Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Thursday, March 12, 2009

As many as one in five American adults has irritable bowel syndrome yet only a small percentage of people with the disorder have severe signs and symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder but itís also one that many people arenít comfortable talking about because the signs and symptoms may be embarrassing.

IBS is characterized by abdominal pain associated with a change in bowel pattern. Thirty percent of people have only diarrhea, 20 percent only constipation and 50 percent of sufferers have profuse diarrhea cycling with constipation.

Some people have such severe cases that it interferes significantly with their life.

The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but there seems to be a problem with the signals between the brain and the intestines.

The typical pattern of IBS is crampy abdominal pain 20 minutes after a meal, followed by the sudden onset of diarrhea that relieves the pain. Symptoms that are not part of IBS include fever, blood in the stool, vomiting or weight loss. These symptoms may signify a more serious problem. If you are having IBS symptoms that interfere with your life, see your physician.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.