Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Definition, 7 Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Irritable bowel syndrome is a mild disorder, but can interfere with daily life. It results in stomach aches, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Aggravated by stress and anxiety, this syndrome affects many people and interferes with their professional and social life. Its treatment is based on an adaptation of dietary habits, measures to reduce the effects of stress and, sometimes, medication to relieve symptoms.

Irritable Bowel syndrome Definition

Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common irritant disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms usually include stomach cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel patterns (diarrhea or constipation).

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic state that requires long-term stewardship. However, this syndrome does not cause changes in the intestinal tissue structure or risk of colon cancer.

How common is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition.

Approximately 10-15 people per every 100 people in the world have this condition. Women who are less than 45 years of age risk doubling more often with IBS than men.

IBS symptoms usually start to emerge from adolescence. However, some people may experience the symptoms of the first time as older.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome has a variety of signs and symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, or bloating that would normally subside after defecation
  • Excessive gas expenditure
  • Diarrhea or constipation, even both.
  • Mucus in stools

Most of the irritable bowel syndrome experiences missing symptoms arising with varying severity from very heavy to disappear altogether.

Learn more about Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Causes and factors that trigger Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Not known for certain causes of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some factors that allegedly could trigger the occurrence of IBS are:

  • Infections in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Changes in normal bacterial condition in the small intestine.
  • Impaired brain function when sending signals to the intestines.
  • Foods that are too fast or too slow to digest in the gastrointestinal tract, causing diarrhea or constipation.
  • Certain foods or beverages that are difficult to digest, such as those with high levels of acids, fats, sugars, or carbohydrates.
  • Changes in hormone levels or other chemical substances in the body are responsible for transmitting nerve signals.
  • Mental health disorders, such as panic disorder, anxiety, depression, and stress.

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Irritable bowel syndrome Treatment

To treat irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, health experts advise us to better manage stress, apply a healthy diet, and sleep adequately every night in order to maintain a hormonal balance. In some cases, patients with this health problem can also get counseling help to overcome the mental or psychological disorders that are being experienced.

Who to see and available treatment methods

If you experience prolonged diarrhea and constipation, as well as abdominal pain, you should consult a general practitioner and undergo a physical examination. After asking about the symptoms you are experiencing, the doctor will perform a blood test, complete blood count or CBC, and fecal examination, to determine if there are any other causes or not.

After knowing the cause for sure, you are likely to be diagnosed with IBS. To find out if there is any inflammation or not, your doctor may be doing a test to determine the level of sedimentation you have.

Diagnosis results do not necessarily say you suffer from IBS. In some patients, the examination may not be necessary because the doctor will be able to diagnose IBS based on the symptoms experienced by the patient. However, the type of test required will depend on the following factors:

  • Severity of symptoms experienced
  • Age
  • Response to initial treatment.

Age plays a role in determining the number of tests needed to be passed by the patient because the older a patient, the more vulnerable it is to suffer colon cancer. If a patient is over 50 years of age, the colon cancer should be eliminated first, so that colon surgery (colonoscopy) may be performed.

Mild treatment methods for addressing IBS

IBS cannot be eliminated but its symptoms can be relieved. Treatment is generally relieving the symptoms of the patient. Some mild treatment methods for addressing IBS include:

Avoiding causal factors

Because IBS is caused by certain trigger factors, these factors need to be avoided. The intended triggers include certain medications and antibiotics, certain foods, and stress.


Exercise can improve the quality of life and make patients feel healthier by improving sleep quality and keeping energy levels steady. A study found that 20 to 60 minute exercises every 3 to 5 days a week can help relieve the symptoms of IBS.

Dietary changes

In some cases of IBS, symptoms are triggered by food. So, be careful in choosing foods can help alleviate the symptoms of IBS. In addition to avoiding certain types of food with IBS, the sufferers also need to consume fiber to avoid constipation.

Foods containing large amounts of fiber are fruits and vegetables, food made from wheat, and nuts.

Drinking plenty of water also helps avoid constipation. The bright yellow urine signifies that you have consumed enough fluids.

Stress handling

Stress management is a common treatment for IBS sufferers, indicating that many cases of this condition are associated with stress levels.

To avoid IBS, patients are encouraged to record the events they experience in life to find a relationship between them.

Focus on a particular hobby can also reduce stress and improve a person’s emotional condition.

Meeting with a physician, psychologist, consultant, or support group can also help relieve symptoms of IBS.

Nutritional supplements

Fiber supplements like psyllium and wheat dextrin can help patients meet the needs of fiber. When consuming a dietary supplement, always start with a lower dose first before increasing the dose gradually.


If the symptoms that you experience are severe or occur in high enough frequencies, the doctor’s handling is very necessary. The main method that can be taken is by administering medicines. Some of the most common medications administered include:

  • Aminosalicylates
  • Corticosteroid, works by reducing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Immunosuppressants. Work by limiting the activity of the compromised immune system to prevent the system from invading healthy tissues.


In 20% of patients suffering from IBS, the symptoms are very severe so the medication does not help much. In this case, the best step that can be taken is to do the surgery to remove the inflammation of the digestive system.

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Irritable bowel syndrome Prevention

In order to prevent the coming of this indigestion, health experts advise us to consume adequate amounts of fiber every day, consume adequate plain water to prevent constipation, decrease caffeinated drink intake, and avoid Foods and beverages that could cause gas production to increase like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and carbonated drinks. Also, be sure to exercise regularly and sleep enough every night.

When should I check with a doctor?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that has many symptoms. One in 5 IBS symptoms requires medical help.

It is important to visit a doctor if the schedule of defecation is continuously interrupted or if you have any other signs or symptoms. This may indicate more serious conditions.

Your doctor may be able to help you find ways to relieve symptoms while preventing symptoms of relapse.

Your doctor may also help you avoid possible complications from problems such as chronic diarrhea.


Who is at risk for irritable bowel syndrome?

People who are anxious or who are under persistent stress seem to be more at risk of suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. 
In addition, functional colopathy seems to be more common in people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or, in women, painful menstruation.

Last Updated on April 6, 2022 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team