Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive disorder that affects the large intestine. People with IBS have ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
IBS is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder of gut-brain interactions. This means IBS occurs because of problems in how your brain and gut interact. These changes may make your gut more sensitive to pain or affect gut motility, resulting in the symptoms.
About 12% of people in the United States have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with symptoms that can affect quality of life.
What are the types of irritable bowel syndrome?
At NVG, we categorize IBS into types based on how your disorder affects your bowel habits. IBS types include:
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C): People with IBS-C experience abdominal pain, gas, and bloating along with stools that are hard and lumpy.
- IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): People with IBS-D have mostly watery stools on the days they have IBS symptoms.
- IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): With IBS-M, you have a combination of hard, lumpy stools and watery stools on the days you have IBS symptoms.
No matter what type of IBS you have, you may experience times where your symptoms are worse and times when they’re better. It’s also possible for symptoms to disappear completely.
How is irritable bowel syndrome diagnosed?
There’s no single test for diagnosing IBS. At NVG, we conduct a comprehensive evaluation to find the underlying cause of your symptoms. During your exam, we review your symptoms, usual diet, daily routine, and medical history, perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out other digestive disorders that might explain your symptoms. Testing might include blood work, stool test, endoscopy, or colonoscopy.
What treatments can help my irritable bowel syndrome?
No single treatment works for all people with IBS. We work closely with you to design a plan that keeps your symptoms under control, improving your quality of life. For some people, IBS symptoms can be controlled by managing their diet, lifestyle, and stress. For patients with more severe symptoms, the team may recommend medication and counseling.