Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a GI (gastrointestinal) disorder with signs and symptoms that include abdominal pain, bloating, increased gas (flatulence), abdominal cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and food intolerance.Two new tests are now available that may help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea and constipation (IBS-M) irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D), and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). Treatment for IBS includes diet changes, medications, and other lifestyle changes to manage symptoms. Read more: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Article
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
What are symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Take this quiz and get quick facts on causes and treatment options for this...
Stomach Pain Quiz: Nausea & Other Causes
Tummy Troubles? Get a better idea of what's causing the nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, pain, and other...
Picture of Colon
The part of the large intestine that serves to remove water from digested food and let the remaining material, solid waste called...
Picture of Stomach
The stomach is a muscular sac located on the left side of the upper abdomen. See a picture of the Stomach and learn more about...
Picture of Intestines
The intestines are a long, continuous tube running from the stomach to the anus. See a picture of the Intestines and learn more...
Picture of Abdomen
The abdomen (commonly called the belly) is the body space between the thorax (chest) and pelvis. See a picture of the Abdomen and...
Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
What is fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain and stiffness of the tendons, muscles, and joints....
High Protein Diets: Good or Bad?
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Diet for Stress Management: Carbs, Nuts, and Other Stress-Relief Foods
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Vegetarian Diet: Benefits, Meat Substitutions, and Meal Plans
Vegetarian diet plans have benefits like weight loss and reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Vegetarian diet...
Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions
Learn about the digestive system and common misconceptions of digestive disorders. Read about what causes ulcers, heartburn,...
IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Symptoms, Diet, Treatment
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Super Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More
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Worst Foods for Digestion
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Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments
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Digestive Health: 10 Probiotic Foods That Help Digestion
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Digestive Health: Why Am I Bloated?
Bloating is a sign and symptom of gas in the stomach or GI tract. Certain foods or health problems like constipation may cause...
Related Disease Conditions
Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week. Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of stool through the colon. There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low fiber diets, laxative abuse, and hormonal disorders, and diseases primarily of other parts of the body that also affect the colon.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress reduction, exercise, and medication are the standard treatments for fibromyalgia.
Intestinal Gas (Belching, Bloating, Flatulence)
Gas (intestinal gas) means different things to different people. Everyone has gas and eliminates it by belching, burping, or farting (flatulence). Bloating or abdominal distension is a subjective feeling that the stomach is larger or fuller than normal. Belching or burping occurs when gas is expelled from the stomach out through the mouth. Flatulence or farting occurs when intestinal gas is passed from the anus. Causes of belching or burping include drinking too rapidly, anxiety, carbonated drinks, habit, and swallowing air. Learn about causes of intestinal gas, foods that cause gas and bloating, treatments that reduce excessive gas and soothe gas pain, and much more.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Diarrhea is a change is the frequency and looseness of bowel movements. Symptoms associated with diarrhea are cramping, abdominal pain, and the sensation of rectal urgency. Causes of diarrhea include viral, bacterial, or parasite infection, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and drugs. Absorbents and anti-motility medications are used to treat diarrhea.
What Causes Abdominal Pain?
Abdominal pain can have many causes that range from mild to severe. Some of these causes include bloating, gas, colitis, endometriosis, food poisoning, GERD, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ovarian cysts, abdominal adhesions, diverticulitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, liver disease, and cancers. Signs and symptoms of the more serious causes include dehydration, bloody or black tarry stools, severe abdominal pain, pain with no urination or painful urination. Treatment for abdominal pain depends upon the cause.
Lactose intolerance is a common problem where a person's digestive system cannot digest lactose. Signs and symptoms include: Diarrhea Gas Abdominal pain Abdominal bloating Abdominal distention (swelling) Nausea There are several tests to diagnose lactose intolerance. Treatment is generally made with dietary changes, supplements, and adaptation to small amounts of milk.
Indigestion (Dyspepsia, Upset Stomach Pain)
Indigestion (dyspepsia) can be caused by diseases or conditions that involve the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and also by some diseases and conditions that do not involve the GI tract. Indigestion can be a chronic condition in which the symptoms fluctuate in frequency and intensity. Signs and symptoms that accompany indigestion include pain in the chest, upper abdominal pain, belching, nausea, bloating, abdominal distention, feeling full after eating only a small portion of food, and rarely, vomiting.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
The Digestion Process (Parts, Organs, and Functions)
Digestion is the complex process of turning the food you eat into the energy you need to survive. The digestive process also involves creating waste to be eliminated, and is made of a series of muscles that coordinate the movement of food. Learn more about digestion and the body parts that make it possible, including the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, anus, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life-threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers. Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Bowel Incontinence (Fecal Incontinence)
Bowel or fecal incontinence refers to the loss of voluntary control of stool, or bowel movements. The condition can include partial incontinence, in which a person loses only a small amount of liquid waste, to complete incontinence, in which the entire bowel movement cannot be controlled. Diet changes and elimination of certain medications can help patients to regain bowel control. Treatment involves a combination of medication, biofeedback, and exercise.
SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) refers to a condition in which abnormally large numbers of bacteria (at least 100,000 bacteria per ml of fluid) are present in the small intestine, but they are more like the bacteria that are found in the colon. There are many conditions associated with SIBO, including: Diabetes Scleroderma Crohn's disease Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) It has been theorized that SIBO may be responsible for the symptoms of at least some patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms of SIBO include: Excess gas Abdominal bloating Abdominal pain Treatment for SIBO can include: Antibiotics Probiotics Low FODMAP Diet
Stress Management Techniques
Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in disease causation. An important goal for those under stress is the management of stress in our lives. Elimination of stress is unrealistic, since stress is a part of normal life. We can however, learn to manage stress through techniques such as exercise, relaxation, meditation, time management, and support systems so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children is a functional gastrointestinal disorder with signs and symptoms of: Abdominal pain Bloating Diarrhea Constipation The cause of IBS is unknown, however, certain foods, stress, anxiety, and depression may contribute to the symptoms of IBS. There is no cure for IBS in children; however, medications, dietary changes, and stress management may relieve symptoms.
IBS Triggers (Prevention)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disease that can affect the quality of those who suffer from this condition. People with IBS can make lifestyle changes that may modify or control the number and severity of episodes. Certain foods, medications, and hormone levels may trigger IBS episodes, for example fatty foods, dairy products, eating foods in large quantities, foods that contain high levels of sorbitol, foods that produce intestinal gas (broccoli, onions, cabbage, and beans), chocolate, caffeine, physiological stress, some antibiotics, some antidepressants, medicine with sorbitol, and menstrual pain. Exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes can decrease IBS flares, and prevent the number and severity of IBS episodes of diarrhea and constipation.
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS)
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a condition in which affected individuals have severe nausea and vomiting that come in cycles. Researchers believe that cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraine headaches are related. Triggers of cyclic vomiting syndrome are emotional stress and infections. People with cyclic vomiting syndrome are at an increased risk of dehydration. Cyclic vomiting syndrome is difficult to diagnose. Treatment varies from person to person, but is generally directed toward relief of the symptoms of the condition.
12 Foods to Eat to Relieve Constipation
Constipation is a common problem, and almost everyone has been constipated at one time or another. There are foods that can help prevent constipation and also provide relief, for example, kiwi, prunes, beans (your choice of type), berries, certain seeds, potatoes, and popcorn.
15 Foods That Cause Constipation
Constipation or the decrease in frequency and/or difficulty in passing stools (bowel movements) can be caused by a variety problems. Check out these top 15 foods to avoid because they cause constipation. Some foods to avoid include, white rice and breads, caffeine, bananas, alcohol, processed foods, and frozen dinners.
IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea)
IBS-D or irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea refers to IBS with diarrhea. Symptoms of IBS-D include intestinal gas (flatulence), loose stools, frequent stools, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. New non-FDA approved IBS tests may help diagnose IBS and IBS-D. Treatment of IBS-D is geared to toward managing symptoms with diet, medication, and lifestyle changes.
FODMAPs (Low FODMAP Diet for IBS)
FODMAPs are foods that contain sugar alcohols and short chain carbohydrates. The gut can't digest them very well. There are "low" FODMAP foods and "high" FODMAP foods. Foods high in FODMAPs lay in the gut and ferment, which causes symptoms of: Excessive gas Bloating Abdominal pain Diarrhea Some people with digestive diseases and disorders, for example, IBS, microscopic colitis, IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), and other functional bowel disorders often are placed on a low FODMAP diet to decrease the amount of high FODMAPs foods in the diet, which create uncomfortable symptoms.
Why Am I So Bloated and Gassy?
Bloating is a feeling that your abdomen is distended or larger than normal, but it does not necessarily mean that it is. Gas (flatulence) also can be a problem if you are bloated. Common, less serious causes of bloating are eating too fast, too much, or too many fatty foods; swallowing air; pregnancy; and menstruation. Cancer and IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) are examples the more serious causes of bloating. Examples of foods and drinks that cause bloating are high fiber foods if you don't eat them regularly; eventually the bloating and gassiness will resolve if you eat them on a regular basis; fatty greasy foods, dairy products (for example, cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt); foods high in salt (for example, processed, frozen, and canned foods), and artificial sweeteners. Some doctors and other health care professionals recommend natural remedies like chamomile or peppermint tea, or pumpkin to relieve bloating. Examples of OTC medicine (medicine available without a prescription) and other products that may relieve bloating and gassiness are, Gas-X, Beano, Pepto Bismol, Metamucil, probiotics, and Ex-Lax for constipation associated with bloating. If you have persistent or severe gas and bloating, and if you have any of these symptoms see a doctor or other healthcare professional, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, or if you think you are or may be pregnant.
Cramps but No Period
Having cramps but no period can occur because of conditions other than your monthly menstrual cycle. They may feel like period cramps of the lower abdomen when you are not due for your period and produce no blood. These 12 diseases and conditions are examples of what can cause abdominal cramping when not on period.
What Are the First Signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common intestinal disorder that is characterized by abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. IBS is a chronic condition that may cause either diarrhea or constipation, depending on the person.
Local ResourcesFind a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- CT Scan (Computerized Tomography)
- Colonoscopy Procedure
- Endoscopy (EGD) Procedure
- Barium Enema
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan)
- Upper GI Series (Barium Swallow)
- Hydrogen Breath Test
- Antro-duodenal Motility Study
- Gastric Emptying Study
- Fecal Occult Blood Test
- What Is Laparoscopic Left Colectomy/Hemicolectomy?
- What Is an Ileoanal Anastomosis (J-Pouch) Surgery?
- Abdominal Pain
- Intestinal Gas
- Indigestion (Dyspepsia, Upset Stomach)
- Weight Loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Chronic Pain
- Stomach Cramps
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Distended Stomach (Abdominal Distention)
- Tummy Trouble FAQs
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS FAQs
- Rifaximin (Xifaxan) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Treatment
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Abdominal Pain - Common in Teens
- IBS, GERD, Hepatitis C: Doctors Dialogue
- Diarrhea: On The Go Diarrhea
- IBS: Doing The Right Thing
- IBS Drug Treatment - The Lesson of Alosteron
- Digestive Disease Myths
- Travel Medicine Kit
- Doctors Answer Digestion Questions
- Ask the Experts - Gastroentrology (Digestion)
Medications & Supplements
- dicyclomine - oral, Bentyl
- alosetron - oral, Lotronex
- clidinium/chlordiazepoxide - oral, Librax
- buspirone (Buspar)
- colestipol (Colestid)
- hyoscyamine, atropine, scopolamine and phenobarbital (Donnatal)
- amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
- sumatriptan, Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose System, Sumavel DosePro
- chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride and clidinium bromide (Librax)
- metoclopramide, Reglan, Metozolv ODT, (Reglan ODT, Octamide, and Maxolon
- doxepin (Sinequan and Adapin are discontinued brand in the US; Silenor)
- nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- dicyclomine, Bentyl
- desipramine (Norpramin)
- imipramine (Tofranil)
- loperamide (Imodium)
- diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil)
- attapulgite (Kaopectate)
- alosetron (Lotronex)
- tegaserod, Zelnorm
- colesevelam (Welchol)
- tricyclic antidepressants-oral, injection
- bisacodyl (Dulcolax)
- magnesium hydroxide - oral
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Electrolytes
- polyethylene glycol 3350 (Miralax, Glycolax)
- hyoscine butylbromide-oral, Buscopan
- hyoscyamine sublingual (Levbid, Levsin)
- senna-rectal, Senokot
- bulk-forming laxatives - oral
- bisacodyl suppository and enema (Dulcolax, Biscolax)
- hyoscyamine - oral, Anaspaz, Cystospaz, Donnamar,
- trimebutine-oral tablet
- lactulose laxative (Enulose, Generlac)
- senna (sennosides; Senokot, Senokot EXTRA and others)
- hyoscine (scopolamine)-injectable
- atropine (Atreza)
- bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate)
- docusate (Correctol, Colace, Dulcolax, Phillips Liquid-Gels, and many others)
- hyoscyamine - disintegrating oral tablet, Nulev
- lubiprostone (Amitiza)
- Antidepressants (Depression Medications)
- rifaximin (Xifaxan)
- linaclotide (Linzess)
- Ondansetron (Zofran) vs. alosetron (Lotronex)
- Bentyl (dicyclomine) vs. Librax (chlordiazepoxide HCL and clidinium bromide)
- Bentyl (dicyclomine) vs. Linzess (linaclotide)
- Side Effects of Lotronex (alosetron)
- Side Effects of Zelnorm (tegaserod)
- Side Effects of Miralax (polyethylene glycol)
- Side Effects of Donnatal (belladonna/phenobarbital)
- Side Effects of Levbid (hyoscyamine)
- Side Effects of Linzess (linaclotide)
Prevention & Wellness
- Asthma, Food Sensitivity, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- 'Dead' Probiotic Bacteria Could Help Ease Irritable Bowel
- Many Common Meds Could Alter Your Microbiome
- Fecal Transplants Benefit IBS Patients: Study
- Marketing OK'd for Device to Help Reduce IBS Symptoms in Adolescents
- Health Tip: Signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Could You Have a Sensitive Gut?
- Crohn's, Colitis May Be Tied to Prostate Cancer
- Severe Diarrhea Can Send IBS Patients Over the Edge
- Are You a Prospective Poop Donor?
- Your Tummy Rumblings Might Help Diagnose Bowel Disorder
- New Bowel Disorder Treatments Needed, FDA Says
- Could Fermented Foods Boost Your Health?
- U.S. Report Cites the Good and Bad on Marijuana
- Scientists Identify New Organ in Body
- What's Behind the Gluten-Free Trend?
- Gut Bacteria May Hold Clues to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Do Genes Link Headaches, Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- New IBS Drug Eases Stomach Pain and Diarrhea for Some: Study
- Psych Therapies May Have Long-Term Benefits for Irritable Bowel Patients
- IBS Linked to Low Vitamin D
- The Rise of the Do-It-Yourself Fecal Transplant
- Food Allergies Tied to Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Review Finds Fecal Transplants Work Well But Need Tight Regulation
- Cutting Certain Carbs Might Not Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- New Meds OK'd for Hard-to-Treat IBS With Diarrhea
- Health Tip: What's Triggering Your Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- Beware Claims That Activated Charcoal Can Cure Gut Troubles
- Experts Issue Guidelines for Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- IBS, Chronic Constipation: New Guidelines Issued
- Health Tip: Help Manage IBS With Diet
- Health Tip: Keep Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Check
- New Drug Might Help Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- New IBS Drug Linzess Approved
- California Woman Finds Ways to Control IBS
- Health Tip: Help Manage IBS Symptoms
- Very Restricted Diet May Reduce Symptoms of IBS
- 2 Weeks of Antibiotic Therapy Relieves IBS
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Brain
- Your Job's Start Time Affects Fatigue Level
- Fibromyalgia Gets Worse During Menstruation
- Lactose Intolerance: Too Little Is Known
- The Truth About Probiotics and Your Gut
- IBS: Dealing With Irritable Bowel Syndrome at Work
- 9 Steps to End Chronic Worrying
- Zelnorm, IBS Drug Taken Off the Market
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month
- IBS: New Drug Treatment for IBS in Women
- IBS and Women
- Fiber- What Is It?
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