Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome common?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the colon (large bowel) and affects about 58 million Americans. More women than men are affected by IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterized by episodes of abdominal pain, bloating and excessive intestinal gas. Patients may experience episodes of constipation alternating with episodes of diarrhea. Since many serious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract may present in a way similar to IBS, the initial diagnostic workup is focused on searching for other serious medical problems. Some symptoms like the presence of blood in stool or significant weight loss always warrant a thorough diagnostic investigation. Treatment of IBS includes modification of dietary habits, the inclusion of fiber into the diet, changes in lifestyle, and use of medications. For details concerning symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of IBS please click on the links to the patient-oriented sites of the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases and the American College of Gastroenterology.