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Irritable bowel syndrome


Irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS) is a digestive disorder that causes abdominal pain and chronic digestive problems. Specifically, the bowels move too quickly (diarrhea) or too slow (constipation) in the digestive tract without any cause actually being identified. It concerns mainly women and is relatively common in Western countries, where about 15% of the population is concerned.


Symptoms of IBS vary but are essentially of a digestive nature. The most commonly found are:
  • abdominal cramps alleviated by issuing stool
  • bloating
  • constipation or diarrhea, sometimes passing from one to another,
  • urgent desires to defecate or on the contrary never needing "to go",
  • noisy stomach.


The presence of many of the symptoms listed above for 6 consecutive months will lead to a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. There is no test to diagnose this condition; an elimination process will lead to this diagnosis. Exams are simply used to rule out other diseases. Moreover, we know that IBS is common in people with chronic fatigue, headaches, back pain, palpitations or insomnia.


Dietary measures are recommended with the cutting out of fermentable foods like cabbage to prevent overproduction of gas or the increasing of fiber in one's diet coupled with ample hydration to reduce constipation. The main goal of treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is to relieve symptoms. Antispasmodics may be used to reduce pain.


There is no way to prevent the onset of irritable bowel syndrome since no one knows exactly what causes it.