Colorectal Diseases Non Cancerous Colorectal Disease
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic yet intermittent condition characterized by abdominal pain, often accompanied by nausea, indigestion and/or heartburn, and an alteration in bowel habits including constipation and, less frequently, diarrhea.
Irritable bowel syndrome frequently begins in adolescence and occurs more often in women than in men.
It is thought to result from abnormal muscular activity of the intestinal wall.
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can mimic those of more serious conditions so it's important to see your physician for a complete physical examination if you suspect you are experiencing irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS has been called by many names, including colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, spastic bowel, and functional bowel disease.
Most of these terms are inaccurate, however.
Colitis, for example, is inflammation of the colon (large intestine).
IBS, however, does not cause inflammation and should not be confused with ulcerative colitis, which does involve inflammation.
Although IBS can cause great discomfort, it does not cause bleeding or permanent damage to the intestines, nor does it lead to serious disease such as cancer.
Medical Treatment of IBS
Most patients can manage their IBS through medications, diet, and stress reduction techniques.
Maintaining a proper diet is an important step in reducing the symptoms of IBS.
The Colorectal Care Program at Columbia Presbyterian works with patients to determine individualized programs of medical and dietary therapy.
Read about dietary recommendations and other information about IBS at the National Institute of Digestive Diseases Clearinghouse.