What is IBS?

Here Are Some Quick Facts:

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a complicated illness that effects the intestines (also known as bowels).

This pictures shows what your bowels look like. The red is the large intestine, the pink is the small intestine.

This pictures shows what your bowels look like. The red is the large intestine, the pink is the small intestine.
© Dreamstime.com

IBS is a “syndrome.” The word syndrome means a group of symptoms and signs that indicate a disease or health problem.

Some of the Symptoms of IBS Include:

There are many more.

For more information about IBS symptoms go to the IBS Symptoms page.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a “functional” medical problem.

That means there is is nothing structurally wrong with your bowels. Instead, the problem comes from how the bowels function.

You Are Not Alone

Young or old, men, women or children all can get IBS.

Young or old; men, women or children. Anyone can get IBS.
© Bigstockphoto.com

One person out of 5 has symptoms of IBS.

Women are twice as likely as men to have IBS. Those numbers may not be accurate though. Women might be more willing to talk to their doctors about IBS Symptoms. Men, women and children all get IBS.

Hormones play a part in IBS. Many women report a worsening of symptoms during menstruation.

IBS Often Runs in Families

You may have heard other people in you family talking about
spastic colon or nervous stomach or many other names for IBS. Your family may have tried things that can help YOU! Find out more about “spastic colon” here.

No One Knows for Sure What Causes IBS.

One theory is that the intestines overreact to signals of stress or anxiety coming from the brain; the classic nervous stomach.

Finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety is one effective way to help IBS.

Food sensitivities or food allergies can trigger an IBS attack. Finding and eliminating foods that don’t agree with you can make a dramatic difference.

Note that food sensitivities are not the same as allergies. You may not be “allergic” to a food, but it can still be a major cause of your IBS symptoms.

At the Doctor’s Office.

Doctors use blood tests, stool samples and other methods to rule out many different conditions before diagnosing you with irritable bowel syndrome.

A Man holds his stomach in extreme pain.

© Bigstockphoto.com

Some of the tests your doctor might recommend are unpleasant, but you should have them anyway. You want to make sure you don’t have a different or even a dangerous condition.

When you talk to your doctor, he or she may ask a series of questions from the “Rome III Diagnostic Criteria.” This questionnaire was developed by the Rome Foundation.

The Rome Foundation was formed by doctors and scientists from around the world to investigate functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs).

If your Doctor uses the Rome Diagnostic Criteria That’s a good sign. It means the Doctor has some knowledge about IBS. Some doctors may not have this up to date information.

Not all doctors have the same skills. If you feel that your doctor is unwilling or unable to help you, you may need to find another one.

Finding the right doctor can make a big difference.

Is this how life has to be?

Woman with belly pains, sitting on the toilet.

© Bigstockphoto.com

IBS can seriously affect your quality of life. Some people may even be unable to work. Others may have trouble taking even short trips.

But don’t lose hope. In my opinion, using the information on this site, you can get better!

Find out more about IBS symptoms and what causes IBS.


  1. Reply

    I had normal bowels until a post operation wound got infected. Laboratory pus tests confirmed infection. I had to take Dallacin 1500 mg a day for one week. Tha cured the infectuon allright but caused a severe diarrhea. I had to solve the nrw problem theteafter. Part of the cure was taking three courses of Pro_Biotic with antinflamatory gellules.
    This treatment didn’t quite solve the problem. My bowels became easily irritated and would pass fr severe constipation to diarrhea from one day to another.
    I’m completly lost and wonder what would help my bowels regain some balance.
    I wull be most grateful ifyou could help please.
    I am s 64 YO Male BTW.
    Thank you.

    • Reply

      I think antibiotics save lives. I also think that antibiotics can be very dangerous to health. Your gut flora (bacteria, etc.) is very important to your health. Everyone needs the right balance or they can get very sick. A healthy diet, and the right probiotics can often help repair the balance in your gut. Check out the “Best Probiotics for IBS” page. Just do a search in the search box to the left. I have info on that there. ALSO, continue hounding your doctor about this. He or she seems to have a clue when it comes to gut flora since the doc is willing to recommend probiotics. Lots of doctors WON’T.

      • Reply

        Fecal transplant, check it out. It sounds gross but it completely works.

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