What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a digestive disorder that affects the colon or large intestine. IBS is sometimes also called spastic colon or spastic colitis. It is the most common digestive disorder and affects 10 to 15% of adults at some time in their lives. Irritable bowel syndrome encompasses a group of symptoms including abdominal pain, soft frequent stools or diarrhea. Abdominal pain and cramping may also be accompanied by constipation.
Who can get affected by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Women are twice as likely to report getting IBS. However many people experience IBS and do not recognize it or get medical attention. IBS generally occurs in early adulthood and during periods of significant change or stress. 1 in 5 American adults get irritable bowel syndrome. However children can also get it.
What causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Food moves through the intestinal tract by synchronized wavelike contractions called peristalsis. Irritable bowel syndrome occurs when these peristaltic movements become disturbed affecting the digestive process.
It is not known what exactly causes peristalsis to become irregular however some of the reasons said to cause IBS are:
- Stress is said to be the primary cause of IBS
- Food sensitivities can cause digestive problems
- Overeating or binge eating can cause abdominal cramps
- Too much fat in the diet
- Lactose intolerance
- Sugar substitutes such as sorbitol and aspartame can cause diarrhea
- Tricyclic antidepressants can cause constipation
- Antipsychotics and sedatives can also cause constipation
- Antacids, morphine and codeine can cause stomach upsets