Syndrome, irritable bowel (IBS): A common gastrointestinal disorder (also called spastic colitis, mucus colitis or nervous colon syndrome), IBS is an abnormal condition of gut contractions (motility) and gut sensation (hypersensitivity) characterized by abdominal pain/discomfort , bloating, mucous in stools, and irregular bowel habits with constipation or diarrhea or alternating diarrhea and constipation, symptoms that tend to be chronic and wax and wane over the years. Although IBS can cause chronic recurrent discomfort, it does not lead to any serious abdominal organ problems. Diagnosis usually involves excluding other illnesses. Treatment is directed toward relief of symptoms and includes moderate high fiber diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, avoidance of caffeine, milk products and sweeteners, and medications. Also called spastic colitis, mucus colitis, nervous colon syndrome.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/24/2017