBS symptoms include:
Remember, most people with IBS have the condition for the rest of their life. Even so, most people find ways to improve their symptoms. The key is to keep working with your provider until the two of you find an approach that works.