Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive problem that causes episodes of abdominal pain, cramping or bloating, and diarrhea or constipation. The cause is not well understood—there are no physical signs of disease in the intestines and no specific tests that diagnose the condition—but symptoms often get worse with stress or after eating.

IBS can persist for many years. An episode may be milder or more severe than the one before it, but the disorder itself usually does not get worse over time. It does not lead to more serious diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.

Stress management, diet changes, and in some cases medications are helpful in managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Last Updated: May 23, 2008

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.