The most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 10 to 15 percent of the population.
Other names for IBS include spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, nervous stomach or irritable colon.
IBS is a functional disorder, meaning it cannot be diagnosed in a traditional way.
Symptoms result from a possible disturbance in the interaction between the intestines, the brain and the nervous system that regulates bowel function.
The following are common symptoms of irritable bowel disease. Symptoms can worsen in times of high emotional stress:
- Abdominal bloating
IBS cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Most health care providers will take abdominal X-rays to check for blocked intestines, kidney stones or ulcers. Endoscopy, a procedure in which a thin adjustable instrument with a camera attached at the end is inserted into the patient's mouth or rectum is also commonly used to test for IBS.