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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects your large intestine or colon. It causes:
When you have IBS your colon looks normal. But it does not work the way it should.
Health experts have not been able to find an exact physical cause for IBS. It is often thought that stress is one cause. Stress may make IBS symptoms worse.
IBS is a long-term, chronic condition. It can be painful. But it doesn’t cause lasting harm to your intestines. And it doesn’t lead to serious disease such as cancer.
There is no link between IBS and Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or other inflammatory bowel diseases.
The exact cause of IBS isn’t known. Some experts think that if you have IBS your colon may be more sensitive than normal. That means it has a strong reaction to things that should not normally affect it.
When you have IBS, your colon muscles begin to move and tighten uncontrollably (spasm) after only mild stimulation or after normal events such as:
Women with IBS seem to have more symptoms during their periods. This could mean that the chemicals (reproductive hormones) released during a woman’s menstrual cycle may increase IBS symptoms.
Some things can make IBS symptoms worse. The 2 things most likely to make your IBS symptoms worse are the foods you eat and having emotional stress.
You are more likely to be at risk for IBS if you:
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Some of the most common symptoms include:
The symptoms of IBS may look like other health problems. Always see your doctor to be sure.
Your health care provider will look at your past health and give you a physical exam. He or she will also do lab tests to check for infection and for redness and swelling (inflammation).
There are usually no physical signs to tell for sure that you have IBS. There is also no exact test for IBS.
Your health care provider will do lab tests and imaging tests to make sure that you don’t have other diseases. These tests may include the following:
Your health care provider will create a care plan for you based on:
Treatment for IBS may include:
Good fiber sources may include:
Whole wheat bread, granola bread, wheat bran muffins, Nutri-Grain waffles, popcorn
Bran Flakes, Raisin Bran, Shredded Wheat, Frosted Mini Wheats, oatmeal, Mueslix, granola, oat bran
All-Bran, Bran Buds, Corn Bran, Fiber One, 100% Bran
Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, green beans, green peas, acorn and butternut squash, spinach, potato with skin, avocado
Apples with peel, dates, papayas, mangos, nectarines, oranges, pears, kiwis, strawberries, applesauce, raspberries, blackberries, raisins
Cooked prunes, dried figs
Peanut butter, nuts
Baked beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chili with beans, trail mix
The diarrhea and constipation that occur with IBS can cause hemorrhoids. If you already have hemorrhoids, they may get worse.
Your quality of life may be affected by IBS, because the symptoms may limit your daily activities.
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.