Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). It’s not known exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome, but a variety of factors play a role. The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include pain or discomfort in your abdomen and changes in how often you have bowel movements or how your stools look. Doctors aren’t sure what causes IBS. Among the most common symptoms are:
• Abdominal pain or cramping
• A bloated feeling
• Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
• Mucus in the stool
When to see a doctor
Although as many as 1 in 5 American adults have signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, less than 1 in 5 who have symptoms seek medical help. Yet it’s important to see your doctor if you have a persistent change in bowel habits or if you have any other signs or symptoms of IBS because these may indicate a more serious condition, such as colon cancer. Make an appointment with your doctor if you have symptoms of IBS. After an initial evaluation, your doctor may refer you to a specialist in digestive disorders (gastroenterologist) for more extensive testing.
What you can do in the meantime
While you wait for your appointment, check with your family members to find out if any relatives have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer. In addition, start jotting down notes about how often your symptoms occur and any factors that seem to trigger their occurrence.
Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) does not have a cure but your doctor may manage the symptoms with a combination of diet, medicines, probiotics, and therapies for mental health problems
>Clinical Trials for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A variety of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Clinical studies are taking place at Applied Research Center of Arkansas. Qualified participants receive study-related medical care at no cost. Eligible participants receive compensation for time and travel. Participating in a research study is a great way to learn more about how to manage your IBS.