Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

cranky intestine syndrome is a long-run ( chronic ) condition of the gut ( intestine ) that causes episodes of stomach ( abdominal ) cramps, bloat and either constipation or diarrhea. cranky intestine syndrome is a trouble with how the intestine works. There is differently nothing wrong with the intestine. What is it and who gets it ? cranky intestine syndrome ( IBS ) may not cause any damage to your body but it sometimes causes a lot of discomfort. It is n’t known what causes IBS. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. There is no cure for IBS but some simple life style changes and treatments normally make the symptoms much better .

What is IBS?

Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE IBS is common. It is thought to affect about 1 in 5 people in the UK at some clock time in their lives. In IBS, the serve of the gut is upset, so far all parts of the gut look normal, even when looked at under a microscope. IBS can affect anyone at any old age but it most frequently inaugural develops in new adults. Women are affected more much than men .

The symptoms of IBS vary from person to person. They include :

  • Pain and discomfort which may occur in different parts of the tummy (abdomen). Pain usually comes and goes. The length and severity of each bout of pain can vary greatly. The pain often eases when you pass stools (faeces) or wind. Many people with IBS describe the pain as a spasm or colic.
  • Bloating and swelling of your tummy which may develop from time to time. You may pass more wind than usual.
  • Changes in stools:
    • Some people have bouts of diarrhoea, some have bouts of constipation and some get a combination of both.
    • The stools may become small and pellet-like. Sometimes the stools become watery or more loose. At times, mucus may be mixed with the stools.
    • There may be a feeling of not emptying the back passage (rectum) after going to the toilet.
    • Some people have urgency, which means they have to get to the toilet quickly. You may feel an urgent need to go to the toilet several times shortly after getting up.

Is your poo normal?

Concerns should be raised if the intestine habit changes importantly from what is ‘normal ‘ for an individual, particularly if the frequency increases and the stool becomes idle, if there is rake visible on wiping or mix in with the stool, or if it is associated with abdominal pain or weight loss. — Dr Adam Haycock, What does your poo say about you ?

  • Other symptoms which sometimes occur – these include:
    • Feeling sick (nausea).
    • Headache.
    • Belching.
    • Poor appetite.
    • Tiredness.
    • Backache.
    • Muscle pains.
    • Feeling quickly full after eating.
    • Heartburn.
    • Bladder symptoms (an associated irritable bladder).

Some people have casual meek symptoms. Others have unpleasant symptoms for long periods. many people fall somewhere in between, with flare-ups of symptoms from clock time to time. Some doctors group people with IBS into one of three categories :

  • Those with abdominal pain or discomfort, and the other symptoms are mainly bloating and constipation.
  • Those with abdominal pain or discomfort, and the other symptoms are mainly urgency to get to the toilet, and diarrhoea.
  • Those who alternate between constipation and diarrhoea.

however, in commit, many people will not fall neatly into any one class, and considerable overlap occurs. Note : remember that passing blood is not a symptom of IBS. You should tell a doctor if you pass rake .

precisely what IBS is is n’t known. It may have something to do with overactivity of part or parts of the gut ( intestine ). food is passed along the intestine by regular squeezes ( contractions ) of the muscles in the wall of the intestine wall. Pain and other symptoms may develop if the contractions become abnormal or hyperactive. The area of overactivity in the intestine may determine precisely where you feel the annoyance and whether stultification or diarrhea develops. The cause of overactivity in parts of the gut is not clear. One or more of the follow may play a region :

  • Overactivity of the nerves or muscles of the gut. It is not known why this may occur. It may have something to do with overactivity of messages sent from the brain to the gut. Stress or emotional upset may play a role. About half of people with IBS can relate the start of symptoms to a stressful event in their lives. Symptoms tend to become worse during times of stress or anxiety.
  • Intolerance to certain foods may play a part in some cases. However, this is thought to be only in a small number of cases.
  • Infection and germs (bacteria) in the gut. IBS is not caused by an ongoing gut infection. However, in some cases, the onset of symptoms seems to follow a bout of a gut infection with diarrhoea and being sick (vomiting), called gastroenteritis. So, perhaps a virus or other germ may sensitise or trigger the gut in some way to cause persisting symptoms of IBS.
  • Oversensitivity to pain. People with IBS feel more pain when their gut is expanded (dilated) than those without IBS. They may have a lower threshold for experiencing pain from the gut.

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There is no test that confirms the diagnosis of IBS. A doctor can normally diagnose IBS from the typical symptoms.

Your sophisticate will check that there is nothing else going on. normally this will include an examination of your pot ( abdomen ) and back passage ( rectum ) and some simple tests. A blood test and stool ( faeces ) examination are much taken to help rule out other conditions ( see below ). The tests that are much considered to rule out these conditions include :

  • Full blood count (FBC) – to rule out lack of iron in the blood (anaemia), which is associated with various gut (bowel) disorders.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or C-reactive protein (CRP) – which can show if there is inflammation in the body (which does not occur with IBS).
  • A blood test for coeliac disease.
  • In women, a blood test to rule out cancer of the ovary, called CA 125.
  • A stool test to look for a protein called faecal calprotectin. This may be present if you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, but is not present in IBS. A stool test may also be used to check whether you have any bleeding from your bowel.

More complicate tests such as gastroscopy or colonoscopy ( to look into the intestine with a especial telescope ) are not normally needed. however, they may be done if symptoms are not distinctive, or if you develop symptoms of IBS in late life ( over the old age of about 50 ) when other conditions need to be ruled out .

Some conditions produce symptoms which can be confused with IBS. These include :

There are many unlike treatments that may be tried for IBS. All will have an consequence on some people, but none will help in every person with IBS. many people with meek IBS symptoms do n’t need any discussion. No treatment is likely to take away symptoms wholly ; however, discussion can much ease symptoms and improve your quality of life .

What lifestyle changes can help?

  • Exercise. Regular exercise is known to help to ease symptoms.
  • Managing stress levels. Stress and other emotional factors may trigger symptoms in some people. So, anything that can reduce your level of stress or emotional upset may help.
  • Keeping a symptom diary. It may help to keep a food and lifestyle diary for 2-4 weeks to monitor symptoms and activities. Note everything that you eat and drink, times that you were stressed, and when you took any formal exercise. This may identify triggers, such as a food, alcohol, or emotional stresses, and may show if exercise helps to ease or to prevent symptoms. 

What dietary changes can help?

Some people with IBS find that certain foods can trigger symptoms or make symptom worse. See the separate leaflet called IBS Diet Sheet for more details .

IBS Management Options

Each treatment option for IBS has versatile benefits, risks and consequences. In collaboration with, we ‘ve put together a summary decision aid that encourages patients and doctors to discuss and assess what ‘s available. Download the IBS Decision Aid


Antispasmodic medicines for tummy (abdominal) pain
These are medicines that relax the muscles in the wall of the intestine. There are several types of antispasmodics – for exemplar, alverine citrate, mebeverine, scopolamine and red gum anoint. The pain may ease with medicine but may not go away completely. Treating constipation
Constipation is sometimes a main symptom of IBS. If so, it may help if you increase the fiber in your diet. Sometimes laxatives are advised for short-circuit periods if increasing fiber is not enough to ease a troublesome bout of stultification. It is best to avoid lactulose if you have IBS. A medicine called linaclotide works in a completely different way to early medicines for treating stultification. It has been shown to reduce pain, bloat and constipation symptoms. Treating diarrhoea
An antidiarrhoeal medicate ( for exercise, loperamide ) may be useful if diarrhea is a chief symptom. The dose of loperamide needed to control diarrhea varies well. Eluxadoline is another choice which has become available to treat adults who have IBS with diarrhea. It is only secondhand if the condition has not responded to early medicines or they are contra-indicated or not tolerated, and it is started by a specialist. Eluxadoline should be stopped after four weeks if there is n’t much improvement of symptoms. The most coarse side-effects are nausea, stultification and abdominal annoyance. Treating bloating
Peppermint vegetable oil may help with bloat and wind. For some people peppermint petroleum besides helps with pot ( abdominal ) pains and spasms. Antidepressant medicines
A tricyclic antidepressant is sometimes used to treat IBS. An example is amitriptyline. tricyclic antidepressants are used in a assortment of atrocious conditions, including IBS. SSRI antidepressant medicines ( for exercise, fluoxetine ) can besides be used for IBS. They may work by affecting the direction you feel pain.

Psychological therapies

Any nerve-racking situation ( for exercise, family problems, shape stress, examinations ) may trigger symptoms of IBS in some people. Examples of psychological therapies are cognitive behavioral therapy ( CBT ), hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. psychological therapies can be very effective for some people with IBS .

IBS normally causes symptom long-run and often stays with you for the rest of your life. however, the symptoms tend to come and go. You may have long spells without any symptoms, or may have alone mild symptoms. discussion can frequently help to ease symptoms when they flare astir. IBS much improves with prison term and, in some cases, symptoms clear up for good at some stage .

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