How to Understand Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition that is characterized by cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. The condition causes considerable discomfort and pain. Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not do any permanent damage to the intestines and does not lead to a severe illness.

Most common disorder

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the most commonly diagnosed disorder in the United States, with an estimated one in five Americans suffering from the condition.

How to Understand Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The sad news is that even though the condition is not severe, some individuals are unable to carry on normal activities such as work, attending social functions, or traveling far from home. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is seen more often in women than men, and the onset of the problem occurs typically before age thirty-five.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are what characterizes the disorder, including abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort. Some individuals experience difficult bowel movements such as constipation with straining and cramping.


Some have noticed some mucus in their stool, which is the fluid used in the bowels to help protect the passages in the digestive system. Others report diarrhea with loose, watery stools. Then some go back and forth between constipation and diarrhea. The symptoms can be persistent or leave for several months and return. Some people notice symptoms worsening with time, whereas others report no change in the symptoms.

The most common symptoms include abdominal pain for at least 12 weeks out of the year. The weeks do not have to be in order but can be scattered throughout the year. The pain must have include two of these aspects – be relieved by a bowel movement, at the start of the pain a change is noticed in the frequency of bowel movements, or at the beginning of the pain, a change is seen in the consistency of the stool.

For Irritable Bowel Syndrome to be diagnosed, specific symptoms have to be present, including change in frequency, change in appearance, uncontrollable urges to relieve the bowels, difficulty with bowel movements, mucus in the bowel movement and bloating.

A few things can cause the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome to become worse such as large meals, gas in the colon, certain medicines, wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk products, alcohol, coffee, tea, colas, stress, conflict, and emotional upsets

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Today, research is still underway searching for the cause or causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There are various ideas; however, nothing is for sure when it comes to the causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Some speculate that those that suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome have a large intestine or colon that is sensitive to some foods and stress. Others believe that the immune system may have some to do with the condition. Diagnosing Irritable Bowel Syndrome

To diagnose Irritable Bowel Syndrome, your physician will need a complete medical history that explains your description of the symptoms as well as a physical examination. At this time, there are no tests that can be performed that will verify if a person has Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

On the other hand, tests can be done that can rule out other conditions or illnesses. These tests include a stool sample test, x-rays, and blood tests. A few other tests your doctor requests include a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy. Both of these tests will allow your physician to see the inside of your colon. Read our article on getting rid of High Fever here.