Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition characterized by a variety of symptoms which vary from person to person. Common symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and general digestive discomfort.
IBS is a relatively common digestive condition. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, up to one in five American adults has experienced IBS. Some may only have mild discomfort while others suffer more severe signs and symptoms. IBS can affect people in all age ranges and is often misdiagnosed. Women seem to be affected in greater numbers than men. In fact, up to 75% of people diagnosed with IBS are women.
At present, researchers have not identified a specific cause of IBS, although there are many theories. If you think you have IBS, it's very important to see your doctor. While there is no specific cure for IBS, many treatment options are available.
A Note on Stress: Like many parts of the body, the colon can be affected by mental, emotional, or physical stress. For people with IBS, even small amounts of stress can aggravate the colon. Because of this, stress management is considered an important part of IBS treatment.