IBS is the abbreviated term for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is also known as spastic colon, and mucous colitis.

IBS is a common condition in which recurrent abdominal pain in combination with constipation and/or diarrhoea can persist for years without other more general deterioration in the person's physical health.

The cause of IBS unknown but the condition is often associated with stress or anxiety, and may follow severe infection of the intestine (for more information about the intestines see small intestine and large intestine).

Symptoms & Effects
of IBS:

There is no detectable structural disease but symptoms may be due to:

  • Abnormal muscular contractions in the intestine.
  • Increased sensitivity to stimuli such as stretching or distension.

Medical Tests and Treatments
for IBS may include:

Medical tests may be performed to investigate the possibility of specific organic diseases and other possible causes of the symptoms.

Treatment may involve:

  • Addressing any anxiety (e.g. psychotherapy)
  • Dietary adjustments
  • Faecal softening agents
  • Drugs to reduce spasm and/or reduce sensitivity to pain.

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