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Irritable Bowel Syndrome FAQ - NIH
Guide picks
IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does not cause permanent harm to the intestines and does not lead to intestinal bleeding of the bowel or to a serious disease such as cancer.

Introduction: What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the intestines that leads to crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.

What Causes IBS?
The person with IBS seems to have a colon that is more sensitive and reactive than usual, so it responds strongly to stimuli that would not bother most people.

What Are the Symptoms of IBS?
People with IBS, on the other hand, usually have crampy abdominal pain with painful constipation or diarrhea.

How Is IBS Diagnosed?
IBS usually is diagnosed after doctors exclude the presence of disease.

How Do Diet and Stress Affect IBS?
Many people report that their symptoms occur following a meal or when they are under stress. No one is sure why this happens, but scientists have some clues.

How Does a Good Diet Help IBS?
For many people, eating a proper diet lessens IBS symptoms.

Can Medicines Relieve IBS Symptoms?
Doctors may prescribe fiber supplements or occasional laxatives if you are constipated, drugs that control colon muscle spasms, drugs that slow the movement of food through the digestive system, or tranquilizers, all of which may relieve symptoms.

Is IBS Linked to Other Diseases?
IBS has not been shown to lead to any serious, organic diseases.

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