What is it?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) describes a group of gastrointestinal symptoms that last for at least three months and can’t be explained by any other disease. IBS’s exact cause is not known but thought to involves environmental factors and an over-activated immune system. Certain foods, medications, and stress can be triggers for IBS symptoms.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Colon spasm
- Colon spasm with diarrhea
- Irritable colon

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms greatly vary between different patients and may include:
- Constipation or diarrhea.
- Abdominal pain and cramping.
- Bloating and gas.
- Weight changes – loss or gain
Symptoms may ease after a bowel movement and aren’t always persistent. For women, symptoms may worsen around menstruation and during pregnancy.


Diagnosis is made by questioning and investigating the medical history and physical examination to provide additional information and exclude other diseases. Further tests may include:
- Stool sampling test.
- Blood testing.
- Endoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the mouth.
- Colonoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the rectum, large intestine (colon), and small intestine and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the rectum.
- Abdominal X-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI scans.


There is no cure for IBS, and treatment is targeted at easing symptoms and improving life quality. Treatment depends on the specific disorder and the suspected cause. Some life changes may also be advisable, such as limiting alcohol and caffeine drinking, quitting smoking, making dietary changes, and working out regularly.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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