Tegaserod (Zelnorm)...New Drug for IBS (cont.)
What is IBS?
IBS is a functional disorder of the intestines and its nerves; it may be caused by either abnormal motility (abnormal contractions) of the intestinal muscles or abnormally sensitive nerves in the intestines (visceral hyper-sensitivity). IBS is more difficult to diagnose than diseases with structural abnormalities. (Structural abnormalities are abnormalities that can be "seen" by examinations such as x-ray or endoscopy such as ulcers, infections, colitis, and cancers.)
While IBS is not life-threatening, symptoms of IBS can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life and can even be debilitating. For example, a patient with frequent diarrhea and an urgent need to have a bowel movement after meals may avoid eating out; and patients who develop bloating and abdominal pain after meals may develop a fear of eating.