Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a syndrome means a group of symptoms. The most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, gas, diarrhoea and/or constipation. IBS affects the large bowel (colon), is more common in women. IBS is a functional disease, is not a disease, meaning that the colon does not function correctly.
The main symptoms include:
• Abdominal pain or discomfort in the abdomen, usually relieved by a bowel movement
• Chronic diarrhoea
• Chronic constipation
• A combination of diarrhoea and constipation
Other, less common symptoms include:
• Mucus in the stool
• Feeling that you have not finished a bowel movement
A diagnosis of IBS can be suspected from your symptoms. Medical examinations should be done to exclude organic disorders such as colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Colonoscopy is the gold standard to make sure you do not have any other important organic colorectal problems.
IBS has no specific cure, but you can do things to relieve symptoms.
The treatment includes:
• Diet changes
• Stress relief
• Fatty foods, milk products, alcohol, carbonated and caffeinated drinks can trigger or aggravate symptoms. Eating small meals and food with fiber may reduce symptoms.