Gary Goldstein, MD
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem that affects the large intestine. It can cause abdominal cramping, bloating, and a change in bowel habits. Some people with the disorder have constipation. Some have diarrhea. Others go back and forth between the two. Although IBS can cause a great deal of discomfort, it does not harm the intestines.
IBS is common. It affects about twice as many women as men and is most often found in people younger than 45 years. No one knows the exact cause of IBS. There is no specific test for it. Your doctor may run tests to be sure you don't have other diseases. These tests may include stool sampling tests, blood tests, and x-rays. Your doctor may also do a test called a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Most people diagnosed with IBS can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, probiotics, and medicine.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
—Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus
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