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Irritable bowel syndrome

In gastroenterology, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also called spastic colon, is a functional bowel disorder characterized by mild to severe abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating and alteration of bowel habits. In some cases, the symptoms are relieved by bowel movements.

Diarrhea or constipation may predominate, or they may alternate (classified as IBS-D, IBS-C or IBS-A, respectively). IBS may begin after an infection (post-infectious, IBS-PI) or a stressful life event.

Other functional or pain disorders and certain psychological conditions are more common in those with IBS.


The primary symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain or discomfort in association with frequent diarrhea and/or constipation, a change in bowel habits.

There may also be urgency for bowel movements, a feeling of incomplete evacuation (tenesmus), bloating or abdominal distention.  People with IBS more commonly than others have gastroesophageal reflux, symptoms relating to the genitourinary system, psychological symptoms, fibromyalgia, headache and backache.


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