What is IBS? Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Published date: February 5, 2014 | Modified date: October 11, 2019
Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.
Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or spastic colon is a bowel disorder characterized by diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and chronic abdominal pain.

It is fairly common and makes up 20-50% of visits to gastroenterologists. Although formal diagnosis depends on a very specific set of symptoms, the range of symptoms that occur in patients diagnosed with IBS is fairly wide.

The cause of IBS varies from person to person, which is what makes irritable bowel syndrome and its symptoms so difficult for most doctors to treat. However, through proper testing it is possible to identify the exact cause or causes of the symptoms and live a life free of digestive problems.

There are several hundred potential causes of IBS, but they can be broken down into two major categories:
Food Allergies and Intolerances; and Intestinal Microorganisms and Parasites.

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