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What is IBS?

IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a common intestinal

digestive disorder with varying symptoms which can be

persistent or periodic. IBS affects both men and women,

and symptoms are usually not gender-specific; however,

most people who suffer from IBS are women. Irritable Bowel Syndrome usually occurs in people from their teenage years to early 40s.

 

What causes IBS?

The cause of IBS is not fully known, although half of all people who suffer from it may mark the start of their symptoms to a major life event such as moving to a new house, changing jobs or experiencing unusual personal stress.

 

What are the main symptoms of IBS?

There are many symptoms for IBS which people report regularly. Most often, several symptoms occur simultaneously and are more recently defined primarily as IBS-D (Diarrhea predominant) and IBS-C (Constipation predominant). Those with IBS-D have frequent, loose, watery bowel movements and usually experience an immediate need to pass their stool; this urge may be difficult to control, and “accidents” are common. People with IBS-C have a difficult time with bowel movements and also have them less often. They usually strain and cramp during a bowel movement and may pass little or no stool at all, even after trying. Painful cramps are usually in the lower half of the abdomen, are often made worse after eating and only relieved after a bowel movement.

 

The most general symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are as follows:

·         Abdominal pain

·        Abdominal cramping

·         Abdominal discomfort

·        Changes in bowel movements

·         Fullness

·        Gas

·         Bloating

·         Constipation

·        Diarrhea (can be severe)

·         Alternating constipation and diarrhea

·        Constant urge to have a bowel movement

·         Change in stools (harder, looser, thinner, or

       softer than usual)

·         Incomplete evacuation

·        Upset stomach

·         Distension of the abdomen (that is visible)

·        Loss of appetite

·         Mucus in the stool

 

Individuals with IBS rarely have all of these symptoms, but usually more than one.  Symptoms range from mild to severe may be significant for a few weeks and then subside for a period of time. Sometimes, people with IBS have some symptoms unrelated to the digestive tract such as urinary or sexual problems.  But, for most people, once the symptoms of IBS begin, they tend to persist and worsen.  At that time, they begin to actively search for detailed information about IBS and seek medical advice and treatment. Most allopathic treatments (principles of mainstream medical practice) involve pharmaceuticals which primarily address the symptoms of IBS, but some of which result in unwanted, unpleasant and adverse side effects.  OTC preparations also focus on temporary relief symptoms, but not the cause.
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