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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder. It’s estimated to affect 10 to 15 percent of Americans, and most of those impacted are women. IBS is a chronic condition, so it’s important to understand the condition and identify your triggers, which may include:

  • Certain types of food

  • Stress

  • Hormones

While the cause of IBS is unknown, the following individuals may be at higher risk of IBS:

  • Younger than age 50

  • Women

  • Individuals with a family history of IBS

  • Individuals with anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses

Symptoms

Symptoms of IBS can vary, but may include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Excessive gas

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Mucus in the stool

Severe symptoms may include:

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Diarrhea at night

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Weight loss

  • Persistent pain

If you experience severe symptoms, schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. A specialist will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that identifies triggers and relieves symptoms.

Treatment Options

There are many options available to address your symptoms of IBS. Treatment options vary based on individual experiences and may include:

  • Diet changes – Avoid foods that trigger IBS, and try to eat high-fiber foods. Be sure to drink plenty of water.

  • Leading a healthy lifestyle – Regular exercise, adequate sleep and a healthy diet can also help manage IBS symptoms.

  • Medication – A wide range of over-the-counter medicine, such as fiber supplements, laxatives or anti-diarrheals can help manage symptoms. Prescription medicine can also help manage severe symptoms or triggers. 

When to See a Doctor

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat irritable bowel syndrome.

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Motility Disorders Program

Our gastroenterologists are leaders in diagnosing and treating both the causes and symptoms of conditions such as achalasia, chronic GERD and gastroparesis.

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