Taken directly from Wikipedia.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, or spastic colon) is a symptom-based diagnosis characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits. As a functional bowel disorder, IBS has no known organic cause. Diarrhea or constipation may predominate, or they may alternate (classified as IBS-D, IBS-C or IBS-A, respectively).
Historically a diagnosis of exclusion, a diagnosis of IBS can now be made on the basis of symptoms alone, in the absence of alarm features such as age of onset greater than 50 years, weight loss, gross hematochezia, systemic signs of infection or colitis, or family history of inflammatory bowel disease. Onset of IBS is more likely to occur after an infection (post-infectious, IBS-PI), a stressful life event, or onset of maturity. Although there is no cure for IBS, there are treatments that attempt to relieve symptoms, including dietary adjustments, medication and psychological interventions. Patient education and a good doctor-patient relationship are also important.
Several conditions may present as IBS including coeliac disease, fructose malabsorption, mild infections, parasitic infections like giardiasis,several inflammatory bowel diseases, bile acid malabsorption, functional chronic constipation, and chronic functional abdominal pain. In IBS, routine clinical tests yield no abnormalities, although the bowels may be more sensitive to certain stimuli, such as balloon insufflation testing. The exact cause of IBS is unknown. The most common theory is that IBS is a disorder of the interaction between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, although there may also be abnormalities in the gut flora or the immune system.
IBS has no effect on life expectancy. However, it is a source of chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms and contributes to work absenteeism. The high prevalence of IBS and significant effects on quality of life make IBS a disease with a high social cost.
There are many definitions of IBS available, however we have opted to include the Wikipedia version below. IBS is generally defined by it’s symptoms, the lack of any singular treatment or cure is the first indication you will find regarding the often vague and broad description of the condition.
Our own frustrations as sufferers make it tempting to define IBS as any digestive disorder that is not Crohn’s or Colitis. The medical profession can at times deliver mixed messages about what IBS actually is.
The below description states that ‘there is no known cause’ and that there is ‘no known cure’, so what is known about IBS ?
This website is written at a time where we appear to be learning more about IBS and our hope is that overtime the definition of IBS will become crystal clear. Until the day that we are about to nail the definition we will use the following.
It is immediately clear that IBS is something of a medical blind spot. The truth is that very little is known about the condition, and more importantly IBS isa very broad term, covering a plethora of different symptoms. The science behind the digestive system is staggeringly complex and it makes pinpointing the precise cause of each sufferers IBS a real medical challenge. The aim of this site is to draw together the very best of the available knowledge in order to improve radically the quality of your life, physically and psychologically.
Our advantage over many other sites and indeed many scientific professionals comes from a lifetime of daily experience of the condition, which gives us unique insight into not only the dietary issues, it also allows us an unparalleled degree of empathy. Very few IBS sites tackle the massive psychological baggage that can be generated by years of living with IBS. IBS-Health.com recognizes and offers assistance for those struggling to overcome the barriers that IBS can induce.
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