What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Disease)?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a benign medical condition characterised by abdominal pain, abdominal distension and problems with diarrhoea and/or constipation.
Its exact cause is unknown, and the pathological processes giving rise to the symptoms are not well understood. It may be caused by a number of contributory factors including spasm in the bowel, disordered perception of abdominal sensations related to bowel function and lack of roughage in the diet. Dietary factors, emotional distress, anxiety and other psychological factors appear to precipitate and exacerbate the condition in some people. In some cases irritable bowel syndrome is preceded by an episode of bacterial gastroenteritis.
There are also associations with migraine, fibromyalgia and menstrual disorders.
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Amended April 2008