What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a group of symptoms that affect your digestive system. It’s a common but uncomfortable gastrointestinal disorder. People with IBS get excessive gas, abdominal pain and cramps.

Who is at risk of getting IBS?

The condition most often occurs in people in their late teens to early 40s. Women can be twice as likely as men to get IBS. IBS may happen to multiple family members.

You might be at higher risk if you have:

What triggers IBS?

If you have IBS, you might have noticed that certain things trigger symptoms. Typical triggers include some foods and medication. Emotional stress can also be a trigger. Some researchers suggest that IBS is the gut’s reaction to life’s stressors.

What are the sources of IBS?

Researchers don’t specifically know what causes IBS. They believe a combination of factors can cause IBS, including:

What are IBS symptoms?

Symptoms of IBS include:

Women with IBS might find that symptoms flare up during their periods. These symptoms commonly occur over and over, which can make you feel stressed or upset. As you discover management techniques and gain control over flare-ups, you’ll begin to feel better, physically and mentally.

How is IBS diagnosed?

If you’ve been having unpleasant GI symptoms, see your doctor. The first step in diagnosing IBS is a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms:

Depending on your symptoms, you may require other tests to confirm a diagnosis. Blood tests, stool samples as well as X-rays can help rule out other illnesses that resemble IBS.

What is IBS treatment?

No particular therapy works for everyone, but most people with IBS can find a treatment that works for them. Your doctor will personalize your IBS treatment plan for your needs. Regular treatment options include dietary and lifestyle changes. A dietitian can help you establish a diet that fits your life.

Many individuals find that with these adjustments, symptoms improve:

Dietary changes:

Activity changes:

Exercise on a regular basis.

Medical changes:

Talk to your doctor if your symptoms do not improve. You may need more tests to see if an underlying condition is causing the symptoms.

For further information about Dr. Stengler’s practice and his clinic in Carmel Valley, California, please visit our website at MarkStengler.com or give us a call at (760) 274-2377