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Conditions InDepth: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem with the intestines. Belly pain and swelling, cramping, gas, changes in bowel movements are the most common problems.

The Intestines

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Causes of IBS

The cause is not known. It may happen due to:

  • Infection or inflammation
  • Changes in the normal bacteria of the intestines
  • Eating certain foods
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Missing enzymes that breakdown certain sugars (rare)

Types of IBS

IBS types are based on what is causing the most problems:

REFERENCES:

Definition and facts for irritable bowel syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/definition-facts. Updated November 2017. Accessed August 26, 2019.

Ford AC, Lacy BE, Talley NJ. Irritable bowel syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(26):2566-2578.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113627/Irritable-bowel-syndrome-IBS. Updated September 10, 2018. Accessed August 26, 2019.

Last reviewed August 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 8/26/2019